City inability to produce the same level of performance against struggling teams as when they they meet the better sides was evident again last night – a woeful showing against Tamworth ending in a deserved 3-1 defeat. In fact the defeat could have been even heavier as the home sides spurned a hatful of chances, as they adapted to the difficult conditions much better than City. Of the City players only Sal Bibbo came out of the match with any credit, producing a number of fine stops before he was finally beaten ten minutes before the break by Hallem’s skidding shot. City did briefly give their band of travelling supporters hope shortly after the break when Martin Paul turned a Jimmy Fraser cross home but two minutes later Mills’ shot put the hosts back in front. With an understandably subdued Jon Holloway looking lost in the midfield and Paul Bodin having a shocking game, he replaced himself with Sam Allison around the hour mark, City never looked like getting back in the game and Tamworth completed their win when they scored their third with the last kick of the game.
City have lost one of their most promising prospects to local rivals Clevedon Town – Graham MacLean heading to the Hand Stadium on a free transfer. The 18-year old striker made a flying start to the season following an impressive pre-season campaign but has found his first team opportunites limited recently as Paul Bodin has used Sam Allison as cover for his first choice pairing of Martin Paul and Graham Colbourne. MacLean turned down an approach from the Seasiders early this season but following a second inquiry requested a move to Steve Fey’s relegation threatened side.
Arriving at Twerton Park is central midfielder Steve McClay. The Warminster based 19-year old has been playing college football in the USA and approached Bodin on his return to this country following a successful pre-season trial at City.
City put another dent in Burton Albion’s faltering title hopes as they came away from Eton Park with a point in an incident packed 2-2 draw. Having twice led, only for Nigel Clough’s men to pull level, City would have hoped for an even better result, but having also had to play the last seven minutes with 10 men, in the end, they had to settle for a point. The dismissal came when Jon Holloway felled Albion’s two-goal hero Moore in an off the ball incident. The altercation was spotted by the linesman and Holloway then compounded the situation by running 20 yards to aim another blow at Moore following his red card. This all happened after City had taken the game to the league leaders. Kevin Lloyd’s goal, following Paul’s flick from a Bodin cross, had given City the lead after 29 minutes. Burton levelled 13 minutes after the break, Moore tapping home after Bibbo had parried Glasser’s shot. Eight minutes later City regained the lead when Towler fired through a crowed goalmouth after shakey keeper Duke had spilled Bodin’s centre. This advantage only lasted 30 seconds before Moore again capitalised on a fortunate bounce from a blocked Stride effort. This was the end of the scoring, although following Holloway’s departure, Albion did twice go close to grabbing a winner that would have been hard on City, to say the least.
City allowed another two points to slip away as they conceded an injury-time header to Merthyr Tydfil, the Twerton Park clash finishing one goal each. In a repeat of the early season meeting at Penydarren Park, where City allowed the Welsh side an equaliser eight minutes into stoppage time, it was well beyond the 90th minute when Perry rose about the City defence to head powerfully past Bibbo. In truth, it was no less than the visitors deserved as they capitalised on a City performance that fell away as the game progressed. The first period has seen City dominate and deserved lead through Mark Harrington’s header, his first strike of the season, after 20 minutes. However, apart from a Mike Davis shot and Martin Paul header, City failed to threaten the Merthyr goal in the second period. The draw puts even more importance on next weeks trip to league leaders Burton Albion, if City are to keep alive their fading league hopes.
Prior to the game City’s supporters team recorded their first ever victory, running out 4-2 winners over their Merthyr counterparts. On a frozen University pitch City twice lead through goals from Fraser Colebrook and James Weaver, only for the Welsh side to pull the game level. With the match looking to heading for a draw City stunned the visitors with two strikes from debutant Paul Hill, the first a dipping 20-yard shot and then one from closer range after he had beaten three players and rounded the keeper.
City’s young reserve keeper Liam Bull has been choosen to represent the England Under-18 schoolboy team on a tour to Malaysia and Singapore next month. The call-up for the 17-year old follows a successful trial at the FA School of Excellence at Lilleshall last weekend, and will see him join the 16-man squad on January 26 before heading on the nine-day tour. Bull has already featured three time for City’s first team this season, including last weeks defeat at Newport County where despite conceding five goals he also made a number of excellent blocks.
The Official Yeovil Town web page has reported that Barrington Belgrave is to take no further action over the alleged racist abuse he received in Saturday’s FA Trophy clash at Huish Park. This follows a meeting with Yeovil manager Colin Addison and chairman John Fry, in which it was decided that the clubs would discuss the situation but no complaint would be made to the FA.
On the field Paul Bodin could have the luxury of a full squad to pick from for this coming Saturday’s league clash with Merthyr Tydfil. He has now completed his five-match ban, so is once again available, and with Mark Clode and Phil King playing a full 90 minutes for the Reserves in the defeat at Warminster, the City boss has no injury or suspension problems. Prior to this match City’s supporters team makes it first appearance of the season, taking on their Welsh counterparts. The game takes place at the University with a 10.30 kick-off.
City can consider themselves desperately unlucky after two goals in the space of three second half minutes condemned them to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of local rivals Yeovil Town. The double blow came after they had been headed into a 49th minute lead by Martin Paul. The goal, from a Mike Davis cross, had been no more than City deserved as they matched the Conference leaders in every area of the field, but with just 20 minutes remaining the game turned in favour of the home side. First, Way’s low shot was deflected past a stranded Bibbo and then three minutes later Patmore found space down the right and his cross was headed home by Bent at the far post. City tried to battle back but couldn’t find a way through the Glovers defence again, although Fraser and Paul both had chances to give City the draw their performance warranted. The final whistle saw City’s 500 travelling fans give the players a great reception and left them to reflect on what might have been.
Even the debut of ex-Aston Villa star Phil King couldn’t prevent City exiting the Dr Martens Cup as they were beaten 5-0 by Newport County. With the FA Trophy clash against Yeovil just three days ahead Paul Bodin rested his entire first choice eleven and a near full strength County side took full advantage, racing into a three goal lead by half-time despite playing into strong wind, Shepherd grabbing the first two goals and Donovan adding a third. Two second half goals from Bale completed the scoring and but for a series of excellent saves by keeper Bull the score could have been greater. On a positive note, aside from the appearance of King, Mark Clode returned after 2 months on the sidelines with a knee injury and Jamie Gosling turned in another promising performance on his first senior start.
Following a run of just 2 defeats in the last 15 games, that has seen Bath City Reserves climb to third place in the table, manager Dave Hobbs has been named as Screwfix Direct League Division One manager of the month for November/December.
Tonight sees a meeting that could determine whether City shareholders will shortly be given the opportunity to vote on the future of Twerton Park. The monthly board meeting will once again face the decision of whether or not to propose the sale of Twerton Park as a means of repaying the debt of £400,000 that continues to threaten the existence of the club.
Having finally ended an eight month delay since their last away win at Clevedon on Boxing Day, City only had to wait for another 12 days to record another successful trip from Twerton as a goal in each half from Colin Towler and Martin Paul gave them a 2-0 win over Folkestone Invicta. The two goals were scant reward for a City performance that could easily have yielded a much larger victory, as their passing game continually stretched the limited home side. The opening goal came after just 4 minutes, Towler firing home Walker’s corner from close-range, and Paul then grabbed his 15th strike of the season, heading in Harrington’s cross on 53 minutes. Folkestone’s only response came in a series of crude challenges, and they were very fortunate to only receive one red card, Larkin for a second booking after a tangle with Colbourne, although manager Cugley was also sent from the dugout. Ponsford could (should?) have gone for a two-footed lunge at Fraser in the first-half and Chambers’ was lucky to escape at least a booking for a challenge on Bibbo that saw the keeper need lengthy treatment. On the rare occasion Invicta attempted to play football they found Bibbo continue his recent excellent form, twice saving from close range, recording his fourth successive clean-sheet in the process.
City have arranged their two outstanding league matches against Dorchester and Tamworth. The Magpies will visit Twerton Park on Tuesday 27 March and City will travel to The Lamb Ground on Tuesday 30 Janaury.
Geoff Warren, City’s groundsman, has left the club to return to one of his former employers Swindon Town. Warren, who joined his former clubmate Paul Bodin at Twerton Park in 1998, has left the club with one of the best pitches in the Dr Martens League. The club will annouce a repalcement in the next couple of weeks.
City kept their unbeaten home record intact, and recorded their third clean sheet in a row, but had to settle for a single point in a goalless draw with Weymouth at Twerton Park this afternoon. And for the third successive match it was keeper Sal Bibbo who produced a series of excellent stops that denied the visitors. With top scorer Martin Paul missing through suspension City struggled to break down the Terras solid five-man rearguard, although Davis and Tisdale did see efforts fly narrowly wide and Walker’s well struck shot tested Weymouth keeper Potter. The point keeps City in ninth place, eleven points behind new league leaders Margate. They took over top spot from Burton Albion following their 3-2 win over City’s next opponents Folkestone, and the Brewers 2-1 defeat at Ilkeston.