Bath City (1) 2 Cheltenham Town (1) 3 – Tuesday 9 July 2024 – Pre-Season Friendly – Twerton Park

Bath City (1) 2 Cheltenham Town (1) 3 – Tuesday 9 July 2024 – Pre-Season Friendly – Twerton Park

Match Report by Mark Stillman.

Tom King’s fine strike consigned Bath City to defeat in their first pre-season outing.

The Cheltenham substitute benefitted from good work by Jordan Thomas, who signed for the Robins from City in January, to settle a five-goal thriller.

Sol Wanjau-Smith marked his first outing with a goal and his replacement Scott Wilson netted the other for the Romans.

But despite a promising performance from a side containing five trialists, the League Two outfit prevailed.

Matty Taylor made an instant impression on his first appearance of the summer, netting inside sixty seconds from Ryan Haynes’ cross for the Robins, but it was disallowed for offside.

He wasn’t to be denied on 19 minutes. After sustained pressure, the forward’s shot was blocked off the line and as City failed to clear, Elliott Frear caught the stopping Liam Kinsella with a high boot and referee Carl Peters pointed to the spot.

Taylor stepped up and emphatically blasted into the roof of the net to give the visitors the lead.

Haynes arrowed wide and Taylor’s lob landed just over as Town threatened a second, but they were hit by a sucker punch in the final minute of the half.

Wanjau-Smith’s intelligent backheel allowed Joe Raynes a shot on goal. It was blocked by the visiting defence who then stopped rather than deal with the loose ball, allowing Wanjau-Smith to pounce and calmly sidefoot past Owen Evans from eight yards.

Cheltenham made nine changes at the break to give their side a more youthful look, and were forced into another when one of their trialist defenders suffered a clash of heads with Wanjau-Smith, who was also withdrawn soon afterwards for Wilson.

The away side retook the lead on 63 minutes. Liam Dulson escaped Raynes on the left and his low ball was tucked away at the near post by Trialist A.

City responded inside two minutes. The impressive Ewan Clark turned and crossed from the corner of the penalty area where Wilson timed his run perfectly to sneak in and fire past Joe Day, who couldn’t get enough to keep his low drive out.

A third goal in six minutes proved enough for the visitors.

Thomas was the creator. Despite playing in an unfamiliar left-back role, the former Roman stormed forward and pulled back to King, who controlled on the edge of the box before rifling past Wiles-Richards, who had little chance.

Wiles-Richards denied Thomas with his legs after the Cheltenham man linked up with Trialist A from a short corner.

City nearly nabbed a third leveller on a counter. Wiles-Richards’ punch away was collected by Latrell Humphrey-Ewers, who played it wide to one of the trialists. His played in Wilson who reacted quicker than David Romer but fired wide of Day’s right post with the keeper beaten.

It was the last clear opening of an absorbing game which proved a good workout for Jerry Gill’s side.

Att: 376

City’s Line-Up: Wiles-Richards, Raynes (Trialist 68), Grimes, Parselle (c), Wanjau-Smith (Wilson 56), Humphrey-Ewers, Clark (Sweeten 70), Frear (Trialist 60), Trialist (Greenslade 54), Trialist B, Trialist C. Subs: Sardo, Trialist, Trialist, Morgan.

Scorers: City – Wanjau-Smith (45), Wilson (65); Cheltenham – Taylor (pen 19), Trialist (63), King (69)

City Bookings: none

Officials: C Peters, R Morris, J Clench