City’s worrying slide back towards the relegation zone continued yesterday as they crashed to a 4-0 defeat against fellow strugglers Welling United. The loss leaves City just two places and two points above the drop zone and they have also played more games than their closest rivals. As in the Boxing Day deafeat at Havant the final scoreline flattered the home side but this does not disguise a performance that makes the New Year Day clash with Newport IOW a huge must-win game. A close-range strike from Abbott seven minutes before the interval gave Welling the lead, ironically coming after City’s best spell of the half when Andy Williams, Gareth Hopkins and Mike Davis, back at the club on loan from Basingstoke Town, all missed good chances. The second period saw City too often give the ball away and they were finally punished for this as Welling scored three times in the closing 10 minutes, Abbott, with his second, Samuels and Johnson the scorers.
The Christmas and New Year period began in disappointing fashion for City as they crashed by three goals to nil against a typically physical Havant & Waterlooville side. And to add to City’s woes the game left Jason Drysdale, Colin Towler, Gary Thorne and and Adrian Foster all injured and struggling to make Saturday’s game at Welling United. The game itself saw a fluke goal from O’Rourke give the home side an undeserved half-time lead before two breakaway goals from O’Rourke and Barnett in the final fifteen minutes completed the scoring. The only bright spot in a dismal afternoon for City was the performance of loan signing Gareth Hopkins who was unfortunate not to cap his debut with a goal.
With striker Paul Milsom missing for the next four games following his sending off against Ilkeston Town City manager Alan Pridham has brought in Gareth Hopkins on a months loan from Cheltenham Town. The six-plus centre-forward is seen as an ideal replacement for Milsom and will go straight into the side to face Havant & Waterlooville on Boxing Day alongside top scorer Adrian Foster. His arrival also brings to an end Paul Hunt’s short Twerton Park career as the former Forest Green player moves onto Merthyr Tydfil.
Another player seemingly heading away from City is reserve keeper Liam Ball following an astonishing attack on Alan Pridham in the Bath Chronicle. Clearly fustrated at his lack of first team opportunies, he has played just one game this season when Mark Hervin was suspended, the 18-year old former England schoolboy international accused Pridham of forgetting about him and refusing even to talk to him. He also attacked City’s training, saying he would rather train on his own. In response Pridham said that Bull may have fitted in better if he had turned up for training sessions. The likely destination for Liam appears to be Screwfix League side Team Bath after they put a seven day approach in for the player.
City’s Dr Martens Cup tie against Dorchester Town will take place at Twerton Park on Tuesday 22 January with a 7.45pm kick-off.
Paul Milsom went from hero to villain yesterday, firing home City’s third goal in the entertaining 3-3 draw at Ilkeston Town but then receving his marching orders for his part in a last minute bust-up between the two sides. Although his actions appeared no worse than a number of players after a consultation with his linesman the referee showed Milsom a red card. By contrast the big striker has begun the half with a goal of the highest quality to draw City level in a fluctauting game. He collected a pass on the edge of Ilson’s six yard box before lifting it over his marker and firing into the roof of the net. This levelled the score at 3-3 following a first half in which both defences were overflowing with festive generosity. All five goals came in a 17 minute spell as Thorne headed home a Drysdale cross after 19 minutes to give City the lead. This advantage lasted only three minutes as Thomas fouled Kirkwood and Knapper made no mistake from the penalty spot. Just another six minutes had passed when Nwadike headed the home side ahead but another excellent cross from Drysdale was converted by Thomas and City were level again on 33 minutes. Again just three minutes later City conceded, Towler turning Hemming’s cross past a stranded Hervin. Ilkeston also had a goal disallowed for offside before the interval but once Milsom had struck City looked the likelier side to claim all three points but in the end had to be content with stretching their unbeaten away run to eight games.
The draw for the 3rd Round of the Dr Martens Cup has given City a home tie with Eastern Division title challengers Dorchester Town. No date has been confirmed for the tie yet.
Two free kicks by Jason Drysdale and a James Zabek strike helped City come from a goal down to record a Dr Martens Cup win over Cinderford Town tonight at Twerton Park. All the goals came in the first period as, against the run of play, the vistors took the lead on 19 minutes. A poor back header by Drysdale allowed Truman to round Hervin and slot the ball into an empty net. This lead lasted less than five minutes as Zabek curled a great shot past keeper Fisher to level the scores. Ten minutes later a 60-yard run by Williams ended with him being bundled over right on the edge of the Cinderford box and Drysdale stepped up to drive the free-kick home. And the left-back produced an even better strike before the break. This time the infringment was over 30 yards out but his swerving effort gave Fisher no chance. The second period saw City create enough further chances to have won the game by a convincing margin but in the end they had to settle for the 3-1 victory and a place in the 3rd Round draw.
Despite playing for an hour with just 10 men following Iain Harvey’s dismissal for two bookable offences City almost held out to earn a deserved point against Kettering Town only for a goal 15 minutes from time to give the Poppies a 1-0 win at a cold Twerton Park this afternoon. Prior to Harvey’s early exit City had looked the better side, twice forcing the former Conference side to clear efforts off the line. In addditon to the loss of Harvey City were also missing captain Colin Towler, awaiting the imminent birth of his first child, and saw top scorer Adrian Foster limp from the action on 25 minutes. However, with Mark Hervin producing a series of fine saves it looked as if City would overcome these hurdles until the vital strike came from Murray after 75 minutes. Thorne hooked a chance narrowly wide as City searched for an equaliser but when the referee decided it was too cold to bother with any stoppage time they were left to reflect on another home defeat.
Foster’s departure from the action saw latest signing Paul Hunt become the 31st player to feature for City this season. The 31-year old former Forest Green Rovers striker has signed on non-contract terms following his departure from Aberystwyth and joins teammate Jason Drysdale, who overcame his back injury to also make his debut this afternoon, at Twerton Park.
City have been handed a home tie with Mangotsfield United in the quarter finals of the Somerset Premier Cup. The match will take place on Tuesday 19 February with a 7.45pm kick off.
International football is coming to Bath after Twerton Park was choosen to host the clash between the Under-17 sides of Scotland and Lithuania. The match, which will take place on Friday 8 March, is part of trianglular tournament involving the two sides plus England and forms part of the qualifying campaign for the European Under-17 Championship. In addition to a small fee for the hire of the ground City will also receive national coverage as the game will be shown live on Sky Sports.
City’s latest signing Jason Drysdale may not be fit to make his debut against Kettering Town on Saturday after injurying his back in an accident at work. The 31-year builder was set to find out the extent of the injury today. Definitely out of the game is midfielder Dave Watts after he broke his hand while boxing training.
City have received a boost ahead of their return to action against Kettering Town on Saturday with the news that former Welsh Under-21 international Andy Williams has signed a one-year contract. The in-form winger, who has produced a series of excellent performances since his arrival in September following his release from Swindon Town, was on a week to week contract but his form has been rewarded with the deal, that includes an option on a second year, although that is dependant on the 23-year old’s future career in the police force.
Williams committment to the future at Twerton Park may conincide with a positional switch at City following the signature of left sided player Jason Drysdale. The former Newcastle United and Watford player moves from League of Wales outfit Aberystwyth Town and looks set to fill the left-side midfield slot, with Williams moving to his more natural right flank position.
City’s reserve side were left to rue a series of defensive errors on Saturday as they lost 3-1 to current Western League and FA Vase holders Taunton Town in the Les Phillips Cup. Despite dominating the game for long periods two defensive blunders helped the home side to a three goal half time lead. They also wasted a great chance to get back into the game when Gosling missed a penalty after a foul on Zabek. The second half saw Burns pull a goal back but the side, cheered on by a coachload of City’s fans, could not find another way past their vastly more experienced opponents.