Hereford FC (0) 1 Bath City (2) 2 – Saturday 7 August 2021 – Pre-Season Friendly – Edgar Street

Hereford FC (0) 1 Bath City (2) 2 – Saturday 7 August 2021 – Pre-Season Friendly – Edgar Street

Match Report by Mark Stillman

Mo Touray claimed a goal and assist as Bath City wrapped up a promising pre-season with a win at National League North outfit Hereford.

The on-loan forward capitalised on a rush of blood from opposition goalkeeper Brandon Hall to give City the lead just past the half hour and his telling pass on a counter allowed Cody Cooke to notch a second four minutes before the interval.

Afghanistan international Maziar Kouhyar pulled one back for the Bulls on 52 minutes but they couldn’t find another, allowing City to confirm a sixth away win from six friendlies this summer.

“No points are won in pre-season,” reminded Jerry Gill. “All that’s won is confidence, building relationships and patterns.

“At the moment we look like we’ve got a good group. The players have put a lot of work into pre-season but everyone is playing their part – that’s the joy.

“Hereford are a very good side. They’re well organised with some threats. We had long spells of games where we didn’t have the ball but you’re not going to be able to control games all the time.”

City appeared to have control in the first half with the FA Trophy finalists looking disjointed fielding a starting XI with three trialists and no shirt numbers across the squad. Aside from Luke Haines hammering wide from distance they posed little threat to Ryan Clarke’s goal in the opening 45.

The Romans took the lead on 33 minutes. Jack Batten’s ball down the right saw Hall charge off his line and attempt to clear, but he fired the ball against Touray and it rebounded kindly for the striker who slotted away from an acute angle.

“It’s quite a basic goal but it’s finished with some individual brilliance,” said Gill. “Mo Touray hasn’t even trained with us yet but the two times he’s played he’s looked really exciting.”

Eight minutes later the lead was doubled in a move started in the City penalty area when Callum Wood headed Ryan McLean’s dangerous cross away straight into the path of Touray.

The former Newport man strode into space and threaded the ball through to Cooke, who kept his composure to tuck away his seventh goal of pre-season.

“The second goal epitomised what we’re about,” Gill stated. “We kept a good shape defensively, won it back and have numbers running forward. Without bodies running forward you can’t score that type of goal.

“Cody’s run splitting their defence was fantastic. The weight of the ball into him was very good and he finished with aplomb with the keeper narrowing the angle.”

Alex Fletcher squandered a chance to make it three before the break when dazzling footwork by Touray by the byline preceded a low centre which his strike partner connected with but fired against the fortunate Hall.

The hosts improved after the break. After Ben Gerring swiveled and shot wide for City, Hereford pulled one back when Tom Owen-Evans’ hanging cross saw substitute Kouhyar escape Wood at the far post to nod home from close range.

Clarke had to be alert to deny McLean after a long ball was flicked into his path, and comfortably held Owen-Evans’ 20-yarder which took a nick off Eddie Jones.

Elliott Frear’s goalbound daisy cutter was blocked by Jared Hodgkiss as the Romans looked to make the game safe.

Ryan Lloyd miscued horribly wide after Clarke had spilled Kouhyar’s shot from distance and a superb interception from substitute Joe Raynes prevented McLean in the dying stages to help preserve a victory for the away side.

With six wins, a draw and two defeats it’s been a promising month for Gill’s men ahead of the National League South campaign, with the nine matches containing 40 goals, one more than the club’s 13 league matches in last season’s aborted campaign.

Att: n/a

City’s LIne-Up: Clarke (c), Jones (Raynes 80), Wood, Holness (Richards 80), Batten, Gerring (Ball 63), Touray (Harley 77), Fletcher, Cooke, T Smith (James 85), Frear. Sub not used: Fuller.

Scorers: City – Touray (33), Cooke (39); Hereford – Kouhyar (51)

City Bookings: Batten (89)

Officials: n/a