City have confirmed the dates of their rearranged trip to Whitehawk and Somerset Premier Cup quarter-final at home to Paulton Rovers. The will travel to the Brighton-based Hawks on Tuesday 20 January (ko 7.45pm) and face Paulton at Twerton Park on Tuesday 24 February (ko 7.45pm). A new date for the postponed Boxing Day game at Weston Super Mare will be announced shortly.
A second half brace from Ben Adelsbury saw City beat Boreham Wood 2-0 at Twerton Park this afternoon and complete the double over the current Vanarama Conference South leaders. The early exchanges were largely controlled by the visitors as City struggled to deal with their physical approach, conceding possession time and again. Jeffrey fired over the bar, Morias headed wide when he looked certain to score and Montgomery forced a fine stop from Jason Mellor but slowly City began to keep possession better and the Wood’s chances dried up. The rest of the half was largely played out to a background of Wood players and management disputing refereeing decisions and their frustrations were increased after the interval as City took control of the game. Adelsbury forced an early save from Russell although the keeper then almost gifted City the lead when he managed to punch a corner against his own bar. On 66 minutes City took the lead when a poor defensive header dropped to Adelsbury to fire into the roof of the net. Dave Pratt missed a good chance to double City’s lead but with four minutes left Andy Gallinagh rode several tackles before setting up Adelsbury for his and City second goal and ensure a winning finish to 2014.
For the third successive season City’s Christmas/New Year game at Weston Super Mare was postponed due to waterlogged pitch, the only match to suffer such a fate in top six levels of English football. Despite the recent dry weather, rain that started around late morning left the Woodspring Stadium pitch unplayable and the game was called off around 90 minutes before kick-off. The only silver lining for City in this frustrating afternoon is the players should be fresh when they face Vanarama Conference South leaders Boreham Wood at Twerton Park on Sunday (ko 3pm).
The Bath City Foodbank donation drive at the home match against Wealdstone on Saturday was a great success. The large collection basket was full of essential food goods requested by the Bath Foodbank well before kick-off thanks to the astonishing generosity of the Bath City supporters. This will help those in need throughout Christmas and beyond. Fans of the Romans also helped donate a massive £407.40 which will aid in the purchase of a shipping container for storage of food at Bath Foodbank’s base in Batheaston. It was also mentioned by collectors that the Wealdstone supporters were exceptionally generous with cash donations as well. The basket will be a long-term fixture in Charlie’s bar at Twerton Park for further food donations at home games. Thank you to all supporters for their generosity.
City endured a frustrating afternoon at Twerton Park as Wealdstone pulled off a smash and grab win – perfectly fitting given their Stones nickname – with a 94th minute winning goal. A promising opening from City – Ashley Kington going the closest with a well struck shot that visitor’s keeper North saved well – soon faded and after this Wealdstone enjoyed the majority of the possession, They looked fairly toothless up front though, creating just one good chance that Jason Mellor blocked with his legs. Kington had another good chance on the half-hour when North’s clearance fell to him but his shot picked out the recovering keeper. The second half was a different story with City on the front foot almost non-stop and the visitors looking content to hold out for a 0-0 draw from the word go. Andy Watkins dragged a shot narrowly wide and North produced a stunning save from a close range Dave Pratt effort. Even with five minutes of stoppage time – mainly for Wealdstone’s time-wasting – the game looked destined to end goalless but with four minutes gone a header forward caused panic in the City backline. Although Mellor was alert to reach the ball first it squirmed from his grasp allowing Jolly to tee up Turner, whose low shot found the net past several City defenders to send the large travelling Stones support into rapture.
This Saturday will see the launch of more items into the club shop. From this weekend you will be able to buy scarves, beanies, baseball caps, as well as a range of Jako merchandise from replica player polo shirts to full replica player tracksuits. To celebrate the launch of the new online shop we have exclusive club shop offers:
Bath City Teddy Bears £8
Bath City Christmas Stockings £4
Bath City Santa Hats £2
When it’s gone, it’s gone!
If you can’t get to our Club shop at Twerton Park, it’s still not too late to buy online, so why not try it at www.proactiveteamwear.co.uk.
After discussions with Director of Football, Adrian Britton, former academy captain and Bath University student Elliott Gibbons has joined Mangotsfield United from Paulton Rovers. On dual registration with City, Elliott has made the move to Mangotsfield to increase the amount of game time he needs at this stage of his career. Elliott has appeared for the first team at Bishops Stortford and in our successful Somerset cup ties this season amd will be available for our quarter final tie against Paulton Rovers in February.
Building on last season’s award of Conference South Community Club of the Year award to Bath City, the club have further strengthened links with the local community by designating this Saturday’s match against Wealdstone as a fundraiser for the Bath Foodbank at Rose Cottage, High Street, Twerton. Bath Foodbank started up in the summer of 2011 and works on a voucher system. Vouchers are given out by local charities, social and health services, churches and schools. Each voucher can be exchanged for three days’ meals for the household. The food is packed according to a list appropriate to the size of the household. In Bath, 45% of vouchers are given out because of benefit delays and changes; 33% because of debt or low income. High heating costs, sickness, job loss and domestic violence are some of the other causes of households suffering and going short of food. Three days is the period assessed as being the minimum time it takes for a client to receive longer-term assistance. Last financial year in the Twerton ward of Bath alone, 287 households received aid from Bath Foodbank. These households included 146 children. In total we’ve handed out 88 tonnes of food since we set up.
Bath Foodbank relies heavily on donations. They are currently fundraising to pay for a fourth storage container and need another £3000 so they can pay for it rather than lease. They can only collect food that’s on their “shopping lists” – all long-life, tinned or dried foods. The items that they are consistently short of are tinned meat products, long-life milk, long-life fruit juice, sugar, instant mashed potato, tinned sponge pudding and chocolate. We are somehow always well-stocked with baked beans, soup, pasta and tinned vegetables. To this end, there will be buckets around the ground during the match for cash donations and a permanent donation basket has been installed in Charlie’s for food donations at the match and in the future. Please feel free to donate food, cash or both! Dan Bowman, Paul Williams and Bob Chester from the club were at Rose Cottage early this week helping pack deliveries for those that desperately need food at this time of year especially.
City’s reward for their famous FA Trophy victory against Bristol Rovers is a trip to Vanarama Conference South rivals Wealdstone. The 2nd Round tie will tale place on Saturday 10 January (ko 3pm).
Following the release of video coverage of the Rovers match it is clear City’s first goal, originally credited to Chas Hemmings, was in fact an own goal by Rovers no.3 Lee Brown. The website has been updated accordingly.
City enjoyed one of their greatest FA Trophy days this afternoon as they beat Vanarama Conference high-flyers Bristol Rovers by two goals to nil at the Memorial Stadium. An own goal and Frankie Artus header in the space of three second half minutes decided the tie and it was no less than City deserved as they comfortably dealt with all the Pirates could throw at them. The boos that rang round the ground from the home fans at the final whistle showed what they thought of the result, although a considerable number remained to applaud City’s players off the pitch, but the joyous celebrations amongst the players and over 400 City fans showed how much the win meant to them. City started the game strongly, Chris Allen shooting over from the edge of the box and Dave Pratt turning an Andy Watkins cross narrowly wide. In-between City did have the ball in the net but Artus’ corner that curled straight in was correctly ruled out for a foul on keeper Speiss by Hemmings. Slowly the former Football League side began to impose themselves on the game but with Jason Mellor dealing impeccably with a number of crosses only a couple of off target headers threatened his goal. The opening minutes of the second half were all Rovers but when an unmarked Balanta missed a great close range header it summed up their lack of threat in front of goal as did Martin’s poor touch when he raced clear on goal. Watkins was then denied by Spiess and looked to have a strong penalty claim when he was challenged by Brown inside the box. This was forgotten on 68 minutes though, as an Artus corner was punched by Spiess against Brown and into the net. And it got even better three minutes later for City. Leadbitter’s attempted back pass was intercepted by Pratt and he chipped the ball across for Artus to head home his first goal for the club. The home side looked to find a way back into the game after this but City stood firm to secure the famous win and place in Monday’s 2nd Round draw.
City supporters can watch the game from our East Stand Terrace. It is an open standing terrace with a capacity of 1000 which is situated behind the dugouts or alternatively from the South Stand. It is a covered seated area behind a goal with a capacity of 500. There is a refreshments kiosk and access to toilets. Disabled/wheelchair spaces are available in shared areas of the East Stand, adjacent the Visitors Terrace. Supporters can purchase tickets in advance from Rovers ticket office (0117 909 66 48 option 1). Ticket prices are as follows: ADULT £10.00 – SENIOR £5.00 – JUNIOR U-16 £1.00 – DISABLED £5.00 (U16 £1).
Whilst City’s 2013-14 season was coming to a low-key finish with a 2-0 win over Concord Rangers on 26 April 2014 a number of Romans followers, either in Essex or elsewhere, were no doubt keeping track of the game between Wycombe Wanderers and Bristol Rovers taking place around 80 miles away. With just two games remaining both Rovers and Wanderers, along with Northampton Town, were all on 47 points, looking to avoid joining Torquay United in dropping into the Football Conference. And when news filtered through that David Clarkson’s late strike had given Rovers a vital 2-1 win it looked as if the Pirates had done enough to secure a 95th year as a Football League club. They would go into their final match of the season at home to Mansfield Town needing just a point to avoid relegation. Even if they lost to the mid-table Stags, Wycombe would need to beat Torquay and Northampton pick up at least a point at Oxford United to both overhaul Rovers.
Since returning to the bottom tier of the Football League Rovers had flirted with relegation during both 2011-12 and 2012-13 only for a strong second half to the campaigns to lift them to mid-table security. And it looked like history was repeating itself as they lost just two of their opening eleven games in 2014 to climb to 14th place, eight points clear of the bottom two albeit just two points ahead of 22nd placed Accrington Stanley in a tightly packed lower half of the table. However, a 2-1 home defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge was quickly followed by a 4-0 reversal at Hartlepool, seeing any momentum they had built up lost. It would never be regained. After another disappointing away loss, this time at Fleetwood Town, the club announced that manager John Ward was to move upstairs to become director of football, whilst his assistant Darrell Clarke was to take over as manager. This switch was viewed as something of a gamble by many Gasheads but the new era started perfectly with former City striker Kaid Mohamed scoring a late winner against Morecambe. But when Rovers picked up just a single point from their next five games they were firmly back in the relegation fight.
The game against Mansfield Town began in slightly bizarre circumstances as the visitors were forced to wear Rovers old second kit after turning up without their own. However, matters soon began to get serious for Rovers as they fell behind in the 36th minute. With both Wycombe and Northampton comfortably winning their games, Rovers desperately needed to find an equaliser. However, a series of near misses, including twice striking the frame of the goal, meant the game remained at 0-1 as it reached it closing stages. Perhaps understandably the Rovers players finally ran out of ideas and the final whistle condemned them to relegation on goal difference. Remarkably this had been the first time all season that Rovers had occupied one of the two relegation places.
Hope of a reprieve did surface later in May when the club appealed after Wycombe admitted breaching FA regulations during the sale of winger Matt Phillips to Blackpool in the summer of 2010. Wanderers were fined £10,000 for the offence but Rovers argued they should have been deducted points and relegated to the Conference for breaching the Football Association’s rules on third party ownership. Eventually the Football League reprimanded Wycombe but by then Rovers had long since begun life as a non-league club.
Whilst many Rovers fans would have had high hopes of an immediate return to the Football League only twice have a relegated side bounced straight back (Darlington 1989-90 and Shrewsbury Town 2003-04). And when they only picked up one point from their opening three league games it was clear they were still suffering a hangover from the events back in May. Since then though they have just suffered two further league defeats and coming into the FA Trophy game with City they sit firmly amongst the pack chasing leaders Barnet. Defensively they have looked strong (only Grimsby have conceded fewer goals) but with just 28 goals scored – the same as bottom club AFC Telford United – it is up front they will look for an improvement to close the current nine point gap on the Bees.
Back in May when Rovers’ relegation was confirmed no doubt many City fans would have immediately looked to the FA Trophy and the possibility of being paired with their former tenants. Although it is a competition in which City have rarely enjoyed success a positive result in Bristol on Saturday would certainly mark one of the club’s high points. In fact, should City emerge victorious and the tie turns out to be Rovers one and only game in the competition it would be an outcome that both sides would view as a success, albeit with more immediate effect for the Romans.
Although City and Bristol Rovers had met four times in the Somerset Premier Cup during the first half of the 1990s plus a Coronation Cup match in the early 1960s it was the draw for the 1994-95 FA Cup 1st Round that gave the two clubs by far their highest profile clash. City’s cup exploits the previous season – reaching the 3rd Round proper where they drew 0-0 at 1st Division Stoke City before losing the replay – saw them bypass the qualifying rounds for the only time in their history and when the draw paired them with tenants Bristol Rovers the delight amongst players, officials and supporters was obvious. There was initial disappointment when the game was surprisingly overlooked by Sky for one of their televised games – denying both sides a £48,000 windfall – but this was quickly forgotten as the clubs began preparing for the 12 November tie.
Although City had been drawn as the home side – meaning tenants Rovers would be in the unusual position of using the away dressing room for the day (they even took a coach to the game to replicate a normal away match) – it was clear that the majority of supporters at the game would be backing the Pirates and it was decided that there would be no segregation in any part of the ground. Prices were set at £10 for the main stand, £9 for the family stand and £6 for a place on the terrace. On the pitch the form of the two sides couldn’t have been more contrasting. City had begun the 1994-95 season promisingly – they briefly topped the table during September – but a dip in form had seen hopes of a sustained title challenge fade and they came into the Rovers game on the back of six successive defeats – the last three without scoring a goal. Rovers had only lost three of their opening sixteen Division 2 games and, although eight draws meant they were in mid-table, their last outing was a 4-0 win over Bradford City at Twerton Park.
However, once 6,751 fans had found their way into the ground the clear quality gap was forgotten and for 20 minutes City held their own against the Pirates. City manager Tony Ricketts had already produced a surprise in his starting line-up, fielding a back five for the first time that season, with former Rovers skipper Vaughan Jones at sweeper on his return to the Romans. City were frustrating Rovers and could have grabbed the lead on 11 minutes when top scorer Paul Adcock was put through on goal by Nicky Brooks only for a defender to close him down before he could test keeper Brian Parkin. Slowly, though, Rovers began to gain the upper hand and City suffered a couple of nervous moment before the deadlock was broken in the 19th minute. City keeper Dave Mogg initially did well to keep out Paul Miller’s shot but after Justin Channing’s follow up hit the bar he was powerless to keep out Marcus Stewart’s diving header. Any worries that the floodgates would open proved groundless at that stage and City reached the interval still very much in the game.
Within six minutes of the restart, though, it all began to go wrong for City. A two-footed tackle by Grantley Dicks on Rovers’ Justin Pritchard earned the left-back a straight red card and the game shifted relentlessly in favour of the ‘away’ side. It took them just five minutes to make their man advantage tell, Miller cutting in from the left before shooting past Mogg from 16 yards out. And this time the floodgates did open – although City’s heads never dropped and they kept battling right to the final whistle – Miller turning in Pritchard’s cross on 73 minutes before completing his hat-trick eleven minutes from time with a far post header from Lee Archer’s cross. And the former Wimbledon striker then netted his fourth and Rovers’ fifth in the 84th minute, Archer again the provider with a great low centre.
Remarkably City were back in action just two days later when they finally ended their losing streak with a 2-0 home win over Farnborough but it was Rovers whose FA Cup adventure continued with a win at Leyton Orient in the next round before 1st Division Luton Town knocked them out at Twerton Park by a single goal in a 3rd Round replay.
Ahead of City’s FA Trophy meeting with Bristol Rovers on Saturday at the Memorial Stadium the Official Bath City website has a three-part preview of the mouth-watering game. The first remembers the Pirates ten-year exile at Twerton Park, the second looks back to the FA Cup meeting between the sides in 1994 and the third how Rovers are faring as a non-league side.
When Bristol Rovers headed 13 miles down the A4 to begin a ground-share arrangement with City at Twerton Park during the summer of 1986 it marked the end of many years of uncertainty over the future of the Pirates. The early 1980s had seen the club had fail to agree an extension to the lease on their home of over 80 years, Eastville Stadium, causing fears that they would have to find a new home. On 17 August 1980, a fire started in the South Grandstand in Eastville, destroying the administrative offices and changing rooms. As a result, Rovers were forced to play five games at Ashton Gate, three in the league and two in the League Cup. This location was not popular with the fans however, who considered this to be enemy territory, and all five games were poorly attended. During the 1981–82 season, with the lease on Eastville coming to an end, Rovers were offered deals to ground-share by both Bristol City and Bath City, however a five-year extension to their existing lease was agreed and Rovers would remain at Eastville until 1986. Before the lease was agreed, the then Rovers chairman, Martin Flook, had made an offer of £450,000 to buy Ashton Gate Stadium from Bristol City, who were on the verge of bankruptcy at the time. However, when City reformed as Bristol City (1982) plc, this bid was rejected. When this extension came to an end the club’s ongoing financial problems meant they could no longer remain at the ground – particurlarly faced with a considerable rent increase – and their last game to be played at Eastville was on 26 April 1986, when Rovers drew 1–1 with Chesterfield in front of just 3,576 spectators.
Their first match as tenants at Twerton Park was against City in a pre-season friendly on 12 August 1986 where goals from Mark Smally and Gary Smart gave the Pirates a winning start to life in Bath. The first competitive game came when Reading were the opposition in a League Cup 1st Round tie on 27 August 1986. Nearly 3,800 supporters witnessed this historic moment in the club’s history before, three days later, over 4000 saw Rovers first league game at the ground, a Trevor Morgan goal giving the home side a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanders. One home game during the first season in Bath was played at Ashton Gate however, the match against Swindon Town was played in front of 8,196 spectators in an effort to raise money to help with Rovers’ financial problems. They finished the season in 19th position in Division 3 but this would turn out to be their lowest league placing during ten years at Twerton Park. Having reached the play-off final two seasons later – losing 2-1 on aggregate to Port Vale – the 1989-90 season turned out to be one of the greatest in the club’s history. Promotion was clinched in their penultimate league game of the season – a 3-0 win over local rivals Bristol City at Twerton Park on 2 May 1990 (inspiring the title of a former Bristol Rovers fanzine, The Second of May).
No doubt this game ranks as the highlight of Rovers stay in Bath for the majority of Gasheads, but the club also enjoyed other memorable matches at the ground, including an FA Cup 4th Round tie on 5 February 1992 against eventual winners Liverpool – nearly 9500 fans cramming in to see the sides draw 1-1. Manchester City also visited the ground during their tenancy for a 1992-93 League Cup 2nd Round clash, that game ending goalless. The ground share was not without its low point, though, when, ten years after the fire at Eastville, the main stand at Twerton Park was damaged on 16 September 1990 in what was later found to be an arson attack. Seven Bristol City fans were later tried and convicted of the crime. Rovers last season at Twerton Park was the 1995-96 campaign, although their final game was the opening match of the following season – a 1-0 win over Peterborough United on 17 August 1996. Bristol Rugby Club were experiencing financial difficulties, and offered Rovers the opportunity to buy half of the Memorial Ground (now called The Memorial Stadium) for £2.3 million. The stadium was not ready for league football however, hence the first game of the season was played at Twerton Park. The return to Bristol was finally achieved for the second home game of the season against Stockport County, a game that was drawn 1–1.
The ground sharing deal between the clubs is considered one of the most successful in professional football. It was clear that Rovers future was under real threat before City came to their rescue. With over £1m obtained via grants to spend on Twerton Park – money that would not have been available to City – the ground was brought up to Football League standard, with the newly build family stand, away enclosure at the Bristol End and much improved drainage for the pitch. Even the arson attack on the main stand meant the previously mainly wooden structure was updated – although the means to this end was not ideal! The rent that came in from Rovers saw City regain their Conference status two years after relegation to the Southern League then enjoy back to back top ten finishes in an increasingly strong division. Despite moving 13 miles from their home city, the Pirates support held up remarkably well and even now it is clear many Rovers fans look back on their time in Bath fondly – no doubt helped by the success they enjoyed on the pitch during this period. And ever since their return to Bristol the pre-season matches between the clubs have been very well attended, with many hundreds of Gasheads making the trip down memory lane.
A first minute strike was enough to condemn City to defeat this afternoon in their latest Vanarama Conference South outing at St Albans City. Saints striker Frendo took full advantage of a mix-up between Phil Walsh and Jason Mellor to put his side ahead and despite City enjoying the majority of possession from then on, including the final 30 minutes against ten men following Gorman’s red card, they couldn’t find a way back into the game. In fact, it was the hosts who looked the likelier to add to the scoring during the first half, Mellor twice having to produce top class saves to deny Frendo. Even the introduction of their two top scorers – Dave Pratt and Ross Stearn – around the hour mark failed to add a cutting edge to City’s efforts. Gorman’s high tackle on Dan Ball inbetween the substitutions gave City a numerical advantage but any hope of building momentum from this was dashed when the game was held up for nearly 15 minutes whilst a replacement was found for an injured referee’s assistant. When the game restarted the Saints continued to withstand all City could throw at them, although they had a fortunate escape two minutes from time. Stearn won a free-kick 20-yards from goal only to see his curling shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounce to safety.
The draw for the quarter finals of the Somerset Premier Cup has given City a home time against Paulton Rovers. The tie is due to played the week commencing Monday 23 February 2015.
Following discussions between the clubs, City and Bristol Rovers have agreed that their FA Trophy 1st Round tie at the Memorial Stadium will take place on Saturday 13 December (ko 3pm). Bristol Rovers have worked hard to put the necessary arrangements in place to play at the same time as Bristol City which suits both us and Rovers the best and are grateful for the relevant agencies assistance with this.
Admission prices for the game are – Main Stands: Adults – £14 Concessions – £7 Under 16’s – £7. South Stand & Terraces: Adults – £10 Concessions – £5 Under 16’s – £1.
Should the tie end up all-square a replay would be held at Twerton Park on Tuesday 16 December (ko 7.45pm).
City’s U18 match against Forest Green Rovers, scheduled for Twerton Park this Saturday, has been postponed due to illness in the Gloucestershire side’s coaching staff.
Two goals in extra-time from Ross Stearn saw City beat Gloucester City 3-1 at a bitterly cold Twerton Park this evening to secure the club a plum FA Trophy 1st Round trip to Bristol Rovers. Despite the potentially lucrative prize on offer the match, like the first meeting on Sunday, lacked quality for long periods as the two sides cancelled each other out. The visitors had controlled the opening 20 minutes but found themselves behind from City first effort on goal, Andy Watkins holding off a defender to fire home a great shot from the edge of the box. The game was not helped by Gloucester’s tendancy to ground easily, looking for – and frequently getting – a free-kick. Frankie Artus wasted a great chance to make it 2-0 on 39 minutes blasting over the bar when well-placed. Just when it looked like City would reach the interval with a narrow advanatge the Tigers broke away and – although Artus was clearly fouled in the build-up – the ball found it way to Groves and his tame shot was allowed to slip through Jason Mellor’s grasp into the net. Artus fired another good opening over the bar early in the second half and although City were now enjoying the greater possession this was as close as they would come during the 90 minutes. Mellor redeemed himself with an excellent low save from White’s free-kick but – to a very audible groan from the small crowd – the game remained all-square and headed into extra-time. But with just five minutes gone City went ahead when Stearn’s cross-shot took a deflection off a defender before looping over keeper Singh into the net. Then three minutes into the second period of extra-time Stearn was freed down the right flank to blast the ball into the roof of the net and end Gloucester’s resistance.
The meeting with Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium is scheduled for Saturday 13 December but with Bristol City also home on that date the tie is likely to be played on either the Friday evening or Sunday. Please check the website for further details in due course.
City defender Martin Slocombe has been unwell for some weeks and, having spoken to Martin in recent days, he has advised us that he is suffering from a serious stomach abnormality which will prevent him from playing football in the foreseeable future. This has been a private matter for Martin until this time but it is with his agreement that we are making this public. We are sure that everyone will join us in wishing him a speedy recovery. “Slocs” is an incredibly popular member of the squad with players and fans alike and the team are very much hoping that he will be well enough to attend a game over the Christmas period. Martin, at this difficult time you are very much in our thoughts.
The winners of tomorrow night’s FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round replay between City and Gloucester City will face a short trip to Bristol Rovers in the 1st Round of the competition.