Two goals from Ross Stearn and a strike from Mark Preece secured City a first home win of the 2013-14 season against Concord Rangers this afternoon. The visitors started the game strongly, Collins hitting the post from long range then heading narrowly over when well-placed, but it was City who went ahead on 15 minutes. David Pratt was fouled 25-yards from goal and Stearn unleashed a stunning dipping free-kick that left Butler rooted in the Beach Boys goal. The balance of play shifted to the Romans after this and Pratt was only denied by an excellent recovering save from Butler after he had lost possession to the striker. Concord began the second half like they had the first and this time they were rewarded with a goal, although it took an uncharacteristic error from Jason Mellor, letting Collins’ tame shot through his legs, to level the scores on 57 minutes. Within two minutes City were back in front, Stearn collecting Will Salmon’s pass before cutting inside and firing into the corner of the net. Nine minutes later a Stearn free-kick was headed back across goal by Salmon where, after the ball was deflected onto the post, Preece steered home a shot from eight yards. Concord kept pushing for a way back into the game, King twice failing to test Mellor with unmarked headers, but after five minutes of stoppage time City could celebrate a hard fought victory.
Following an unexpectedly free August Bank Holiday Monday, City resume their 2013-14 Skrill South campaign at Mayday Trust Park on Saturday with a first ever meeting against Concord Rangers. After the promising opening day win at Bishop’s Stortford, City’s opening two home games have seen the side pick up just one further point so they will be keen to avoid losing further ground on the early season pace-setters with a victory over the division newcomers.
Canvey Island-based Concord only formed in 1967, progressing through local league football before reaching the Essex Senior League (the same level as the Western League Premier Division) in 1991. They twice won the division in 1997-98 and 2003-04 but were denied promotion to the Ryman League. However, it was third time lucky in 2007-08 when the edged out Enfield 1893 on goal difference to complete a hat-trick of titles and finally earn a place at the higher level. The Beach Boys missed out on back-to-back promotions when they lost on penalties to Waltham Abbey in the 2008-09 Ryman League Division One North play-off final but a year later they were celebrating promotion, beating Enfield Town 3-1 in the final after finishing runners-up. Rangers first two seasons in the Ryman League Premier saw them finish 8th and 14th. Last year though they were back in the play-offs thanks to finishing fourth in the division. Although they had failed to beat any of the other three sides who reached the post-season competition either home or away, they overcame Wealdstone in the semi-final then Lowestoft Town in the final to continue their meteoric climb up the non-league pyramid.
In common with many sides reaching this level the Beach Boys have largely stuck with the squad that won promotion. One departure was Ben Greenhalgh, who joined Inverness Caledonian Thistle to team up with two former City players, Marley Watkins and Torbjorn Agdestein, plus former Team Bath defender Gary Warren. New arrivals included two returning players, Paul Goodacre, who has Conference South experience with Dartford, and Gary Ogilvie, who was a part of the Beachboys team that won the Essex Senior League in 2008. 21-year old goalkeeper Jamie Butler signed from Metropolitan Police and Canvey-based defender/midfielder Bradley Hamilton joined from League One side Colchester United. Then on the eve of the new season another familiar face returned to Thames Road, Sam Collins re-joining the club from East Thurrock United.
Only a last gasp goal denied them a point against Basingstoke Town in their opening Skrill South game but two days later goals from Hallett and Easterford got them of the mark in a 2-2 draw with fellow Essex side Chelmsford City. And the Beach Boys soon showed they were confidently adapting to the higher level, recording a maiden Conference South victory at Dover Athletic thanks to Spendlove’s well-taken strike, although his game ended on a sad note when he was stretchered off with a dislocated knee. And whilst City were putting their feet up on Bank Holiday Monday, Rangers picked up another point with a goalless draw against Sutton United.
With the hosts wearing their purple away kit and the home and away dugouts swapped round it was a strange afternoon all-round at Mayday Trust Park, and the football on view did little to remove the sense of dislocation as City and Gosport Borough produced a largely uninspiring 1-1 draw. Both goals were scored in first half stoppage time, Dave Pratt firing City ahead before Brown levelled moments later for the visitors, who finished the game with ten men after Pearce was shown a second yellow card in the final minute. Borough started brightly, Wooden firing narrowly wide in the opening ten minutes, but they failed to maintain this pace and for 30 minutes there was little to entertain the crowd. City had an escape five minutes before the interval, Forbes heading against the post, but with the half a minute into stoppage time Mark Preece sent Pratt clear on goal to coolly slot the ball past Ashmore. There was still time for Gosport to level though when Brown was allowed too much time and space in the City box to beat Jason Mellor from eight yards. City did improve slightly after the break, the introduction of Noah Keats and Josh Low giving them a greater attacking threat, but with the Hampshire side looking increasingly content to hold out for a draw and secure their first point of the season, they couldn’t find a way through the massed ranks of yellow shirts. After Pearce was dismissed City did create one final opening, Pratt forcing Ashmore into a smart save, but a draw was the fair result given the preceeding 90 minutes.
City have strengthened their squad with the signing of Will Salmon on a four-week deal. The 26-year old, who can play anywhere across the backline, though is predominately a right-back, featured for City during pre-season after he left AFC Telford United in the summer. He spent three seasons with the Bucks, making nearly 100 appearances, having previously played for Ebbsfleet United and Aldershot Town.
We have been informed by the Football Conference that Monday’s Skrill South match against Farnborough at The Rushmoor Community Stadium will now definitely not go ahead. We apologise for the uncertainty and late notification of the cancellation. The only way to get your Bath City August Bank Holiday footie fix now is by coming to Mayday Trust Park on Saturday when City face Gosport Borough (ko 3pm).
Following the cancellation of Monday’s trip to Farnborough, City’s only August Bank Holiday game this season will be the Mayday Trust Park meeting with Gosport Borough on Saturday. After starting the 2013-14 campaign with a deserved 2-1 win at Bishop’s Stortford, they came up against an Eastleigh side who showed why they are title favourites, even though it took a single deflected shot to separate the sides in the end. Therefore City will hope to open their home account with a victory over this Hampshire side and, in the process, gain some payback for their shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Boro last season.
Gosport are making their debut in the Conference South this season having won promotion from the Southern League via the play-offs back in May, their second successive play-off triumph. However, when they dumped City out of the FA Cup in a 3rd Qualifying Road replay in October last year they looked set for a relegation battle, having won just two of their opening nine league games, rather than harbouring any dreams of promotion. They then suffered a giant-killing cup defeat of their own, losing to Slough Town to miss out on a first ever 1st Round appearance, but rather than have a negative impact on their league form they went on a 23-game unbeaten run to climb into the play-off positions. A slight stutter in form saw them lose four of their next five games and they went into the final match of the season needing other results to go their way to claim the final play-off spot. A one-goal win over St Neots Town meant they did their part and when Barwell could only draw 1-1 with Frome Town, Boro grabbed the all-important fifth place. And they took full advantage of this good fortune, beating runners-up Stourbridge in the semi-final before triumphing on penalties against Hemel Hempstead Town in the final, despite losing a two-goal lead in the final seven minutes of normal time, to secure a Conference South place.
After a promising pre-season, where they suffered just one defeat, Gosport have found the going somewhat tougher in the Conference South, losing their opening two fixtures. They were handed a tough maiden outing with a visit from perennial play-off challengers Dover Athletic. They were far from outclassed against the Kent side though, and it took a single defensive lapse on the hour mark to gift the Whites what turned out to be the decisive goal. A Hampshire derby against Basingstoke Town followed but within 25 minutes Alex Pike’s side found themselves 2-0 down. Again both goals were avoidable, a concern that the long-serving manager had identified during pre-season despite his side’s good results, and although they pulled a goal back within three minutes through Brown they couldn’t find an equaliser in a goalless second half.
Complete record against Gosport Borough
The last three meetings between the clubs have come in the FA Cup and you have to go back to the 1989-90 season for the last time City and Gosport were league rivals. That season saw City record a resounding 5-0 win at Twerton Park, thanks to a Paul Randall brace and strikes from Glyn Riley, Chris Banks and a Gary Smart penalty. However, the previous year Gosport completed the double over City, winning 4-0 at Privett Park before enjoying a fruitful first ever trip to Twerton Park. The game saw a debut for 43-year old ex-Bristol City player Gerry Sweeney but he was powerless to prevent Gosport scoring twice within as many minutes midway through the first half. It was only the introduction of top scorer John Freegard from the bench in the second half that finally livened City up but it wasn’t until five minutes from time that a scrambled Keith Brown goal gave them a lifeline. However, moments later a mistake by Tony Ricketts gifted the visitors a third goal and the night got even worse for City when defender Paul Stevens was sent off for two injury-time bookings.
A deflected shot midway through the second half was enough to send City to defeat in their opening 2013-14 home match against Eastleigh this evening. Whilst the goal that separated the sides was fortunate the visitors showed enough glimpses of why they are the title favourites to deserve the victory, although substitute Ross Stearn almost grabbed a point for City late on. Jason Mellor had to push a Fleetwood shot over the bar in the opening minute, but for all their possession Eastleigh rarely troubled him after this. But with Andy Watkins and David Pratt unable to influence the game as they had at Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday, City were always second best in the first half – a half that ended with Reason’s shot hitting the foot of the post with Mellor beaten. The second half continued in a similar vein, although as the game passed the hour mark it appeared the Spitfires were beginning to run out of ideas and frustration looked to be creeping in. However, on 68 minutes the ball broke to Strevens in the box and his scuffed shot deflected off Sekani Simpson to spin agonisingly just inside the post. Five minutes later Stearn replaced Noah Keats and suddenly City had an attacking outlet they had previously been lacking. Almost immediately he left two defenders trailing in his wake before crashing a shot against the angle of bar and post. Understandably with City pushing men forward, Eastleigh almost caught them out at the back on a couple of occasions before City nearly grabbed an injury-time equaliser. Mellor, who was retreating after coming up for a corner, collected the ball before firing a stunning 50-yard cross field pass to Stearn. He drove the ball into the six yard which keeper Flitney spilled only to grab it at the second attempt before a City player could pounce.
After Saturday’s 2-1 win at Bishop’s Stortford finally ended a seven year wait for an opening day victory, City look to make it two wins from two when Eastleigh visit Mayday Trust Park tomorrow night. City had to go back to the 2006-07 season for their last winning start to a campaign, goals from Scott Partridge and Chris Holland seeing them overcome Corby Town by two goals to nil. Nine months later City were crowned Southern League champions and whilst even the most optimistic of Roman followers will not be predicting a similar outcome, the performance, not least from strike duo and goalscorers Andy Watkins and David Pratt, in Hertfordshire suggested a successful 2013-14 season is a genuine possibility. City have to go back one further year for the last time they began a season with back-to-back wins, and know that the Spitfires will pose a tough obstacle if they are to repeat that effort.
The visitors are widely tipped to be crowned 2013-14 Skrill South champions and plying their trade at the top tier of non-league football next season. They came close to achieving that aim last year, reaching the play-offs for the first time since 2008-09. After initially losing the 1st leg of the semi-final against Dover Athletic at home 3-1, Eastleigh overturned this with a 2-0 away win in the 2nd leg to take the match to penalties. However, Richard Hill’s side couldn’t complete the turnaround, losing 4-2 in the shoot-out. In truth, it had been a remarkable effort to have reached that stage, having begun 2013 just one place off the bottom of the Conference South, having lost five successive matches. A record of fifteen wins in their next 22 league outings, though, saw the Hampshire side fly up the league to finish in 4th place only for their dreams to be ended in penalty heartbreak.
Hill will be keen to avoid the lottery of the play-offs again this season and, not unexpectedly, has been busy in the transfer market over the summer (although the two unnamed City players who Hill revealed contacted him back in April to say they would be available in the summer were not amongst the new arrivals). Will Evans (Hereford), Ben Strevens (Dagenham) and former Stevenage and Forest Green striker Yemi Odubade all headed to the South Coast but their marquee signing was undoubtedly striker Stuart Fleetwood. The 27-year old made his name at Forest Green Rovers, scoring 28 goals in the 2007-08 season which earned him a move to Charlton Athletic. He spent the majority of his two years with the Addicks out on loan before joining Hereford United in July 2010, where he was top scorer during the 2010-11 season. A two-year spell with Luton Town followed before he choose to drop into the Conference South with Eastleigh. However, it was fellow new arrival Odubade who was the Spitfire’s opening day hero as he netted the only goal of the game against another fancied side, Sutton United.
Complete record against Eastleigh/Swaythling
City have not enjoyed a great deal of success against Eastleigh, with just a single victory in the eight meetings between the sides (although they also enjoyed a further win over the club in their previous incarnation as Swaythling back in the 1970s). However, if you are looking for an omen this lone triumph came in City’s second match, and opening home outing, of the 2007-08 season. The highlight of this game was unquestionably Jim Rollo’s stunning 25-yard strike that gave City the lead on 28 minutes. In itself it was a goal to remember but with the club legend having yet to find the target again since it has taken on an almost mythical quality. Darren Edwards added a second goal from a Mark McKeever cross seven minutes into the second before Chris Holland, Dave Gilroy, Scott Rogers and substitute Phil Walsh all went close to adding to the scoring.
Goals from Andy Watkins and Dave Pratt got City’s 2013-14 season off to a winning start at Bishop’s Stortford this afternoon. Watkins struck two minutes before the interval then Pratt headed a second shortly after the break before the home side grabbed a consolation goal five minutes from time. Stortford had started the game brightly, with striker Vassell causing City a number of problems. However, as the half progressed City began to impose themselves on the game, pressurising the host’s backline into a number of mis-placed passes. Brown had a free-kick well saved by Cowler then Pratt was inches away from reaching his low cross. Just when it was looking like the half would end goalless Adam Connolly’s pass found Watkins in the box and he crashed an unstoppable shot into the net via the underside of the crossbar. And on 53 minutes an unneccessary foul near the corner flag allowed Brown to whip in a near post cross that Pratt headed past Cowler. Pratt, Noah Keats and Dan Ball all missed good chances over the next 15 minutes and with five minutes left a high cross held up in the wind to leave keeper Jason Mellor in no-mans land allowing Asante to loop a header goalwards which was ajudged to have crossed the line despite Ball’s clearance. City’s sole nervous moment after this came when Vassell went down just inside the box only to be booked for diving and moments later they could celebrate their first opening day win since the 2006-07 season.
For a fifth successive time City begin a new season on the road this Saturday when they travel to Hertfordshire to face Bishop’s Stortford for their opening 2013-14 Skrill South fixture. Their pre-season campaign may have only yielded a single victory but there were a number of impressive performances, with the five summer signings, Ross Stearn, David Pratt, Andy Watkins, Ben Addlesbury and Andy Gallinagh, showing enough quality to suggest that Lee Howell’s squad is considerably stronger than the one that finished the last campaign in 11th place.
The game marks the return of Bishop’s Stortford to the Conference South after two seasons spent in the northern half of the sixth tier of English football. Having been founder members of the Conference South in 2004 they enjoyed seven unremarkable seasons – just once making the play-offs – before gaining some unwanted notoriety when the demise of Rushden & Diamonds in June 2011 saw them dragged – if not exactly kicking and screaming, certainly unwillingly – into the Conference North. Understandably, faced with a 660-mile round trip to Workington in Cumbria and a 540-mile journey to Blyth in Northumberland, they logged an appeal with the FA, but this was turned down and from the start of the 2011-12 season Bishop’s Stortford became, in footballing terms at least, a northern enclave. When they won just four of their opening 19 games that season it appeared the northern air definitely did not suit them but a change of manager in December 2011 – ex-Braintree Town boss Rod Stringer replacing Ian Walker – lead to an improvement in fortunes and a 10th place finish. Last season saw the club struggle in the lower reaches of the division, although they always had a fairly comfortable gap between themselves and the bottom three, finishing 17th but when the switch back south was confirmed it would have seemed as much like a successful year as any promotion winning campaign.
Like City, Stortford have had a mixed pre-season results-wise. They began with four successive defeats, netting just one goal in the games against Southend United, Colchester United, Cambridge United and a Stevenage XI side, but a 4-0 win over Skrill Premier side Braintree Town began an improved run of results. Ware were beaten 6-1 in a Herts Charity cup tie before a 2-1 win over Leiston. The lost 2-1 to Ryman League side Enfield in the penultimate pre-season outing but finished in perfect style with a 5-0 win over Southern League Corby Town. There have been a number of close season arrivals at the club and the most impressive so far have been midfielder Anthony Church and striker Kyle Vassell, the latter scoring four times in friendlies including a hat-trick in the Ware match.
Complete record against Bishop’s Stortford
City will hope for a repeat of their last trip to Woodside Park (now called the ProKit UK Stadium) in September 2009 when they ran out 5-1 winners. Despite having just eleven fit senior players plus two teenagers and an unfit Richard Evans on the bench, City produced a stunning performance. It took them just nine minutes to unlock the home side as Adam Connolly fired home after Mike Perrott’s initial effort was blocked. And on 24 minutes Darren Edwards was set up by Sido Jombati to make it 2-0 from close range. The Blues got back into the game through Sheringham seven minutes before the interval but any fears that the would repeat the comeback from two goals down they achieved the last time the sides met back in April were dispelled just before the hour mark when Edwards netted his second from a Gethin Jones knock-down. And six minutes later Lewis Hogg curled in a 20-yard free kick to all but put the game beyond the home side. Sheringham wasted the chance to give them a slender hope from the penalty spot on 75 minutes after Matt Coupe tripped Brayley and Kaid Mohamed completed the rout eight minutes from time racing clear before slotting the ball home.
City have unveiled their home and away kits for the 2013-14 season. The home kit is still the traditional black and white but with a more retro feel, featuring narrower stripes with red trim on the sleeves. The away kit does mark a departure away from the club’s more traditional alternate colours, with a purple shirt and white shorts. Both kits are produced by Joma and feature main club sponsor Moore Stephens on the front. For the first month, either a home or an away shirt can be yours for the price of £35 adults, £27 childrens sizes. They are available from today from Boca Sports and in our newly fitted out shop next to the ticket office from next Tuesday. To see the kits click here.
As part of the continued development of Bath City, the club is pleased to announce that throughout the coming season it will now have its own on-line radio presence offering live commentary on City matches. The on-line channel which will be known as Bath City Internet Radio or BCIR will be available on the internet and via 3G phones and tablets. The broadcasts will be managed by Bath Chronicle reporter Andrew Kerslake and will be free to all with costs being covered by advertising.
Bath City Chairman Manda Rigby commented “In the Conference Premier our fans, when they could not get to games, liked to listen to match commentary. Now we plan to broadcast not only our matches but news of coming events at Mayday Trust Park, exclusive club content, as well as information about future fixtures”. Station manager Andrew Kerslake said “It’s surprising just how many people are attracted to listen by making broadcasts freely available on the internet. Last season we experimented with a website that attracted 20,000 hits over the calendar year with later in the season a simple text reporting system averaging around 250 unique viewers per match. In addition to local fans those logging in to matches included people from the USA and South America as well as Australia and a host of European countries. We anticipate BCIR over the coming season will easily have in excess of 10,000 listeners”. Bob Chester added “In my role, I ensure that those companies who work with Bath City can have a package tailored to suit them. This innovation gives another offer to enhance our existing sponsorship/advertising options, one in which we are already seeing much interest”.
Companies wishing to advertise can do so at a low introductory rate by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or Bob Chester at a match or on the general line, 01225 313247. For individuals or organisations who wish to simply support the station, then they can have a name check at every match broadcast for just £50 a season. BCIR will be available on match days from the link on the main page of this website and the BCIR page http://www.kerslakesport.co.uk/.
City’s pre-season campaign ended in Devon this afternoon against Bideford with the home side winning by two goals to nil. As in the defeat at Mangotsfield United in their previous outing two first goals were enough to undo City, Downing and Farkins on target for the Robins. The second half saw an improved performance from City but this was not reflected in the scoreline. With the close season games now completed, the real action begins next Saturday when City travel to Bishops Stortford to begin their 2013-14 Skrill South campaign.
City head coach Lee Howells will get his final chance to run the rule over his squad ahead of the start of the 2013-14 Skrill South season when they travel to Devon on Saturday to face Bideford for their final friendly match. Despite the 2-0 defeat to Mangotsfield United earlier this week it has been a positive pre-season, with a number of promising performances, individually and as a team, which bodes well for new campaign that begins at Bishops Stortford in eight days time.
Bideford are about to embark on a second year in the Calor Gas Southern League Premier Division and will hope for an improved showing after only avoiding a quick return to Division 1 on goal difference last season. The Robins won promotion to the Southern League after lifting the 2009-10 Western League Premier Division title – their fifth championship victory in nine seasons – and two years later they were celebrating again, this time winning the Division 1 South & West crown. It took them a while to adjust to this new level – losing their opening four games – but a run of five wins and a draw from seven games as 2012 came to a close appeared to have lifted them to mid-table security. However, they failed to win any of their final twelve games of the season which saw them slip back toward the foot of the table. Fortunately for the club, the expansion of Premier Division to 24 teams for the 2013-14 season meant just two relegation spots, and with a much better goal difference than Bedworth United they were effectively safe with two games remaining.
If pre-season results are any indication there should be no such drama for the Robins this campaign, with seven successive victories, a run that only came to an end in their last outing against City’s Skrill South rivals Weston Super Mare. They began with a 3-0 victory at Willand Rovers, before enjoying big wins over Exmouth Town (6-0), Elmore (6-0) and Bodmin Town (7-0). A Plymouth Argyle XI side was beaten 2-0 and whilst Barnstaple Town became the first side to score against Bideford they were also beat by four goals to one. Ilfracombe Town (2-0) couldn’t halt the Robins momentum but Weston denied them an eighth consecutive victory, netting the only goal of a closely fought game on the hour mark.
Complete record against Bideford
The clubs have met nine times in competitive matches, including four matches when they were league rivals during Bideford’s brief previous Southern League spell during the 1970s. The 1972-73 season saw both games drawn as the Robins finished in a very impressive fourth place, three spots ahead of City, whose hopes of an immediate return to the Premier Division following relegation the previous year never looked likely. The next season City managed to regain their Premier Division place, finishing runners-up to Wealdstone, although they did lose by a single goal to Bideford on New Year’s Day before restoring their pride with a 6-1 thumping in April as they closed in on promotion. The most recent meeting between the clubs took place during the 2001-02 season in an FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round tie. City got the game started in the worst possible way when Mark Hervin conceded a 9th minute penalty and was sent off by 18-year old rookie referee Simon Knapp. With no substitute keeper, striker Adrian Foster donned the gloves but could not stop the penalty giving the visitors the lead. To their credit City came back strongly and dominated the rest of the half, drawing level two minutes before the break from Gary Powell’s 20-yard free-kick. The second half continued in the same manner but the game took another turn on 73 minutes when Mike Wyatt received a second caution to reduce City to nine men. Even after this Sam Allison managed to miss a great chance when he took too long to line up a shot into the unguarded net after rounding the keeper and the Robins finally took advantage of their numerical superiority with two goals in the closing ten minutes from Southgate and Harvey.
City are sad to hear of the passing of former player Wilf Carter aged 79. The inside-forward began his career with West Bromwich Albion before joining Plymouth Argyle in 1957. During his six seasons at Home Park he netted 146 goals, becoming the Pilgrims record post-war goalscorer and an all-time legend with the club. After a spell with Exeter City he joined City in May 1966. Although the club were relegated from the Southern League Premier Division during his first season with the club, he was a key member of Arnold Rogers’ side who won promotion back to that level two years later. In total he spent four seasons at Twerton Park, making 210 appearances and scoring 46 goals.
City’s penultimate pre-season game ended in a 2-0 defeat this evening against Calor Gas League Southern Division 1 South and West side Mangotsfield United. Fielding a side containing a mixture of first team and Academy players, City fell behind on 33 minutes from an unmarked Lamb header from a Parrinello corner. Eight minutes later a neat run and finish by Hunt made it 2-0 to the home side. A series of substitutions either side of the hour mark left City with a more familiar XI and they enjoyed the better of the game after this, but could not find a way past a well organised Field defence.
Following five successive home friendlies, City head out on the road for their final two pre-season matches. The first of these is the short journey to Cossham Street to face Calor Gas League Southern Division 1 South and West side Mangotsfield United. They will then complete their preparations for the 2013-14 season with a trip to Devon, Bideford providing the opponents, a week before they open their Skrill South campaign at Bishop’s Stortford.
The Mangoes endured a difficult 2012-13 season, struggling in the lower reaches for much of the year before winning six of their final seven league matches – the highlight twice coming from behind to beat local rivals Clevedon Town in a seven-goal thriller – to finish in 11th place. They then rounded off their season on a high with a 4-0 win over Cinderford Town to lift The GFA Senior Challenge Trophy for the first time in ten years.
In contrast to City’s pre-season, Mangotsfield have so far played all their friendlies away from home. They began with a narrow 2-1 defeat to Western League Division 1 side Cribbs FC, before surrendering a half-time lead to lose by the same scoreline to Cadbury Heath. However, two goals in each half earned them a comfortable win against Welton Rovers to register a first win of pre-season. This was followed up by a single goal victory over Bitton in the annually contested Alan Spiller Memorial Trophy. Their most recent outing took them to Devon to face Buckland Athletic – the venue of City’s nervous FA Cup win last season – and when they scored twice in the opening 15 minutes (despite arriving late due to traffic hold ups and being forced into playing striker Dave Stone in goal) a third successive win looked on the cards. The home side had other ideas though, pulling a goal back before half-time then netting three times in the second half to run out 4-2 winners.
Complete record against Mangotsfield United
City and Mangotsfield last met in a friendly three years ago, the game finishing 2-2. Despite fielding a strong side City twice fell behind, firstly in the opening minute when an unmarked Knighton converted from close range. This advantage lasted only a minute though as Yan Klukowski netted his second pre-season goal. Lee Phillips twice went close to putting City ahead but on 24 minutes the home side regained their advantage, poor marking allowing Page to head home a corner. On 56 minutes City once again drew level thanks to Danny Webb’s back post header from a Lewis Hogg corner and despite dominating the rest of the game they couldn’t find a winning goal, Mitchell Bryant coming the closest in the final minute only to be denied by a smart save from Greaves.
Three goals in nine minutes midway through the first half saw City secure their first pre-season success with a 3-1 win over Carmarthen Town at Mayday Trust Park this afternoon. The Welsh Premier League side proved to be a physical and uncompromising opponent and could have opened the scoring after just two minutes, Ollie Barton producing an excellent point-blank save. Once City had withstood this early pressure they began to take control of the game and on 19 minutes Sekani Simpson’s cross picked out an unmarked Dave Pratt to head them in front. Within five minutes, as heavy rain swept across the ground, Cann in the visitor’s goal couldn’t hold a Ross Stearn free-kick allowing Pratt a simple tap-in to make it 2-0. And the game was effectively over as a contest three minutes later when Andy Watkins’ header was parried by Cann only for the ball to drop into the corner of the net. The second half saw both sides create openings, Barton denying the Welsh side on several further occasions before he was beaten by Bassett’s well-struck shot from the edge of the box with four minutes remaining.
City play their final home pre-season match of 2013 tomorrow when Welsh Premier League side Carmarthen Town visit Mayday Trust Park. On the back of encouraging draws with Bristol Rovers, Plymouth Argyle and Bristol City U21s, City suffered their first summer defeat against an impressive Swansea City U21 side earlier this week, despite another performance that bodes well for the forthcoming 2013-14 Skrill South season.
Carmarthen finished sixth in the Welsh Premier League last season, although with the competition split into two separate conferences at its midway stage, overall they had the ninth best record. Their best ever finish came in 2000-01, coming third, which saw them qualify for European competition for the first ever time. They lost 3-0 on aggregate to Swedish side AIK Solna but enjoyed three further European adventures between 2005 and 2008, including their one victory so far, a 5-3 aggregate win over Longford Town, despite losing the first leg 2-0. During this successful spell for the Old Gold they lifted the Welsh Cup for the first time in their history, beating Afan Lido 2-3 in the 2007 final.
Manager Mark Aizlewood – who made 39 appearances for Wales between 1986 and 1994 – has seen his side enjoy a number of big wins this pre-season. They opened with a 4-2 victory over Pontardawe Town before matching that total against Taffs Well, this time whilst keeping a clean sheet. Pembrokeshire League side Merlins Bridge were then swept aside by eight goals to one and they were then on target a further six times against Cambrian and Clydach, the Welsh League team netting three times in reply. The run of victories was ended in their most recent outing, losing 4-2 to Merthyr Town. One familiar face in the Carmarthen squad will be Luke Cummings, after he spent the first half of last season with City, making 14 appearances.
City have met the Welsh side once before in a pre-season match, at Twerton Park in August 2003. The visitors took the lead after just two minutes, Moss heading past Mark Bryant but from then on it was almost all City. Several chances came and went before five minutes after the break Paul Milsom got on to the end of a great Frankie Bennett cross to fire City level. Carmarthen regained the lead on 64 minutes through a deflected Davies shot. Only a fingertip save by ex-Yeovil keeper Tony Pennock from a Mark Salter header denied City a deserved equaliser in the closing moments.
In the morning Bath City Supporters will be taking on a Carmarthen Town A side, which will include former Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham Town and Newport striker Julian Alsop. The match will take place at Avon Rugby Club (ko 11.00am). PLEASE NOTE: The supporters match is now cancelled.