City’s moves to sign Scott Rogers have been put on hold while his current club Forest Green Rovers overcome a midfield injury crisis. With Adrian Harris out for a further three weeks following his knee operation and Jon Holloway struggling to overcome a groin problem, City are short of midfield options and saw the 26-year old former Tiverton Town player as an ideal replacement. However, with Forest Green Rovers also light on midfield cover they are refusing to release Rogers.
City will hold their latest Supporters Club arranged Meet the Manager Evening on Tuesday 14 March. The event will be held at Twerton Park in Charlie’s beginning at 7.30pm and, in addition to boss John Relish and his assistant Adie Britten, City supporters will also have the opportunity to put any questions to chairman Geoff Todd and his fellow board members.
A second half winner from Dave Peters was enough to send City to the top of the league at windswept Taunton on Saturday. Ali Belcher’s youngsters gave a battling display during a difficult game at Richard Huish College. City’s back line again looked very solid and it was the basis for this hard fought victory with central defenders John Locke and Tom Parsons combining well to shut out any threat. Kane Ingram and Mitchell Knott looked dangerous and City came close on a number of occasions but Richard Huish were saved by some good defending and the goalpost. It wasn’t until the 35th minute that City went ahead but it was well worth waiting for as Mitchell Knott unleashed a 25-yard strike that flew into the roof of the net. The lead was short lived as Simon Hancock was caught unawares and gave away a penalty four minutes later. Eddie Quelch’s dive was in vain as the home side levelled from the spot kick. A half time scoreline of 1-1 looked tough on City as they began the second half against the wind but they stu to their tasks and were the better team for long spells creating several good openings. The introduction of substitutes Rupert Mall and Theo Sellasie were a boost to City and they began to force Richard Huish into conceding corners and throw-ins deep into their own half. It was a long throw from Jack Mitchell that was helped on by Locke that saw Peters arrive and volley past the keeper to seal the victory. Assistant Manager Nigel Ashworth said afterward, “Richard Huish were hard to beat today and the wind was a bit of a leveller, but the lads stuck to their jobs and although it wasn’t pretty at times we always tried to play football and got what we deserved.”
City made it five wins out five in February with a routine 2-0 victory over Merthyr Tydfil at Twerton Park this afternoon. The Martyrs can normally be relied upon to put up a spirited battle but this time they rolled over with barely a whimper and once City went ahead after 22 minutes there was only likely to ever be one winner. The goal came from Jon Holloway against his former side when an attempted clearance rebounded off him into the net. Four minutes after the break another piece of sloppy defending gifted possession to Andy Sandell. He still had a lot of work to do but raced past two defenders before clipping the ball past Morris in the Welsh side’s goal. After this City were content, like usual, to let their second best league defence see out the win and with Merthyr a pale shadow of their usual selves this never looked in doubt.
Chris Holland has swapped a place on the bench watching promotion chasing City for a battle to avoid slipping out the Southern League Premier Division at the other end with Gloucester City, joining the struggling Tigers on a month loan deal. The 25-year old has already spent ten weeks on loan at Weston Super Mare but since returning from Woodspring Park in January he has been unable to find a way into City’s starting XI.
Bath City Youth were back in business yesterday after a fine performance against local rivals Filton College Academy with City giving debuts to a handful of new players, two of whom got on the scoresheet. City started nervously but were defending well enough to shut out a strong Filton attack. Leading goalscorer Kane Ingram was well placed to head home City’s first from a Mark Branton corner on 19 minutes but Filton hit back soon after when Eddie Quelch failed to hold on to a weak shot from Theo Tonkin. City enjoyed a lot of possession and it was Ingram who cleverly earned himself a penalty after he jinxed his way into the penalty box only to be fouled before he could shoot for goal. He made no mistake with the spot kick and took City into a half time 2-1 lead. The second half began in the same fashion with City creating good opportunities but they couldn’t seem to convert them into goals. On 56 minutes debutant John Locke latched on to an Ingram free kick to score from close range and make it 3-1. After dominating the remainder of the game new striker Mitchell Knott came off the bench to notch his first goal for City with ten minutes remaining to complete a fine 4-1 victory.
Overturning a half-time deficit City recorded their fourth successive narrow victory by two goals to one against Cirencester Town this afternoon. The opening 45 minutes saw City produce one of their poorest performances of the season and the hosts fully deserved to lead although in slightly controversial circumstances. There was no doubt that Paul Evans tripped Griffin to concede a penalty but it appeared he was several yards offside before racing into the area. However, Arndale sent Evans the wrong way from the spot and Cirencester were ahead. After the break City finally began to impose themselves on the game and on 56 minutes they won a penalty of their own when Scott Partridge was tripped in the box. With Partridge and Andy Sandell having missed both of City’s spot kicks this season Tony Bird stepped up and, despite Thompson getting a hand to the ball, drew City level. An farcical piece of refereeing, overuling an offside flag from his assistant, preceded a spell of pressure from Town but this came to end when City went ahead on 65 minutes. A long ball forward dropped over Cirencester’s defence and was brought down superbly by Partridge. He then held off a defender before lifting a perfect shot over Thompson. After this City defended their advantage with few scares and the afternoon was capped nicely by the last minute booking of Adie Harris that will see him serve a suspension during his recovery from a knee operation. The win lifts City to fourth place and opens a nine point gap on 6th place Banbury United.
City gave themselves a six-point cushion in the race for the play-offs with another narrow victory, this time over Aylesbury United at Twerton Park last night. The visitors, finding a City defence on a rare off night, showed an excellent battling spirit but were undone by two moments of quality football from Tony Bird and Craig Davidge. The first half saw City go ahead on 22 minutes when Scott Partridge turned Andy Sandell’s mis-hit shot home. United levelled eight minutes later when a mix-up between Jim Rollo and Matt Coupe allowed Butler a shooting chance. Paul Evans parried the shot but Gutzmore made no mistake with the follow-up. Bird and Partridge went close to restoring City’s advantage before the interval but City struggled to maintain this pressure into the second half. This was forgotten on 58 minutes when Bird fired in a speculative shot from wide on the right touchline some 15 yards in the Aylesbury half that flew over a stunned Kirk into the net. Ten minutes after this substitute Davidge collected the ball just inside the City half and set off on a run that left three United defenders trailing in his wake and finished with a pass that Bird fired past Kirk. Still the Ducks wouldn’t lie down and Gutzmore grabbed his second goal with a close range header a minute later. Bridge then flashed a drive narrowly wide before City finally got a grip on the game to see out time, with only the width of the post denying Partridge late on.
City boss John Relish was involved in an angry altercation with a supporter after the final whistle of last nights 3-2 victory over Aylesbury United. Relish confronted the fan who he claims had been abusing the side during the whole of the match and defended his actions, saying, “We’ve got a good support base but there’s a tiny minority that are very negative to what we’re trying to achieve here and some of the abuse is beyond what we should accept.” Assistant manager Adie Britten added, “A lot of the time it’s unfounded too. Tonight we brought Phil Walsh off. It was doubtful whether we’d start him because of a hamstring problem. He comes off and certain people behind us shout a torrent of abuse. Even when we explain to them about the injury they’re still abusive. What’s it all about? It’s crazy. We’re happy to talk but to be that abusive and not talk about it is ridiculous.”
It is Saturday afternoon, it is Twerton Park, so it is time once again for City to make hard work of winning a match that they should have had sewn up by half-time. This time it was mid-table Hitichin Town who were given hope of rescuing a point, despite going behind in the opening minute and being reduced to 10 men before half-time, until Scott Partridge struck the winning goal with 16 minutes remaining to register his 50th strike in black and white. City got off to the perfect start when, with less then two minutes gone, Tony Bird headed home after Partridge’s shot had come back off the bar. With Andy Sandell back in the side City looked consistently threatening but as so often the case this season they couldn’t increase their lead. On 37 minutes the visitors were then reduced to 10 men when Jaggard received a straight red for elbowing Matt Coupe. However, 20 minutes into the second half Hayes scrambled home an equaliser and it looked as if two more points were slipping away. To their credit though City upped a gear after this and their best ten minute spell of the game culminated with Partridge’s close range finish from Bird’s cross. Partridge and Craig Davidge had chances to increase the lead after this but in typical fashion City had to settle for another narrow goal victory.
City have suffered an mini-injury crisis ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Hitchin Town. Scott Partridge (toe), Jim Rollo (bruised leg) and Paul Evans (ankle) are all struggling to make the vital league game. More serious, though ironically he will be available for the game, is Adie Harris. He has been playing through a cartilage injury in his left knee for several weeks and is booked in for surgery on 20 February. However, the injury is unrelated to the one that sidelined him for nearly the whole of last season and he should be back in action within four weeks.
Andy Williams is to continue his rehabilitation with a spell with Southern League Western Division side Swindon Supermarine. The midfielder has been playing for Western League Division 1 Bradford Town for the last month after recovering from the knee injury that sidelined him for 18 months. The 2002-03 player of the year has had no adverse reaction to his return to action and will hope the step up in standard will hasten his comeback to City’s first team.
City continued to grind out positive results with a single goal victory over Chesham United at Amy Lane this afternoon. The decisive strike came after 36 minutes when Phillip Walsh fired home at the second attempt. This gave City a deserved advantage at the interval but after the break they failed to build on this lead and as the game progressed the struggling home side got more into the game. City had several nervous moments but Chesham’s momentum seemed to be halted when their keeper had to receive lengthy treatment following a clash with Tony Bird 12 minutes from time. He continued but City had regrouped and were rarely threatened after this, although rather than pushing for a second goal they were content to hold on to their slim lead.
Ken Loach is very kindly putting on a Gala screening of his latest film ‘TICKETS’ to raise funds for the Supporters Society and therefore Bath City FC. It’s on Friday, 24 Feb in RANDALL’S, with doors (and bar) opening at 7pm. After the film, Ken will lead a discussion about the film. This promises to be very popular and has excited a lot of interest from the Bath Film Society and the University Film Club. Tickets are £10, but students and members of the Supporters Club can get them for £7. Available from the club, and credit/debit cards accepted. For a review of the film go to www.channel4.com.