Bath City (0) 1 Bristol City U23s (2) 2 – Tuesday 11 July 2023 – Pre-Season Friendly – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Dan Hayfield’s sumptuous free-kick wasn’t enough as Bath City suffered their first defeat of pre-season.
Ephraim Yeboah and Marlee Francois got Bristol City U23s off to a dream start, catapulting them into a 2-0 lead inside seven minutes.
Hayfield’s brilliance halved the deficit and Cody Cooke was denied by Josey Casa-Grande in the final few minutes.
In the end the visitors, with seven former Bath City loanees in their squad, held out.
Bristol City caught the Romans cold early on, netting an opener on 80 seconds.
Ben Acey won the ball in midfield and located Yeboah on the left. The winger cut inside and beautifully curled past Ollie Wright from 20 yards, the first goal conceded by Bath this pre-season.
It was swiftly 2-0 to the visitors. After a City trialist had been robbed by Dylan Kadji following a corner to the hosts, Marlee Francois was allowed to burst clear largely unopposed to confidently side-foot past the exposed Wright.
Hayfield tested Casa-Grande on nine minutes with a dipping free-kick which the away stopper turned away well.
But it was the visitors who threatened more to add to their tally. Marley Rose bent an effort inches wide from the edge of the box, Yeboah skied Francois’ low cross over when off balance before Seb Palmer-Houlden’s persistence nearly earned a third.
The forward charged down Wright’s clearance and from a tight angle struck against the outside of the post. His following lay-off found Rose but his mishit strike was deflected wide by Jordan Dyer.
On 41 minutes Wright did well to finger-tip Kadji’s downward header wide after Jamie Leeson’s perfectly weighted cross picked out the imposing midfielder.
Bristol City made six changes at the break, including the withdrawal of the influential Kadji, which shifted the momentum more in Bath’s favour.
Just past the hour, a combination of Cody Cooke and Ben Morgan tried in vain to force the ball home from Dan Greenslade’s free-kick but Casa-Grande did enough to bravely smother the loose ball.
Joe Raynes blasted over when off balance after Scott Wilson’s intelligent flick left the substitute in a promising position.
Wright was largely untroubled in the second half but stood firm to Olly Thomas’ strike on the counter. Thomas and Owura Edwards, both having served brief times on loan at Twerton, combined down the left to create the opening.
Edwards unwittingly aided a way back for Jerry Gill’s side with 10 minutes remaining. The winger clumsily caught Raynes some 30 yards from goal and Hayfield dispatched the resulting free-kick with aplomb, firing into the top right corner via the underside of the bar.
The comeback was nearly complete on 86 minutes when Raynes’ excellent right wing cross saw Cooke’s header superbly tipped over by Casa-Grande.
It meant City started their home pre-season campaign with defeat but manager Gill was content with the evening’s work
City’s Line-Up: Wright, Dyer (Parselle 54), Batten (c), Hayfield, Cooke, Frear (Greenslade 62), Lines (Smith 62), Wilson, Russe, Trialist A (Raynes 54), Morgan. Subs not used: Trialist B, Trialist C, Trialist D, Trialist E.
Scorers: City – Hayfield (80); Bristol City – Yeboah(2), Francois (7)
City Bookings: none
Officials: C Peters, R Blackman, W Payne