Bath City (0) 1 Reading U23s (0) 0 – Pre-Season Friendly – Saturday 7 July 2018 – Twerton Park
Bath City’s pre-season campaign made a winning start as trialist Michee Efete handed them victory over Reading under-23s. In each half, played under baking sun at Twerton Park, the Romans grew more and more dominant. Former Norwich City prospect Efete, who spent the first period at right-back and the second at left-back, turned in the winner from a corner with a unique use of his knee. He was one of four unknown names on the teamsheet, with Frome Town midfielder Joe Raynes also completing the full 90 minutes. Among the others to impress in a solid all-round display was Ross Stearn. Much of City’s strong attacking play in the first half came from his spot out on the left flank, with Southwood keeping out the hosts on a number of occasions.
Reading made a lively start to proceedings, albeit without testing Romans stopper Ryan Clarke until the quarter hour, when Gab Osho’s sharp strike was parried, the follow-up fired off target by Ade Shokunbi. City, meanwhile, grew into the contest and, come the half-time whistle, were the only side threatening. In the early stages they saw a couple of corners come and go, while Adam Mann was adjudged offside, just, chasing down Ryan Brunt’s hooked ball over the top. Last season’s triple player of the year for City, Southwood, was back in Reading colours and threw up a hand to thwart Ross Stearn’s speared near-post effort. Raynes then had a dream chance to impress, taking a Sean Rigg cross on his chest, spinning away from a defender and drawing a sharp low stop out of Southwood. By this point Reading threats were sporadic, though skipper Kevin Amankwaah did have to get a block in on Ethan Coleman’s shot, after Rigg had lost possession in the middle of the park. Stearn, far and away the most dangerous player throughout the first period, almost caused a calamitous own goal with a bending, inswinging delivery from the left that was shinned behind a a scrambling defender. Amankwaah nodded the resulting corner back across goal, where Jack Batten hooked an effort into Southwood’s hands. Tyler frost was unable to volley in a tough chance for Reading, racing on to a cross from deep by right-back Tennai Watson. Mann crew a save out of Southwood, before the first period ended with two more attempts from Stearn. His first, coming on the back of a short corner that eventually fell his way, was volleyed off target, the second a free-kick that bent narrowly around the far upright, after Stearn’s trickery had drawn the original foul.
Three minutes into the second period City had the lead when a right-wing corner found Efete, who looped a shot over the keeper with his knee. A completely changed Reading XI from the first period offered more threat than their predecessors. Jack Nolan offered a sharp volley that forced Kieran Hodges into a good save. Batten also survived handball calls when a cross from the right was deflected onto his outstretched hand, but nothing was given. A stunning long-range drive from Rigg was then clawed behind at full-stretch by the Royals’ second-half stopper Liam Driscoll. Matt Richards’ resulting corner found Robbie Cundy, who powered his header into the ground and over. Reading had Hodges scrambling across goal when Joel Rollinson’s well-struck effort arrowed narrowly wide. As the half wore on the experience in City’s side again began to show through. Penalty appeals were turned down when James Ollis went down with Jamal Balogun in close proximity, while Rigg rolled a 25-yard strike off target. Centre-half Cundy picked a perfect pass that got Olly Mehew in the right-hand channel, his cut-back sliced past the post by Mann’s left boot. Mehew had the next effort himself. The youngster wriggled through a sea of defenders and drew a sprawling stop from Driscoll.
City’s Line-Up: Clark (Hodges HT), Efete, Ball (Cundy HT), Artus (Richards HT), Amankwaah (c) (Ossai HT), Batten, Mann, Rigg, Brunt (Mehew HT), Stearn (Ollis HT), Raynes. Subs not used: none.
Scorers: City – Efete (48); Reading – none
City Bookings: none
Officials: R Hulme, C Walker, J Ainscow