Bath City (1) 1 Colchester United (1) 3 – Wednesday 6 July 2022 – Pre-Season Friendly – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman
Luke Spokes’ superb solo effort wasn’t enough as Bath City opened pre-season with defeat against League Two Colchester United.
The midfielder slalomed his way through the U’s backline before a thunderous finish to open the scoring, but the Essex outfit levelled right on half-time.
Jake Hutchinson gave the visitors a 52nd minute lead and they nicked a third with the final kick of the game as a trialist centre-back diverted Luke Hannant’s low cross into his own net.
Another City trialist, SGS student Scott Taylor, was forced off in the second half with a nasty looking ankle injury after Marley Marshall Miranda caught him late on the halfway line.
Jerry Gill had the luxury of 23 players at his disposal with two pre-planned XIs, with Colchester making similar use of a large squad enjoying a stopover in the South West, having overcome Swansea City on Monday night in two 60-minute contests.
Although it was City’s first friendly they looked fresh from the off, illustrated by Spokes’ splendid opener.
Having received the ball from a throw-in, the new signing weaved his way through a couple of challenges and kept his balance before thumping the ball into the top corner past Shamal George’s despairing dive.
Colchester, with former City loanee Noah Chilvers starting in midfield, struggled to create any clear openings, with Chay Cooper shooting too close to new Romans glovesman Joe Wright after linking up with Junior Tchamadeu.
The U’s levelled with the final kick of the half when City were punished for failing to fully clear, allowing a visiting trialist to neatly half-volley home from the edge of the box.
Wayne Brown’s men started the second half promisingly and took the lead on 52 minutes when Hutchinson poked home from almost on the goalline after Cameron Coxe’s enterprising run down the right picked out the forward.
City lost Taylor to a crude challenge from Marshall Miranda, with the trialist taken to A&E after the match for an x-ray on his ankle.
Centre-back Luke Chambers came close to extending Colchester’s lead, with City’s replacement stopper tipping the former’s header over from Hannant’s corner.
Gill’s men enjoyed a few openings too against a side two divisions higher. Jaiyeoba’s pace proved a handful for the away defence and one eye-catching driving run concluded with the Nigerian wastefully pulling his shot wide with just Sam Hornby to beat.
Alex Fletcher managed to break the offside trap and rounded Hornby, but the bounce was unkind for the striker which allowed Chambers to clear before Fletcher could get a telling shot away.
United rounded off the win by scoring with the final attack of the game. Hannant burst clear down the right and his teasing ball was only helped in by a trialist defender, with Hutchinson certain to tap-in without his intervention.
It proved a good work-out for Gill’s new-look side who will hope for a similar examination this weekend against League One Cheltenham Town.
1st Half City Line-Up: Wright, Greenslade, Spokes, Cooke, Frear, Trialist A, Lines (c), Trialist B, Trialist C, Dyer, Trialist D.
2nd Half City Line-Up: Wright (Trialist H 61), Raynes, Trialist E, Parselle (c), Fletcher, Smith, Trialist F, Trialist G (Williamson 61), Mannings, Hayfield, Jaiyeoba.
Scorers: City – Spokes (11); Colchester – Trialist (45), Hutchinson (52), OG (90+2)
City Bookings: none
Referee: Daniel Lamport