Gloucester City (2) 3 Bath City (0) 1 – Saturday 23 July 2022 – Pre-Season Friendly – TigerTurf Stadium
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Off-colour Bath City fell to defeat at National League North outfit Gloucester City at the Tigerturf Stadium.
Jerry Gill was without Jordan Dyer, Dan Greenslade and Tom Smith having all contracted a sickness bug which meant a first start for new loan signing Zac Bell in a back three.
The defensive re-shuffle was exploited three times by the hosts, whose side was heavily packed with trialists.
Former Gloucester forward Scott Wilson nicked a consolation late on with a superb strike but it was too little too late.
The match felt like a support act for the day’s Flood, Sweat and Beers beer festival to highlight 15 years since Meadow Park had been destroyed by the devastating deluge in the county.
Those home fans concentrating on the match would have been impressed with the Tigers’ start, as only a brave Kieran Parselle block prevented Matt McClure from testing Joe Wright early on.
McClure, who netted twice in a friendly at Twerton Park 364 days previous, curled off target before their efforts were rewarded with a goal on 20 minutes.
In what appeared to be a training ground routine for a corner, Tommy O’Sullivan’s low ball was fired towards goal by a trialist with Dan Leadbitter appearing to get the final touch at the far post.
City responded well to the setback. Alex Fletcher capitalised on a rare error by Kennedy Digie as he turned the defender following a slip, but the centre-back did enough to deflect his strike wide.
Chris Lines fed Wilson through down the left but his first time strike was too close to the Gloucester trialist stopper.
Gloucester doubled their advantage two minutes before the break. Jack James picked the ball up from a trialist and cut inside of Parselle before his left-footed shot was too venomous for Wright, who couldn’t get across to his left in time as the ball whizzed inside his near post.
The Romans were denied a goal just after half-time as Dan Hayfield’s goalbound shot struck Wilson in an offside position, with Parselle’s finish afterwards academic.
Instead the hosts wrapped up the win on 67 minutes when O’Sullivan stood up a cross for Tre Mitford, whose header was initially blocked by Wright but he had time to capitalise on the rebound and thump the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs.
The exposed City keeper denied a trialist a minute later with the City defence struggling to cope with the fresh legs introduced by home boss Lee Mansell. A last-ditch interception from half-time substitute Tommy Backwell prevented Mitford a certain fourth.
City switched to a 4-3-3 for the final 15 minutes and it paid dividends with a fine goal.
Fletcher’s flick down the left was collected by Wilson who cut inside and superbly bent the ball into the bottom corner past Liam Armstrong from 18 yards to draw applause from all four sides of the ground.
It sparked a City rally as they enjoyed swathes of possession in the closing stages but the Gloucester defence stood firm with Leadbitter’s timely block preventing Wilson a second after smart play from Fletcher.
The Romans couldn’t find another way through as they suffered only their second defeat this summer.
City’s Line-Up: Wright, Batten, Parselle (c), Fletcher, Spokes, Frear, Bell, Lines, Wilson, Hayfield, Trialist A (Backwell HT). Subs not used: Trialist B, Jaiyeoba, Mannings, Trialist C.
Scorers: City – Wilson (80); Gloucester – Trialist (20), James (41), Mitford (66)
City Bookings: Spokes (45)
Referee: James Tewson