City have further strengthened their squad, both in numbers and experience, with the signature of former Cardiff City and Hereford United defender Kevin Lloyd. The 29-year old, who has featured in all of City’s pre-season friendlies, has agreed to a one year contract.
City have revealed that moves are still continuing to relocate from Twerton Park, with four sites around the edge of Bath being considered for a new ground. The sites are the Stothert & Pitt sports ground on the Lower Bristol Road, Fullers Earth site at Odd Down, Bath University and Bath rugby’s training ground at Lambridge. City chairman Steve Hall has also revealed that the club has been involved in talks with the rugby club, although any ground sharing deal has been ruled out due to the different requirements of the clubs, with closer ties between the sides a possibility.
City have played two more friendlies with teams comprising youth and fringe 1st teams players. A side featuring Nicky Brooks went down 2-1 at Paulton Rovers on Tuesday, with City’s goal coming from Mark Shields, and last night drew 0-0 at Melksham Town. Last nights game saw Colin Towler, Steve White, Rob Skidmore, Peter Tisdale and Lee Vickerman play their first complete games of the pre-season, although star of the game was City keeper Lee Watts.
City’s final home pre-season friendly ended in embarrassing fashion as six second half goals saw them lose by eight goals to three against second division Cardiff City. The Welsh side began the goal spree after 5 minutes but City then raced into a 3-1 lead, with strikes from Martin Paul, Mark Harrington and Mike Davis. Cardiff pulled a goal back before the interval, and then the flood came, with Jason Bowen (4 goals) and Willie Boland (3 goals) scoring almost at will. Quite what Paul Bodin will make of tonights show remains to be seen, but even he will struggle to find any positives out of it.
In scorching sunshine at Twerton Park City suffered their second defeat in the space of four days at the hands of a Bristol club, this time a 2-0 reverse against ex-tenants Bristol Rovers. The two goals came in the closing 15 minutes, first from the penalty spot, Michael Meaker sending Elliot Jackson the wrong way, and then a second from a fine shot by Frankie Bennett. Up until this point City had had the better of the game without ever looking particularly threatening, although had this not been a friendly they would have been a man up after Rovers keeper handled outside his area. In the first period City created a number of chances but couldn’t find the opening goal. Martin Paul was denied by a last ditch tackle and also sent a header wide when well placed. And Jimmy Fraser, playing up front in the place of the otherwise engaged Colbourne, should have done better than drag a shot wide after being put clear by Mike Davis. With the new signings again performing well it wasn’t all doom and gloom, and the 960 crowd seemed to enjoy their afternoon in the sun. City complete their home friendlies on Tuesday against Cardiff City, before the open day at Twerton Park next Sunday (full details to follow).
City’s second pre-season friendly ended in defeat but only after a late goal gave a young Bristol City side a 3-2 victory at Twerton Park. A heavier defeat looked on the cards as the visitors scored twice in the opening 10 minutes, both goals coming from Meacham. However, a deflected Fidell Richards shot pulled a goal back before half-time to get City back into the game. City drew level shortly into the second half when Jimmy Fraser volleyed home superbly, and for a spell they looked the likelier to grab the winner, but five minutes from time a unmarked finish at the far post by Pinamonte gave Bristol the victory. The biggest cheer of the night, from another impressive pre-season crowd of 712, came with the introduction of former City captain Nicky Brooks after 15 months out injured, and with two tackles within minutes of his arrival it looked as if he’d never been away.
City began their pre-season preparations in perfect style defeating Division One Swindon Town at Twerton Park tonight. With new faces Elliot Jackson, Jon Holloway and Mark Clode, plus trialist Kevin Lloyd, all turning in impressive debuts, it was a promising performance in every respect. The two goals both came from Graham Colbourne, the first a cool finish after being sent clear by Mark Harrington, and then holding off two defenders to beat ex-Carlisle hero Jimmy Glass again. A goal by Sol Davis 10 minutes from time gave City a few nervous moments but they held on to record a great result. City next face Bristol City on Wednesday, again at Twerton Park.
Jon Holloway has become City’s third new signing of the summer, switching from Dr Martens rivals Gloucester City. The 22-year old right back arrives at Twerton Park on a free transfer (shock, horror) after a contractual dispute at the Tigers led to his release. A former teamate of Paul Bodin at Swindon, he has been signed on a 2-year contract. Quoting from the Unoffical Gloucester City web site, Jon is, “a battling player who always seems to play like a fan, and earns extra Brownie points for never forgetting to applaud the supporters home or away. Has added a more even temperament and positional awareness to his undoubted enthusiam…”. He made over 160 appearances for Gloucester scoring 14 goals, including a number of penalties. Credit to Neil Phelps of the Tiger Roar web page who predicted this move nearly two weeks ago.
Another boost for City, as they return to training, is the news that they have been joined by Nicky Brooks. The former City captain, who has been plagued by a knee injury for nearly two years, is making another attempt to return to action. Other players who have been training with City’s squad are Lee Collier, ex-Cardiff City defender Kevin Lloyd and Dave Elsey, plus a number of youth players.
The Dr Martens fixture computer (man?) has again given City a home start with Burton Albion the visitors to Twerton Park on August 14. The same opponents will close the season when City visit Eton Park on May 6. In between, City’s first journey will be to Dorchester on Tuesday 17 August, and Saturday 6 November will see the return to Bath of Mark Hervin (possibly, see below) as City take on Gloucester.
The Mark Hervin saga has taken another twist with the news that he may not be going to Gloucester City after all. It would appear he has yet to sign a contract and is now set for a trial with Torquay United. As soon as I get any more details I will post them here.
Worcester 13/8 Fav, Bath 100/30, Boston 7/2, Burton 13/2, Merthyr 7/1, Newport 8/1, Weymouth 12/1, Ilkeston 12/1, Crawley 14/1, Kings Lynn 16/1, Tamworth 16/1, Gloucester 16/1, Salisbury 22/1, Halesowen 25/1, Dorchester 25/1, Atherstone 25/1, Grantham 33/1, Margate 40/1, Havant & W 40/1, Clevedon 50/1, Rothwell 66/1, Cambridge 66/1.
City have completed their second new signing for the forthcoming season with the capture of Oxford United keeper Elliott Jackson. The move comes as Mark Hervin’s switch to Dr Martens rivals Gloucester City is confirmed. Jackson spent the latter part of last season on loan to Nationwide Conference side Stevenage Borough, making 7 appearances (including the 3-1 win over Y****l in the final game of the season), but was the Oxford United hero in their FA Cup draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The 6’2″, 21 year old was named man of the match in that game but failed to hold down a first team place and was released at the end of last season.
Hervin’s departure comes after Bodin refused to include a clause in the unsettled keeper’s new contract allowing him a free transfer at any time. The ex-Rovers keeper will now join up with former City stars Mike Wyatt, Adie Mings and, recent arrival, Paul Chenoweth.
City have been given a home tie against Baldock Town in the first round of the FA Trophy. The game against the Dr Martens Southern & East Division side, who finished 8th in the Southern Division last season, will be played on October 9.
City have lost one of their home friendlies, as FA Trophy runners-up Forest Green Rovers have pulled out of their planned visit to Twerton Park on July 31. They will instead meet Bristol City at The Lawn. Quite why Second Division Bristol City at home is a better proposition than away to City, I don’t know, but there you go.