If City hand a point to prove after their Somerset Premier Cup exit at the hands of Clevedon in the week they easily achieved it, running out 4-1 winners against the same opposition. Paul Bodin made nine changes to the side that lost 2-0 on Tuesday, including the return of Jon Holloway after his suspension, and the difference was massive as they controlled the game without ever playing particularly well. The scoring began after twenty minutes when Colbourne was held in the box and Holloway fired home the resultant penalty. If the visitors felt hard done by with that decision they only had themselves to blame five minutes later when Lester headed a Walker free kick past his own keeper. A third goal just before the break effectively finished the game as Colbourne ran onto a long ball forward, held off the defender and beat Hervin with a low shot. The second half saw Clevedon commit men forward but City dealt compentently with the limited threat, although ex-City forward MacLean was only denied by a great last ditch tackle by Towler and then saw Bibbo push his rising shot away for a corner. In between these chances Davis added City’s fourth, a great volley from a stunning Walker cross, before Milson grabbed a consolation goal in the final minute for the Seasiders. The win lifts City five places into third place and leaves Clevedon rooted the bottom of the table.
City’s Somerset Premier Cup hopes came to an end last night as an understrength side lost 2-0 to Dr Martens Premier Division rivals Clevedon Town. Featuring just Paul Bodin, Peter Tisdale, Mike Davis and Mark Harrington from the regular starting line-up Bodin once again took the opportunity to give a number of his younger players a run out. The City boss also tinkered with his strategy, playing an unusual 3-5-1-1 formation, that lead to a lot of possession without ever really threatening ex-City keeper Mark Hervin’s goal. The vital goals for the Seasiders came in the opening 27 minutes, Milsom firing home after just two minutes following Rollo’s blocked effort and Rollo himself grabbing the second when sent clear by Milsom. Without a regular striker on the pitch City rarely looked like getting back into the game although Gosling did go close just before the interval.
Back in the Dr Martens Premier Division the title race took a surprising turn last night as leaders Burton Albion crashed 2-0 to struggling Folkestone Invicta, whilst second placed Margate came away from Ilkeston with a three goal success. These results cut Nigel Clough’s sides lead to four points but they have played four more games than the Kent outfit.
It was ‘one of those days’ as City crashed to their heaviest defeat for over seven years* against a Stafford Rangers side who converted six of their eight chances to run out 6-2 winners. The game was effectively over at half time as City went in 4-1 down and reduced to 10 men following the dismissial of Mark Clode. The right-back received his marching orders for his part in disputing the award of a penalty after 34 minutes. The incident began with Towler blocking O’Connor’s goalbound shot on the line. The referee pointed to the spot despite the linesman (10 yards nearer and on the right side) signalling a corner, and then failed to even book the City captain for his automatic red card offence. Simpkin scored the penalty. City’s anger was not helped as just minutes earlier a clear hand ball in the Stafford box had been waved away, as they looked to find a way back into the game. Two goals in the opening 15 minutes, a deflected shot by O’Connor and a 25 yard free-kick by Dundas, had put the home side firmly in control. A Tisdale header after 31 minutes gave City hope but a minute later hesitation between Towler and Bibbo let in O’Connor for his second. The second half saw Rangers content to sit back and look to catch City on the break and Paul Bodin’s men dominated possession, although the bumpy pitch did not help their passing game. Stafford’s more direct approach saw them grab their fifth on 72 minutes when O’Connor completed his hat-trick, before Walker ran onto Bodin’s pass to fire the goal of the game into the roof of the net. The final minute saw City’s agony completed as Dundas low shot beat Bibbo. (*6-1 at Sutton United in the FA Trophy – February 1994, in case you’re interested)
The Extraordinary General Meeting that may decide where City play their football in the future – or even if they have a future – will take place at Twerton Park on Thursday 1 March. At the meeting, to be held in Randall’s, shareholders will be asked to vote on the proposal to sell Twerton Park to one of two unamed parties and approach Bath & North East Somerset Council and Bath RFC to play at the Recreation Ground, should the club be unable find a new ground. The sale of the ground that City have played at since 1932 will raise in excess of £4 million and is now seen as the only viable proposition to secure the future of the club. The deal may also include relocation to an unamed site – believed to be a 5-acre site on the Western edge of Bath – owned by one of the bidders. The vote requires a 75% majority, although with Corporate Equity owning half the shares if 50% of the other shareholders are in favour of the board backed move City’s future will almost certainly be away from Twerton Park.
Another meeting taking place at Twerton Park soon is the Fans Forum. Monday 19 February will see Paul Bodin, Dave Hobbs and the Board take questions from supporters – particularly those who are not shareholders, so unable to attend the EGM, although everyone is welcome. Any questions can be sent to the club in advance (with anonymity if desired) or asked on the evening. The meeting begins at 7.30pm at Charlie’s.
City finally showed the ruthless streak that has been missing against the lower sides this season, as two goals in each half gave them a 4-0 win over bottom placed Halesowen Town. The opener came after 13 minutes when Sam Allison fired home Mark Clode’s cross from 8 yards. The lead was doubled ten minutes later as Scott Walker curled home a 25 yard free kick the Yeltz keeper Quy could only palm into the roof of the net. Despite missing Mike Davis (flu), Lee Vickerman (back injury) and Jon Holloway (suspension) City were comfortably controlling the game, although Sal Bibbo did produce an excellent stop just before the interval. The vistors did have a brief promising spell in the early stages of the second half but when Allison’s low shot made it 3-0 that was game over. City completed the scoring in the final minute, Graham Colbourne turning home Jamie Gosling’s cross for his first strike since the ill-fated game against Burton in November.
City’s assistant manager Steve White has resigned, as he aims for a return to the professional game in either a managerial or coaching capacity. Chalky, who joined the club in the summer of 1998 teaming up with his former Swindon colleague Paul Bodin, has obtained a UEFA coaching badge during his time at Twerton Park. In his two and half years at Twerton Park he made 53 appearance (34 from the bench) and scored 12 goals. Whilst there has been no confirmation of a new job the 42-year old has been linked with a return to his former club Bristol Rovers, who are currently looking for a new manager following the sacking of Ian Holloway.
City’s poor run of form continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Ilkeston Town. That they even got a single point out of the game was thanks to Scott Walker producing another stunning left foot strike. The goal came five minutes before the interval, after City had trailed to a Clarke header after 28 minutes, when Walker unleashed a 25-yard dipping volley that gave Doherty no chance int the Ilson goal. City did create chances to win the game, Davis heading over from just a couple of yards out, Colbourne wasting two good openings and Harrington firing over an unguarded goal after he beat the Town offside trap, but Ilkeston also saw a free kick come back off the post as they almost stole the game in the final minutes.
City boss Paul Bodin has reacted angrily after finding out that Jon Holloway will face a misconduct charge after his sending off against Burton Albion on Saturday. Holloway will face four charges after Brewer’s secretary Tony Kirkland sent a video of the incident to the FA, even though the referee’s report made no mention of post-sending off confrontation. Bodin was further incensed as the league leaders were informed of the development several hours before City, saying, “We received a fax at 4.48 telling us that there was a charge. There’s a video and that is on its way to us now. Burton’s chairman was apparently upset about it and they felt they needed to send that video in. But we’re very disappointed that they’ve received a letter saying there’s a charge whereas we’ve received a fax much later on. This concerns our player, it’s nothing to do with Burton.” He also added, “It’s difficult to know what Burton are trying to get out of it. Jon knows he did wrong and got his punishment [three matches]. Probably 99 per cent of grounds in this league don’t video matches, but Burton video all their games. If there had been a video at our match against Welling, I might have had my sending-off reduced.”
Jon Holloway has been handed a three match ban following his red card against Burton Albion on Saturday, but looks set to have escaped further punishment for his subsequent attack on Christian Moore. The ex-Gloucester City man looked set to face a hefty ban after he ran 20 yards to aim another blow at Moore, after the referee had sent him off for an off-the-ball incident with the same player, but the report made no mention of the episode. Holloway, whose has also been disciplined by the club for his actions, will miss the league clashes with Halesowen and Stafford, and the Somerset Premier Cup quarter-final against Clevedon.
City have appealed to their fans to help catch theives who broke into the club shop earlier this week and stole around £500 worth of merchandise. In the break-in, the third in the last six weeks, over 30 replica shirts were taken plus boxes of hats and scarves. The club are asking people to be on the look out for anyone selling these items and report any information to the police on 01275 818181 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.