City were given the prefect Christmas present, albeit a day late, yesterday, as an own goal by Tiverton Town’s Jason Rees gave them a 2-1 victory to record their first league win since September 16. The game was poised at 1-1, as loan star Darren Hawkins had drawn City level two minutes after Nancekivell had put the Devon side ahead during the first half, when Frankie Bennett whipped in a great cross that, under pressure from Hawkins, Rees could only fire past his own keeper. City were left with a nervous 20 minutes to hold onto the lead and with just two of those left ex-City striker Paul Milsom should have snatched victory from his former side. Somehow, though, he contrived to miss from a couple of yards out and moments later Gary Owers could celebrate his first league victory as manager.
Iain Harvey has joined Dr Martens Western League side Yate Town on a month’s loan. The midfielder broke and dislocated his ankle in July during a pre-season match at Cirencester and will look to return to match fitness during his spell at Lodge Road. His debut for Yate was less than auspicious on Boxing Day as he scored an own goal in the 3-0 defeat against Team Taxpayer!
Midfielder Alfie Carter has left City by mutual consent following his clash with manager Gary Owers over his unavailibilty to train twice a week. The Birmingham based midfielder joined City back in September and had agreed with previous manager Alan Pridham that he would only train once a week due to attending a college course on Thursdays. However, Owers demanded a greater commitment from the 23-year old and when it became clear he would not be able to provide this he was released. Carter made 13 appearances for City, scoring a single goal in the FA Trophy win at Mangotsfield United.
The draw for the 4th round of the Dr Martens Cup has given City the toughest task possible with a trip to league leaders Weymouth. The match will take place on Tuesday 20 January 2004 (ko 7.45pm).
For the second successive week City were left feeling hard done by a refereeing decision as they crashed 2-0 at Crawley Town to suffer their sixth league defeat in a row. Last week it was the failure to send off Welling keeper Kelly (and failing to spot that Hawkins shot had crossed the line). This time it was awarding a penalty to the home side that would have been laughable if it hadn’t had such a huge impact in taking the game away from City. The incident occured with five minutes remaining in the first half. Mike Trought allowed a long ball forward to bounce over his head only to recover from the error with an excellent tackle on MacDonald. Nobody in the ground appealed for anything more than a corner but the linesman had other ideas and to the astonishment of everyone flagged for a penalty. MacDonald got over his embarrassment to convert the spot kick and City were heading for yet another defeat. Up to that point it was a sadly familiar story as City adapted well to the difficult conditions and looked the better side, but again the lack of a cutting edge was painful to watch. The second half was a different story as Crawley took control and struck again on 58 minutes through a Hemsley header. City’s fustration got to Matt Coupe with ten minutes remaining as he was deservedly shown a straight red card for a dreadful tackle.
New manager Gary Owers appears to inherited his predessor Alan Pridham’s bad luck with injuries with the news that top scorer Steve Tweddle will be sidelined for the rest of the season with an achilles injury. The six-goal striker picked up the injury in the home defeat against Nuneaton Borough four weeks ago and had hoped to be back in action by Christmas. However, further examination has revealed a second tear in the achilles which will mean he is out of action for at least 6 months.
The lack of Russian linesmen at Dr Martens Preimer Division level has left City even more fustrated after Welling United’s keeper Gavin Kelly admitted that Darren Hawkins 40-yard shot did cross the line in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Park View Road. The stunning stoppage time effort from the loan striker struck the underside of the bar before bouncing down and back into the keepers arms. However, Kelly, who was also fortunate not to be sent off for bringing down Hawkins earlier in the game, confessed that the ball had bounced down behind the line when asked by the 19-year Bristol City player after the game. Understandably, the speed of the incident meant neither the referee or linesman were close enough to award a goal that would have given City a thoroughly deserved point, although this wasn’t helped by the poor standard floodlights at the ground.
The Bath City Supporters Club, in conjunction with the Supporters Society, have launched a new fundraising initiative aimed directly at boosting the coffers of new manager Gary Owers. The scheme, called ‘Lucky 13’ based on the target of a top 13 position to earn a place in the new Conference Division 2 setup, will run for 6 months with all profits going directly into the playing budget. Owers, himself, has become one of the first people to sign up for the scheme. For full details and an application form click here.
City slumped to the bottom of the Dr Martens Premier Division following this afternoons 2-1 defeat at Welling United but were left to reflect on an astonishing refereeing decision and a piece of sickening bad luck that cost them a deserved point. Both incidents involved new loan signing Darren Hawkins. In the 75th minute he latched onto a poor back header only to be felled by keeper Kelly. The referee awarded a penalty, which Hawkins himself confidently converted, but incredibly only booked the Welling no.1. Despite this City threw everything they could at United and in the closing moments came within an inch of grabbing an equaliser. From over 40 yards out Hawkins let fly and had Kelly been taking an early bath like he should have he would have been no further from stopping it. However, what did come to his rescue was the crossbar as the ball struck its underside before bouncing down onto the line and to safety. Prior to this dramatic ending to the game City had produced an improved performance only to concede two goals at vital times. The first half was a minute into stoppage time when Collins turned a cross past keeper Ryan Northmore. The debutant could do little about that goal but was at fault for the second on 66 minutes when he failed to collect a low cross, handing Riviere a simple tap-in.
New manager Gary Owers has made his first tranfer deals in an attempt to lift City away from the wrong end of the Dr Martens Premier Division. He has brought in Woking goalkeeper Ryan Northmore and young Bristol City attacking player Darren Hawkins on one month loan deals. 23-year old keeper Northmore made 30 appearance for Torquay United prior to joining Woking in July 2003. By contrast teenager Hawkins, who can play wide left or right, or up front, has yet to start a first team game for the Robins but is highly rated at Ashton Gate. Both players will go straight into the squad that travels to Welling United tomorrow looking to end a 10 month wait for an away league win.
Despite their league troubles City proved for the third time this season that Dr Martens Western League sides they can cope with as goals from Jason Eaton, Josh Jeffries and Ricky Hulbert saw them beat Cirencester Town 3-0 to progress into the 4th Round of the Dr Martens Cup. They had suffered a couple of nervous moments before a hooked cross from Alfie Carter was headed home by Eaton after 39 minutes. Carter also provided the cross for Jeffries’ close range finish on 66 minutes. The victory was completed when youth team striker Hulbert capitalised on an error by Town keeper Thompson to roll the ball into an empty net with his first touch for the first team.
City will return to the scene of their early season FA Cup success after the draw for the quarter final of the Somerset Premier Cup paired them with Brislington. They met back in September in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the competiton when goals from Danny Cleverley and Mark Salter saw City home 2-0. The match will take place in the week commencing 16 February.
And the league game at home to Worcester City has been rearranged for Tuesday 3 February (ko 7.45pm) as City are due to play Staines Town in the FA Trophy on the original date.
If new manager Gary Owers didn’t appreciate the size of the task facing him to drag City into the new Conference set-up he certainly will now as his side meekly succumbed 2-0 to a shockingly poor Merthyr Tydfil at Twerton Park this afternoon. Somehow City contrived to be even more clueless than their Welsh opposition and two first half goals, the first predictably from a set-piece, were more than enough to secure the victory. City received a further blow when Danny Cleverley was stretchered off following a clash with Marthyrs keeper Thomas, forcing them to play cente-back Adam Howarth up front for the final half-hour. With local rivals Chippenham Town matching them defeat for defeat the result leaves City in 21st position, although a gap is beginning to open between the two sides and the rest of the league.
City’s FA Trophy victims Gloucester City gained a small degree of revenge last night by coming out victorious in a Severnside League clash. The Tigers beat a City side containing just two first team members, Steve Jenkins and Josh Jeffries, by three goals to one. City’s goal came from Craig Lewis and watching manager Gary Owers was particularly impressed with the performance of highly-rated midfielder Yan Klukowski.
Midfielder Iain Harvey who has missed the whole of the season so far after dislocating and breaking his left ankle in pre-season has returned to training and hopes to be back in action early in the New Year. The injury occured during the 4-1 defeat at Cirencester Town in August. As one of City’s most consistent performers during the last two seasons his presence in the middle of the park has been sorely missed and his return can only be a boost for new manager Gary Owers.
Weather permitting City will travel to their FA Trophy victims Gloucester City tomorrow night for a Severnside League match.
Boyakasha! (sorry, it wasn’t funny four years ago and certainly isn’t now). The draw for the 3rd Round of the FA Trophy has paired City with Ryman League Division 1 South side Staines Town. After City’s FA Cup exit at the hands of a side from the same level (albeit the North Division) it gives them a chances to lay the ghosts of that dreadful day. The match will take place on Saturday 10 January (ko 3pm) and means the scheduled league clash with Worcester City on that date will have to be rearranged.
Former City defender Chris Sugar has been jailed for eight months and banned from entering a football ground for six years for his part in a riot that followed the LDV Vans final at the Millennium Stadium between Bristol City and Carlisle. Sugar made 24 appearances for City during the 1995-96 season, although he is best remembered for his red card against Yeovil Town at Huish Park in the FA Trophy that preceded City overturning a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2. The 35-year old was part of a hundred-strong crowd responsible for wrecking a Cardiff pub, holding open the doors so missiles could be thrown at police as they surrounded the pub designated for Bristol fans.