Cirencester Town (0) Bath City (1) – Pre-Season Friendly – Thursday 29 July 2021 – The Corinium Stadium
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Elliott Frear’s thumping finish was enough as Bath City saw off Step 4 outfit Cirencester Town.
Jerry Gill’s latest signing intercepted a loose ball from Nick Peare and unleashed a thunderous strike from 20 yards which pinged off the inside of the post giving Alex Harris no chance.
Ryan Clarke returned following a knee injury to play the first half with Bristol City under 18 stopper James Walker the second as the Romans claimed a first clean sheet of pre-season.
James Taylor impressed having spent time at the club last season and trialist Callum Wood produced an assured display at the back at Cirencester rarely threatened the Bath defence.
The Romans nearly made the perfect start. Taylor’s run down the right saw him set up Alex Fletcher, whose shot across goal was somehow miscued by Cody Cooke at the far post with the goal at his mercy.
Cooke also fired wide from 12 yards after Taylor’s shot was deflected to him as City found clear openings hard to come by against a side that only leaked four goals in nine Southern League Division One South matches last term.
Even a defence as sturdy as Cirencester’s was powerless to prevent what proved to be the deciding goal. A formation change saw Frear moved to the right and perfectly placed to intercept Peare’s wayward pass in midfield. The winger spotted a gap and thrashed an unstoppable shot inside Harris’ left post from the edge of the penalty area to give the visitors the lead.
Town nearly responded instantly when Elliott Keightley’s dangerous cross from the right saw Ross Gabriel throw himself towards the ball but he could only divert it wide when well-placed.
Fletcher’s bending shot from 20 yards was narrowly off target with Harris beaten and Tom Smith’s header took a deflection of Keightley to bounce over as City tried to add to their advantage after the break.
Substitute Harley Prior, 16, also had a shot deflected over after patient play from the Romans whereas Cirencester struggled to make inroads against National League South side’s defence, with Tommy Anderson skewing well wide from 40 yards after replacement keeper James Walker sliced a backpass to the substitute.
Other than losing Tom Richards to a suspected hamstring injury in the first half it proved to be a worthwhile exercise for Gill’s charges ahead of their final two friendlies in this busy pre-season.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c) (Walker HT), Taylor (Raynes 76), Wood (Prior 72), Holness (James 59), Ball, W Richards, T Richards (Harley 28), Fletcher, Cooke (Neilson 59), T Smith, Frear.
Scorers: City – Frear (37); Cirencester – none
Officials: D Wootton, O Spender, R Durie