City are offering the chance for one lucky supporter to win a place in the club’s 2005-06 team photo in a special prize draw. For just £5 per entry (multiple entries allowed) you could line up alongside Scott Partridge, Paul Evans, Bobby Ford plus all the other City stars and appear in all publications featuring the photo. The winner will also get a new City shirt and entry forms can be obtained from the club. The draw will take place at the Meet the Manager evening on Monday 1 August.
Portguese pair Jorge Ferro and Igor Injai will not feature for City again after they failed to impress manager John Relish in last nights friendly meeting with Bristol Rovers. Centre-back Injai and striker Ferro, who has also had a trial with Forest Green Rovers under former City boss Gary Owers, both played for around an hour but neither showed enough to Relish to be given another chance.
Having failed to score in all but one of their pre-season games last season City are fast looking like repeating this feat after they drew another blank this evening in a 2-0 defeat against Bristol Rovers at Twerton Park. A close range finish from Preece in the first half and stunning volley by Agogo six minutes from time was enough to seal victory for a strong Rovers side. In between City once again created a number of chances but failed to find the net. The game saw City field three more trialists, defenders David Davies and Igor Injai plus striker Jorge Ferro.
City suffered their third successive pre-season defeat this evening by two goals to nil at Paulton Rovers but the result was overshadowed by the nature of the home sides second goal. They had lead through Ford’s 26 minute strike going into the closing five minutes when the ball was kicked out to allow Ricky Hulbert to receive treatment. However, rather than return the ball to City former Roman midfielder Ben Cleverley sent a 50-yard shot over a stunned Paul Evans. Even his teammates appeared embarrassed at his actions but they then compounded the error but not allowing City to score themselves and the game was left to end on this rather sour note. In between these two goals it was a much improved performance from City after their defeat at Bishops Cleeve on Saturday. Alex Sykes, Scott Partridge and Jim Rollo all went close in the first half, as did Partridge, Andy Sandell and Ricky Hulbert in the second. Ironically the foul that left Hulbert injured five minutes from time looked a certain penalty only for the referee to ignore the incident and what followed was unnecessary to say the least.
City have added an extra game to their pre-season list. They will travel to Welton Rovers on Wednesday 3 August (ko 7.30pm).
City have made a late change to their pre-season campaign with the addition of a clash with Bristol Rovers at Twerton Park on Thursday 28 July (ko 7.30pm). The League Two side – who spent 10 years as City’s tenants from 1986 – will be playing at Twerton on successive days as they face current tenants Team Bath the day before the game with City. However, it is likely that Rovers will only send an Academy side to face Team Bath, and City will hope for a crowd over 1000 with a large contingent of Rovers fans returning to their former home. The arrangement of this game means Friday’s friendly at Frome Town has been cancelled although the sides do hope to reschedule it before the start of the season.
A single goal midway through the first half was enough to send City to defeat in their latest friendly outing at Bishops Cleeve yesterday. City struggled all afternoon to break down the Hellenic League side although Jim Rollo, Scott Partridge and Ricky Hulbert all went close in the first half. The second half was largely similar but, on the positive side, it did see the first summer appearances of Adrian Harris and Alex Sykes. The latter almost equalised for City in the closing moments with a 25-yard effort that Cleeve’s keeper did well to push away.
Centre-back Chris Holland will miss the first month of the season following a double hernia operation. The former Team Bath player, who played such an important part in City’s excellent run-in at the back end of last season, is back in light training but unlikely to play before September. In more positive injury news summer signings Adrian Harris and Gethin Jones are both approaching full fitness. Ex-Hornchurch midfielder Harris could play some part in Saturday’s trip to Bishops Cleeve, while Jones should be available in about a week.
City’s second friendly outing ended in a 5-0 defeat at Twerton Park this evening against Coca-Cola League One side Bristol City. They had few answers to the pace and power of the Robins, falling behind after just 13 minutes when Brown shot past trialist keeper Andy Fisher. The former Newport County and Cinderford goalie suffered a torrid evening as 15 minutes later he was beaten again, this time by Gillespie from the penalty spot after Steve Jones had tripped the same player. City rarely looked like pulling a goal back and it was the visitors who made it 3-0 just after the hour mark through Harley. Brooker then made it four with 20 minutes left before Harley grabbed his second with the pick of the goals, a 20-yard shot eight minutes from time. The only positive for City came in the shape of a 1200 strong crowd that will have given them a welcome financial boost.
Last season’s top scorer John Williams returned to Twerton Park this afternoon with his new side Redditch United but couldn’t stop City recording a 2-0 victory over the Conference North side. Willow, who received a warm ovation from the City fans before kick-off, played the opening 45 minutes before being substituted. The game itself saw City produce a solid performance with several of the new signings and triallists impressing. However, it was the more familiar face of Scott Partridge who fired City ahead on 23 minutes following a good run by Ricky Hulbert. On the hour mark Paul Evans made a stunning double save to preserve this advantage and two minutes later Sam Duggan’s low shot from a narrow angle made it 2-0. Andy Sandall and Martin Paul also went close as City began their pre-season campaign in excellent style.
City have finally confirmed their pre-season friendly list in preparation for the 2005-06 Southern League season. They will play six times beginning with two matches as Twerton Park again Redditch Utd this Saturday (ko 3pm) and Bristol City on Monday 18 July (ko 7pm). This will be followed by games at Bishops Cleeve (23/7, 3pm), Paulton Rovers (26/7, 7.30pm), Frome Town (29/7, 7.45pm) and Clevedon Town (6/8, 3pm). The Paulton match was arranged as part of the Andy Sandell deal.
City fans will get the chance to meet and quiz new manager John Relish and chairman Geoff Todd at a meet the manager evening on Monday 1 August (7.30pm) in Charlie’s.
As the 2005-06 season tickets will not be available ahead of the two Twerton Park friendlies fans who have purchased one can collect a voucher for each game from the ticket office on the day or from the office in advance.
City boss John Relish’s squad building looks close to completion after he finally secured highly-rated midfielder Andy Sandell from Paulton Rovers. The deal had looked close to collaspe as the two sides failed to agree a transfer fee but they finally settled on £1500 for the former Melksham player. The pacy 21-year old can play on either side of midfield and his arrival means City have a first-team squad of 16 with just another striker and goalkeeper further possible additions.
In an almost unprecedented move the Southern League Premier Division fixtures were published today ahead of their scheduled date and City have been handed a long away trip to begin their 2005-06 campaign. They will travel to Grantham Town on Saturday 13 August before starting their Twerton Park campaign three days later against Tiverton. As with last season City willface local rivals Chippenham Town at Christmas and Easter, with the season ending (play-off’s not withstanding) at home to King’s Lynn. The full list can be found on the results and fixtures page.
City’s protracted chase for Adrian Harris ended in success with the signature of the former Hornchurch midfielder. The 24-year old turned down the opportunity to remain in full-time football with TNS or Weymouth to switch to Twerton Park. He was part of the big spending Hornchurch squad that looked to be heading to the Conference before the money ran out and the fallout saw them end up in the Essex Senior League. However, whilst this was happening Harris was recovering from a serious cruciate ligament injury, which was responsible for the delay in signing as he was waiting for an all-clear from Lilleshall.
Teenage midfielder Yan Klukowski has confirmed that he is set to accept a four year football scholarship in the United States. He is just waiting to hear whether he has passed the entrance exam but if he is successful he was be off to university in Central Connecticut. The 18-year old Chippenham-born player has confirmed that despite interest from several league sides and his home town club he would have remained with City but for this opportunity to head to America.
City’s hopes of signing highly-rated forward Andy Sandell from Paulton Rovers are in the balance after the Western Division side refused to budge over their original asking price for the player. The 21-year old, who turned down a move to Chippenham Town, is keen to switch to Twerton Park but unless the clubs can agree a fee the deal looks likely to break down. Negotiations having been going on for the past week but with both clubs insisting the ball is in the others court City manager John Relish is becoming frustrated by how long the saga has dragged on.
In further transfer news Relish has confirmed that the signing of the un-named former Conference South midfielder is imminent and that trialist Danny Thomas looks set to feature in City’s opening pre-season games.
City returned to training last night for their first pre-season session and amongst the familiar faces and new signings were two trialists; 20-year old striker Danny Thomas who was released by Cardiff City in May and an un-named midfielder who played in the Conference South last season. The session gave new manager John Relish the first chance to meet up with his squad, including new signings Jon Holloway, Andrew York and Gethin Jones.
Although the 2005-06 season is still some six weeks away City have been installed as 5/1 favourites to win the Southern League Premier Division title by Skybet. If these odds are to be believed City’s closest challengers for a spot in the Conference South will be Bedford Town, Halesowen Town and Tiverton Town, all at 8/1, then Merthyr Tydfil at 10/1. At the other end of the table are Twerton Park tenants Team Bath, Yate Town and Rugby Town, all at 40/1.
City’s attempt to repeat their memorable FA Cup adventure from last season will begin at Twerton Park after they were handed a home tie in the 1st Qualifying Rd of next season’s competition. The will face either Minehead, Almondsbury Town or Cinderford Town once the preliminary rounds have been completed. After last year’s run that saw eventual Conference champions Barnet dumped out in the first round to set up a 2nd Round meeting with League One side Peterborough United, City will be keen to at least repeat that success. The Cup also saw striker Scott Partridge earn a VIP day out at the final between Arsenal and Manchester United after he was named player of the round for his hat-trick at Brockenhurst. The path to a hopefully similar outcome will begin on Saturday 10 September.
The draw for the FA Youth Cup was also made today and City will face a home tie against Bishop Cleeve to be played week commencing Monday 26 September.
If any City fans were disappointed that Dunstable Town’s relegation from the Southern League Premier Division would deny them a trip to the palatial surroundings of Creasy Park the draw for the FA Trophy has come to their rescue. The 1st Qualifying Round meeting with the Blues will take place on Saturday 15 October. If City can repeat their league victory from last season they will face a home clash with either Bromsgrove Rovers or Beaconsfield SYCOB in the 2nd Qualifying Round four weeks later.