City received an unexpected boost with the news that in-form Andy Williams has committed himself to the club for another season. It was expected that the former Southampton winger would be leaving Twerton Park in the summer to begin a career in the Police Force but following a change of plans he will now take his City career into a third season, at least. No doubt this news will lead to Chippenham Town sniffing around him but that’s a cross every City player has to bear at the moment.
Alan Pridham’s long search for a new striker has finally succeeded with the signing of Barry Town’s Dave Toomey. The 31-year old former Tiverton Town front man has made the switch from the current League of Wales champions on a free transfer deal until the end of the season. The capture of Toomey became more important with the news that last season’s top scorer Adrian Foster has suffered a further setback in his battle for fitness. Following an operation on his troublesome achilles Foster had hoped to be back in action earlier this month but further problems mean he may not feature again this season.
One day before the final deadline the Bath City Society has reached it target of £235,000 to buy back control of the club from majority shareholder Corporate Equity. The final £3000 was donated by Gloucester City chairman Colin Gardner following publicity for the appeal on BBC Points West last night. The paperwork to finalise the deal will be completed during the next week and by Friday 7 February Bath City CF will be truely in the hands of its supporters.
Former Newcastle United and Watford defender Jason Drysdale has left City to join up permanently with Western Division side Mangotsfield United. In common with Ellis Wilmot, Jason has spent the last two months on loan at Cossham Street and has made the switch on a free.
An entertaining game yesterday saw City return over the Severn Bridge with a creditable 1-1 draw against in-form Newport County. Frankie Bennett continued to excel in his emergency striking role to give City a 24th minute lead, converting from close range after a neat passing move involving Jason Eaton and Jamie Gosling had torn the County defences to shreds. The home side levelled five minutes before the break when substitute Plant’s shot beat Mark Bryant via a post. City’s keeper had come to his sides rescue twice in the opening five minutes but after weathering this storm City gained the upper hand for the remainder of the half. The second half continued in this vein and Gosling and Bennett both went close to restoring City’s advantage. The game saw Newport finish stronger, twice in the closing minutes Bryant produced further good saves, and a draw was probably the fair result.
A meeting held at Twerton Park this evening heard that the attempt to buy back control of Bath City FC has moved to within £15,000 of it’s target. An agreement with majority shareholder Keith Foster has seen the required amount needed by buy his holding reduced to £235,000 which leaves the Supporters Society needing to raise £15,000 by the 31 January deadline. The meeting saw at least another £3,500 pledged and if you wish to help acheive this final target contact the club on (01225) 423087.
City defender Gary Kemp has received a two match ban following his sending off in the 4-2 victory over Folkestone Invicta on Saturday.
And Drew Shore, who scored in the victory, has signed a contract to the end of the season. The former Bristol Rovers midfielder had been on a week to week deal but following financial assistance from the Supporters Club he has been offered a permanent deal.
City made hard work of beating relegation bound Folkestone Invicta at Cheriton Road yesterday and it was only the sending off of captain Gary Kemp with the game balanced at 2-2 that finally seemed to wake them up. Twice Frankie Bennett drew City level with powerful finishes after Invicta lead through Tait and Miller. When Kemp was dismissed in the 65th minute for a second booking it gave the Kent side a great chance of recording their first home league victory of the season. However, a trademark Andy Williams run on 73 minutes saw him fire City in front and six minutes later Drew Shore bettered this goal with a stunning strike from 25 yards to seal the win that lifts the side up to 10th place.
As part of the continuing financial cutbacks at the club it has been decided to scrap the post of Commercial Operations Executive. As a result Dave Edler will be leaving the club after the Hednesford Town game on February 2nd. The club will not be appointing a new Bars Manager – Quentin Edwards will take over existing responsibilities. Andy Weeks will remain as City Sweep Manager and Sue Gillard remains as Catering Manager. The club will be advertising a new position of Commercial Manager, on more commission based terms, next week.
The visit of Hastings United, postponed last Saturday due to the frozen Twerton Park pitch, has be rearranged for Tuesday 4 March with a 7.45pm kick off.
Loan striker Matt Lewis has returned to Kidderminster Harriers after a relatively unsuccessful spell with City. Lewis made just two starting appearances plus three more from the bench and didn’t score. He did win a penalty against Welling, though. Which we missed.
City’s penalty curse struck again last night as their second string side bowed out of the Les Phillips Cup in a shoot out against Hallen at Twerton Park. The match finished 1-1 after extra time – City’s goal coming from Tony Quoi – but spot kick misses by Simon Gilbert and Simeon Allison (Mike Trought and Mike Burns were more successful) saw Hallen through 4-2.
Midfielder Iain Harvey has escaped a possible 3 match ban for comments directed at referee Trevor Kettlee following the FA Cup clash with Yeovil Town. Harvey was reported as calling the official ‘a clown’ after he sent him off but the FA have only warned him to, “in future take care of what you say and to whom”.
Midfielder Ellis Wilmot has made a permanent move to Mangotsfield United after spending two months on loan at Cossham Street. Despite interest from Chippenham Town (shock, horror!) the former Team Bath player choose the Western Division side over the Bluebirds. And following the premature story last week that Andy Tilson had joined City the ex-Bristol Rovers defender definitely won’t be switching to Twerton Park after taking up a player-coach role at Team Bath.
Not surprisingly tomorrows match with Hastings United has been postponed due to a frozen pitch at Twerton Park. A pitch inspection at 4.00pm today found the surface still frozen following a week of sub-zero temperatures and with no change forcast for tonight the decision to cancel the game was made immediately. A new date will be arranged in due course.
City’s latest attempt to bolster their squad has ended in failure after Celtic and Scotland international midfielder Alan Thompson turned down a lucrative offer to switch from the current Scottish champions to a life in the lower reaches of the Dr Martens Premier Division. The former Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers star met Alan Pridham on the neutral territory of Dubai – where the City boss is away on business and the Buoys are spending their mid-season break – and discussed a deal over a few drinks. Surprisingly, despite offering 29-year Thompson £150 per week they couldn’t agree personal terms and his next outing will be in a friendly against Feyenoord at Celtic Park rather than against Hastings United at Twerton.
City boss Alan Pridham has been banned from the touchline for three matches after being found guilty of misconduct by the FA. The charge of using foul and abusive language toward referee Alison Chapman followed the 1-0 defeat against Tiverton Town at Twerton in November. The game saw the Reading based official dismiss Paul Milsom and turn down a penalty appeals when Dan Cleverley was felled late on and Pridham confronted her at the final whistle. Despite Pridham – currently in Dubai on business – strenuously denying swearing at Ms Chapman the FA found him guilty and he will be forced to watch the clashes with Folkestone, Newport and Hednesford from the stands.
Two further disciplinary matters involving City – that supporters swore and spat at Ms Chapman after the same match and comments made by midfielder Iain Harvey about referee Trevor Kettle folloing the FA Cup clash against Yeovil Town – have yet to be dealt with by the FA.
Contrary to a story on the Non League Paper website today City have not signed former Bristol Rovers centre-back Andy Tilson in any capacity. The 36-year old, who retired from full-time football in November 2002 due to persistant back troubles following six months with Third Division side Rushden & Diamonds, had been linked with City due to living in Bath but the club confirmed that he has not joined either as a player or part of the coaching staff.
City’s trip to Weymouth will now take place on Tuesday 25 March 2003 (ko 7.45pm) following the postponement of the original New Years day clash.
In typical Moor Green style the Birmingham side grabbed a late goal to deny City a deserved win at Twerton Park this afternoon. Whilst not on the daylight robbery scale as the injury time goal that gave the Moors victory in the first clash between the sides earlier in the season the 88th minute goal by Martin that cancelled out Jason Eaton’s low shot that squirmed away from Moors keeper Rachel after 51 minutes was harsh on the home side. City were good value for the lead given them through Eaton’s 15th goal of the season and he should have scored again when clean through midway through the second half. The visitors only response was a dreadful miss by an unmarked Woodley just before half time before a corner two minutes from time fell kindly for Martin to blast into the roof of the net.
The new year has begun in the same way as the old with City’s planned Dr Martens Premier Division clash postponed. In 2002 it was a frozen Twerton Park pitch that stopped Newport IOW travelling to the mainland whereas this time the recent heavy rain has left Weymouth’s Wessex Stadium pitch waterlogged. The rearranged date soon as I get it.