City’s fast fading season took another blow as they suffered their second home defeat in the space of three days to a side battling against relegation, this time Halesowen leaving Twerton Park with a 1-0 victory. Their goal came midway through the first half and, despite City coming close on a number of occasions, this turned out to be the winner as City produced another performance that made their title ambitions seem a distant dream. Although Martin Paul, Mark Harrington and Mike Davis could all consider themselves unlucky in front of goal, and Jimmy Cox showed glimpses of why he was rated so highly at Gloucester, it was another desperately disappointly show from City and leaves them facing an uphill battle to retain their second place, let alone worry about catching Boston any more.
Despite an improved performance on Tuesday’s defeat at Clevedon, City lost their unbeaten home record, and almost certainly blew their championship hopes in the process, with a 1-0 defeat to Merthyr Tydfil at Twerton Park this afternoon. Both sides finished the game with 10 men, the Welsh side losing Harris with 15 minutes remaining for two bookings, then Jon Holloway following after receiving his second yellow for stupidly getting involved with Merthyr keeper Jones. The winning goal came after 10 minutes when Abraham’s deflected shot found the corner of the net following a half cleared corner. The visitors then comfortably dealt with what little threat City produced and only as the game went into the final half hour did they finally up the tempo. Twice Paul headed narrowly over and Davis and Cox forced good saves out of Jones. In the end the game threatened to boil over with Harris’ and Holloway’s dismissals, and Harrington appearing to floor Merthyr’s Power, as City’s fustrations got the better of them. Boston’s single goal victory over Crawley moved them back to 11 points ahead, and only Burton’s home defeat against Margate keeps City in second place.
Off the field City have arranged a presentation of the new ground proposals. The meeting will take place at Twerton Park on Wednesday 29 March at 8.30 and is open to all shareholders and members of the supporters club.
The concern that City’s backlog of fixtures would place too large a strain on their small squad finally came true last night, as they produced a lethagic performance to crash 3-0 at local rivals Clevedon Town. The Seasider’s thoroughly deserved the win, which never looked in doubt once they grabbed their second goal on 69 minutes. They had led from the 22nd minute when Mainwaring turned Badman’s cross past Jackson, and only a couple of efforts by Martin Paul and Jimmy Cox, both dealt with comfortably by ex-City keeper Hervin, threatened an equaliser. The second half saw City gain more possession but when Peters rose to head home Rollo’s free-kick the game was over. City’s disappointment was increased in the closing minutes when sub Mark Clode tangled with Rudge in the box. The referee awarded a penalty to the home side and handed Clode the unwanted tag of becoming City first dismissed player of the season. As he headed to the dressing room Mainwaring sent Jackson the wrong way to complete the scoring.
One piece of brighter off the field news was a surprise £6000 windfall that came City’s way. The money came as part of the deal that took Jimmy Gill to Yeovil Town during the 1995-96 season, as the defender completed 30 appearances for Division 1 side Birmingham City.
City moved a point nearer Boston United but they came desperately close to recording a great win over Margate when Martin Paul’s header came back of the post in the 90th minute. In truth, this would be more than they deserved after they struggled to break down a strong Margate side, although it was an better performance than the midweek victory at Rothwell. Paul Bodin gave a debut to both Sam Campagna and Jimmy Cox, as a second half substitute, with the former producing an excellent display, including one stunning tackle to prevent Collins running clear. City opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Stuart James’ throw-in was flicked on by Paul and turned home by David Mehew. With City content to sit on this lead the home side dominated possession but it wasn’t until the 70th minute that they broke through. A free kick on the left was flicked home by Collins, as he got above Towler. The Gate had a couple of chances to turn the game around completely but nothing closer than Paul’s header from a Bodin centre and immediately after this miss the referee blew the final whistle. City next make the considerably shorter journey to Clevedon as the look to further narrow the gap at the top.
Having boosted his strikeforce with the arrival of Jimmy Cox, Paul Bodin has now moved to provide cover for the defence with the signing of Swindon Town’s Sam Campagna. The 20-year centre-back will remain at Twerton Park for the rest of the season, although the struggling Division 1 side has a call-back option. Both players may start in tomorrow’s game at Margate but Stuart James and Mark Clode with miss the game.
Paul Bodin has strengthened his front line with the signing of Jimmy Cox from Dr Martens rivals Gloucester City. The highly rated 20-year old becomes the latest player to leave the troubled Tigers and will stay at City until the end of the season.
If City thought a clash with bottom of the table Rothwell Town would be an easy 3 points they received a huge shock last night, twice having to come from behind to record a fortunate 3-2 victory. They got off to the worst possible start on 10 minutes when a misjudgment by Elliot Jackson allowed Cook to lob the ball into an unguarded net. Prior to this Davis has fired a shot narrowly wide but this turned out to be the closest City came in the first period as they struggled to come to terms with a bumpy pitch and strong wind. Desperate for a quick goal in the second period Colin Towler came to the rescue, heading home a flick on by Paul from a Bodin corner. But if they expected this strike to turn the game in their favour they were to be knocked back again when the Bones went ahead just after the hour. A left side corner found an unmarked Gould and his low shot flew past Jackson. Missing half of the first choice back line City could have gone further behind but they grabbed the second equaliser when Holloway’s rising shot from a Davis corner beat Hughes. The vital winning goal came with eight minutes left. A Bodin free kick was headed back across goal by Skidmore and Mehew turned to fire the ball into the roof of the net.
Plans were today unveiled for a £20 million sports stadium to be built on the Recreation Ground, that would be shared by Bath’s football and rugby clubs. A two-hour presentation was made to the city’s councillors by City chairman Steve Hall, Andrew Brownsword, the chairman of Bath Rugby Club, and John Howey of B&NES Leisure Service Department, outlining the development, which will include:
The plans have been drawn up by local architect David Kent with the co-operation of B&NES council and involve the replacement of not only Bath Rugby’s current ground but also the Sports Centre and the Pavillion. The move has come about as both clubs look to secure their long term futures through a new ground. City already have a number of companies bidding to buy their existing Twerton Park ground and had been looking at various sites around Bath to build a new 6000 capacity ground. The rugby club has also been searching for a larger ground in order to maintain their place at the top level of English rugby, and overcome losses running at over £1 million a year. The proposals will now enter a full public consultation stage, but the new stadium could be in place by 2004.
City missed another chance to narrow the gap on Boston United as they had to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw with Worcester City. The two goals arrived in a 10 minute second half spell when both sides were awarded controversial looking penalties. City’s came after the Worcester keeper collected a long through ball then lashed out at Rob Skidmore. The sub went down in a heap and the referee pointed at the spot, booking the keeper in the process. Martin Paul squeezed the kick under the keeper and City were ahead. The visitors equaliser came when a Worcester striker appeared to trip over the ball, but the referee viewed it as a foul and Owen sent Jackson the wrong way from 12 yards. Either side of these decisions City struggled again to overcome a defensively minded side at Twerton Park. Paul had a great chance on the sroke of half-time but pulled his shot wide and other half chances were spurned by Mehew, Skidmore and Harrington. At the other end Owen missed a clear first half opening and then was denied by Jackson in the closing minutes. Boston’s draw at Havant means City remain 12 points behind as they begin a run of 3 away games before the Lincolnshire side play again.
Trailing 1-0 with just 30 minutes left, against a side that City have struggled against in recent seasons, all was not looking good at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium last night. However, three goals in the final half hour turned the game around and, in the process, moved City to within 12 points of leaders Boston United. The first two came from two of City’s ‘nearly’ men as Scott Walker fired in a low shot on the hour, then Jimmy Fraser converted a David Mehew cross with 11 minutes remaining. Any worries of City facing a testing final 10 minutes were dispelled when Martin Paul headed his 24th goal of the season to complete the fightback. The previous 60 minutes had seen City struggle for any rhythm as a swirling wind and firm pitch made passing football difficult. After a reasonably bright start City fell behind when a Sales volley on the turn flew past Jackson. This was the signal for Salisbury’s best spell of the game but they failed to capitalise on this domination. The referee did little to reduce City’s fustration as he twice turned down strong penalty appeals then failed to grasp that keepers aren’t allowed to pick up backpasses these days, but showing the sort of qualities they will need to overhaul Boston, City, cheered on by 250 travelling fans, fought back and turned the game around.
Two first half strikes from Martin Paul and a second half David Mehew goal gave City a 3-0 victory over Halesowen that was every bit a comfortable as the scoreline suggests. After the recent disappointing performances City were desperate for a result and showing that would keep the pressure on league leaders Boston United, and, with an unchanged line-up from the Havant draw, they got their wish. After surviving an early scare, Payne shooting over from two yards, City went on to dominate the game. The opening goal came after half an hour, Mehew heading Davis’ cross back across goal where Paul applied the finishing touch. Four minutes later he grabbed his second, latching onto a loose ball on the edge of the Halesowen box and firing in an unstoppable shot. Ten minutes into the second half the game was over as a contest when a mix-up between the keeper and defender allowed Mehew to roll home the third into an empty net. City’s only worrying moments came from a number of poor kicks by Jackson, but Paul and Clode both came close to extending the lead as City sent their 150+ travelling fans back down the M5 happy.