Evesham United (0) 1 Bath City (0) 1 – Saturday 16 July 2022 – Pre-Season Friendly – The Spiers & Hartwell Stadium

Evesham United (0) 1 Bath City (0) 1 – Saturday 16 July 2022 – Pre-Season Friendly – The Spiers & Hartwell Stadium

Match Report by Mark Stillman.

Bath City picked up a draw at Evesham United in a friendly combined with their team bonding weekend.

They fell behind on the hour when the otherwise impressive Luke Spokes gave away possession from a goal kick allowing Callum Briggs to steal in and net within seconds of his first outing for the hosts.

But they levelled 112 seconds later through Scott Wilson with Spokes redeeming himself with a key pass in the build-up.

Inspired blocks from the home side kept them in the game and they could have snatched a win when Toumani Sidibe’s 20-yarder came back off the base of the post.

The match was brought forward to 2.30pm to accommodate City’s evening plans and they nearly took an early lead, aided by a stroke of luck in the build-up.

Tom Smith charged down Elliott Keighley and the ball looked certain to ricochet behind for a goal-kick, but it came back off the corner flag allowing the alert Smith to cross for Cody Cooke, who saw his header from six yards kept out by Fraser Barnsley.

Evesham’s first opening arrived on 13 minutes when Jack Batten’s loose header was pounced upon by Josh Aldridge, who set Kyle Belmonte through on goal. In trying to round Joe Wright, Belmonte’s strike was finger-tipped behind by the grounded goalkeeper.

Jordan Stoddart narrowly avoided putting Spokes’ teasing ball into his own net, the defender slicing over his own crossbar under pressure from Smith as both sides looked threatening on an impressive but sticky surface owing to the near 30-degree heat.

After one of two first half drinks breaks, Jordan Dyer headed too close to Barnsley after Chris Lines’ free-kick located the unmarked centre-back.

City introduced Wilson for Cooke at the break and he nearly broke the deadlock within five minutes of the second half.

Elliott Frear’s pull back picked out the new arrival and after Stoddart’s initial header fell to Wilson, the centre-back threw himself in the way to deflect his effort against the bar and behind for a corner.

Sidibe came on for the Robins on 57 minutes and dispossessed Rex Mannings in midfield before ploughing towards goal, Wright finally proving his nemesis with a brave block.

City replaced Wright on the hour and within 20 seconds of restarting his replacement was picking the ball out of his net.

The trialist keeper’s short pass saw Spokes try and play it back, but it was woefully short and fell to Briggs who, having only just come on himself, took a touch before easily rolling home from 18 yards.

Gill’s men equalised within two minutes. Spokes’ cleverly disguised pass set Smith away on the right and his ball across was easily tapped in by Wilson.

He nearly had another but couldn’t connect with Spokes’ telling ball, before United went closer through Sidibe, whose impressive strength created space for a shot which came back off the foot of the post, possibly via a slight goalkeeper touch.

Neither side could find a winner as Step 4 Evesham claimed their first draw of pre-season after three defeats, while City move to three unbeaten at the midway point of their friendlies.

Att: n/a

City’s Line-Up: Wright (Trialist B 60), Raynes (Trialist C 76), Dyer, Batten, Parselle, Fletcher (Mannings 52), Spokes, Cooke (Trialist D HT), Smith (Trialist A 76), Frear, Lines (Hayfield 52). Subs not used: none

Scorers: City –  Trialist D (63); Evesham – Briggs (61)

City Bookings: Dyer (77)

Referee: Liam Beames