A lively first half performance followed by a very forgettable second half one saw City run out 2-1 winners in their latest friendly outing against Backwell United tonight at Twerton Park. Headers from Frankie Bennett, after eight minutes, and Dan Cleverley, four minutes before the interval, saw City lead 2-0 at the break. Five half time changes disrupted City’s flow and just past the hour a mistake by Matt Coupe allowed the Western League side to pull a goal back. City should have scored a third with sixteen minutes remaining when Jason Eaton was bundled over in the box but Russell Milton saw the keeper save his penalty kick.
A penalty converted by Steve Tweddle twenty minutes from time prevented City from suffering a deafeat at the hands of Western League Paulton Rovers tonight. The home side had lead from midway through the first half when a right-wing corner appeared to go straight into the net. In conditions similar to Saturday’s defeat at Gloucester, City created numerous chances but showed a worrying failure to find the killer touch. In the end it took an unnecessary handball to gift them an equaliser.
City have arranged an extra friendly at Twerton Park this Thursday against Backwell United with a 7.45pm kick off.
City tatsted defeat for the first time in their pre-season program as they were beaten 3-1 by Dr Martens Western Division side Gloucester City at a wet Meadow Park this afternoon. Despite looking the better side early in the game City fell behind after 20 minutes when Hoskins headed home. It got worse for City 12 minutes later when Jenkins 30-yard effort flew into the top corner. Paul Milsom reduced the deficit eight minutes before the break, converting after Steve Tweddle’s shot was blocked, only for another Hoskins header shortly after the break to restore the Tigers two goal advantage. Mark Salter, Jason Eaton and Frankie Bennett all had chances to get City back in the game but they failed to find the target.
The Gloucester defeat saw former QPR, Bristol Rovers and Exeter City full-back Graeme Power become the latest trialist to don a City shirt. The 26-year was released by the Grecians at the end of last season.
Alan Pridham has moved quickly to fill the hole left in City’s midfield with the departure of Jamie Gosling by snapping up former Cheltenham Town player of the season Russell Milton. The 34-year has signed a two-year deal following his release from Whadden Road in May after six years with the Robins. City fought off competition from Weston Super Mare and Cirencester Town for the experienced players signature after he featured in the opening friendly against Brislington ten days ago.
According to a report on the Official Yeovil Town website Jamie Gosling has been offered a full-time contract with the Football League newcomers following a successful two week trial. The deal is based solely on appearances, with no initial transfer fee, plus a sell-on clause should the 21-year midfielder progress from Huish Park. While it will seem strange seeing Jamie in the (traditional!?!) green and white hoops of one of City’s rivals I’m sure all City fans wish him the best of luck in deepest Somerset and hope a BIG money transfer happens in the near future.
The friendly clash between City and Nationwide Third Division side Swansea City scheduled for this evening has been cancelled due to a goalkeeping crisis at the Vetch Field. The game will not be rearranged meaning City are next in friendly action on Saturday when they travel up the M5 to face Dr Martens Western Division side Gloucester City (assuming the Tigers can find a goalkeeper from somewhere).
City’s supporters club are desperately searching for help in making sure Twerton Park fans don’t go without their half time cup of tea. The Popular Side tea bar was reopened last season and run by Paul Hannam and family but they will no longer be able to do it this year so replacements are urgently needed. Anyone who can help out will be paid £10 per match and for full details see the Supporters Club page.
A goal seven minutes from time denied City a morale boosting friendly victory over Third Division Torquay United. They had led as early as the eighth minute when Frankie Bennett headed home a cross from Andy Williams. The visitors responded well to this setback and began to control proceedings with a neat passing game on the excellent Twerton Park surface. Gritton fired over the bar after a good run on 16 minutes and Hankin put a header wide in the closing moments of the half. However, with Mike Trought in particular outstanding, City kept the Gulls out and Tweddle and Eaton both had chances to extend the advantage. The second period continued in a similar vein with Trought again alert to clear a dangerous goalmouth scramble. City keeper Mark Bryant then came his sides rescue, producing excellent saves to deny Russell and Kuffour. Just as it was looking like City would hold on to their slender lead Torquay grabbed an equaliser to send the Devon contingent in the 420 crowd home slightly happier. Kuffour made room for himself in the City box and his low shot from twelve yards gave Bryant no chance.
Striker turned midfielder Paul Milsom has turned down a possible move to Nationwide Conference side Forest Green Rovers and pledged his committment to City. The 28-year old has spent the last week training at The Lawn and was expected to remain there this weekend. However, he informed boss Alan Pridham that he wants to stay at Twerton Park and will now play a part in tomorrows friendly with Torquay United.
City began their pre-season campaign with a 3-1 victory over Screwfix Western League runners-up Brislington at Twerton Park this evening. After a uneventful opening City went ahead on 27 minutes when new signing Mark Salter fired home from close range. Two minutes later last seasons top scorer Jason Eaton made it two from a similar distance. A couple of good blocks by keeper Mark Bryant kept the lead at 2-0 before, with 21 minutes remaining, a deflected Drew Shore shot made it 3-0. The same players poor back pass gifted the visitors a consolation goal in the closing minutes. City’s side featured former Bristol Rovers wide player Dwayne Plummer, ex-Cheltenham Town midfielder Russell Milton and defender Adam Howarth and Bobby Ford, who played for Oxford United and Sheffield United.
City’s Dr Martens Premier Division clash at Merthyr Tydfil scheduled for Tuesday 9 September has been cancelled as the Welsh sides ground Penydarren Park will host a Wales Under-21 match that night. No new date has yet been arranged for the fixture. And next weeks friendly meeting with Swansea City will kick off at 7.30pm rather than 7.45pm as previously announced.
Ex-Southampton and Reading striker Ian Juryeff has been named as City’s new head coach, replacing Tim Harris who joined Forest Green Rovers two weeks ago. The UEFA A grade coach is currently the football in the community offier with Premiership side Southampton and will combine this job with his role alongside Alan Pridham and Gary Smart at City. The 40-year old also recently turned out for Southampton in the 2003 Masters of Britain Cup.
City midfielder Jamie Gosling, now in his third week on trial at Third Division newcomers Yeovil Town, will not be returning to the scene of the incident that could have ended his career last August. The Glovers face Chippenham Town at Hardenhuish Park this evening, where the 21-year received a serious ankle injury when a permimeter wall collasped on him while he celebrated a goal with City fans, but an agreement between Alan Pridham and Town boss Gary Johnson means Gosling will sit the game out.
The first new arrival at Twerton Park this summer has been named as ex-Southend United striker Mark Salter. The 22-year old was released by the Shrimpers at the end of last season having joined the Nationwide Third Division side from local Western League club Frome Town in October 2002. He made just five starts with the Roots Hall club, scoring a single goal, but was a prolific scorer with the Robins, notching 86 goals in three seasons with the Somerset club. His arrival almost certainly means Dave Toomey’s brief time with City is at an end. With strikers Jason Eaton, Steve Tweddle and Dan Cleverley plus Salter, City are well stocked in this department and the fomer Barry Town player would seem to be surplus to requirements.
The 2003-04 season that will determine whether City earn a place in the new Conference set-up will begin with a trip across the country to face Chelmsford City. That match takes place on Saturday 16 August and three days later City begin their home program with a visit from newly promoted Weston Super Mare. The two clashes with local rivals Chippenham Town take place on Tuesday 21 October (home) and Saturday 3 April (away) before the season concludes with a home match against Welling United. The full fixture list can be found here.
The now annual ‘Meet the Manager’ evening will take place at Twerton Park on Monday 14 July, twenty four hours before City begin the pre-season campaign. City boss Alan Pridham will answer any questions from his adoring fans in Charlies from 7.30pm. Assuming they haven’t already been named (well, stranger things have happended – probably) the event may also see the names of any new signings revealed.
Paul Milsom is the latest City star to attract interest from a higher level club. The midfielder has been invited to train with Conference side Forest Green Rovers with a view to joining the Gloucestershire-based club. And striker Dave Toomey could also be heading away from City with Dr Martens Western Division side Swindon Supermarine the possible destination. The former Barry Town player joined City in January but after making just ten appearances and scoring a single goal joined the perennial strugglers on loan for the final month of the season.
Following Tim Harris’s departure last week City have received another blow as his replacement turned down the position of head coach at the 11th hour. Personal reasons with cited for the unamed coach’s decision and it leaves manager Alan Pridham to continue his search for a assistant to join him and Gary Smart.
Teenage striker Josh Jefferies may miss the start of pre-season after being involved in a car crash on the M5 at the weekend. He injured his neck and right knee in the accident.
Salisbury City bound Stuart James has expressed his disappointment at having to leaves City. The 27-year old midfielder was forced into making the decision to join the Dr Martens Western Division side after City cancelled his contract to allow him to take up a place on a journalism placement in London. He was offered the chance to return after this but, with no guarantee of a new deal and football his only income, understandably choose to switch to Salisbury. James returned to City last season from Newport County having spent five years with the club between 1995 and 2000, totalling over 200 appearance in that time.
The draw for the 1st round of the 2003-04 FA Trophy has given City an away tie against Dr Martens Western Division opposition. They will either face the short trip to Cossham Street to face Mangotsfield United or the somewhat longer journey to Sheepy Road where they would reacquaint themselves with former Premier Division side Atherstone United. Those two sides face each other in the preliminary round on 4 October, with the winner meeting City on 1 November.
It appears that Jamie Gosling impressed in his first outing for Yeovil Town. According to the match report of the Somerset clubs meeting with UEFA Cup qualifiers Sporting Lokeren, “Straight from his first kick [he] showed his class and his display throughout the remaining part of the game was outstanding.”
Jamie Gosling has spent the last week training with Yeovil Town and tonight featured in the Conference champions opening match on their four game Belgium & Germany tour against Sporting Lokeren as a first half substitute. The midfielder is one of a number of trialists at Huish Park looking to earn a full-time contract with the league new boys. Full details on how he played when I can get them.
According to a piece in the Western Daily Press one player who definitely won’t be at Twerton Park next season is Stuart James. The paper reports that he has joined Salisbury City.
Just four weeks after he was named as City’s new head coach Tim Harris has left the club to join Conference side Forest Green Rovers in a similar capacity. The former Newport County had been working on an unpaid voluntary basis so it was not a big surprise that he has been tempted by a paid post alongside Colin Addison at The Lawn. Manager Alan Pridham has wasted little time in lining up Harris’s replacement and hopes to unveil him at the next pre-season training session next Tuesday.
Despite the new Dr Martens Premier Division campaign kicking off in just over six weeks City manager Alan Pridham has stated he is in no hurry to bring in new players to Twerton Park. He has spoken to seven possible targets and hopes to add up to five of those to his squad before the new season begins on August 16. The squad begin pre-season training on Tuesday and will begin their friendly program with a home match against Brislington on Tuesday 15 July (ko 7.45pm).
That friendly should take place on a much improved Twerton Park pitch to the one City struggled on in the latter stages of last season. With the help of the Supporters Club over £4000 has been spent to overhaul the drainage system and flatten the surface.
City have also received a boost with season tickets sales up by nearly 30% compared to the same time last year. By the beginning of July 110 tickets had been sold against 85 last year. Supporters have until 14 July to purchase a ticket at the discounted rate.