Alan Pridham has made his final moves in his attempt to keep City in the Dr Martens Premier Division. With the passing of yesterday’s transfer deadline he completed the signature of Weston Super Mare midfielder Danny Bailey. As the 38-year old former Exeter City player arrives at Twerton Park Rob Cook and Mark Badman are heading away. Cook’s loan spell has been terminated early due to injury problems at Basingstoke Town and Badman appears to be finally moving to Weston Super Mare. The Western Division side have been chasing Badman for a while and as part of the deal to bring Bailey to City Pridham has allowed them to talk to the midfielder.
City’s reserve side’s promotion prospects took a slight blow this morning as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Street. The home side took the lead midway through the first half from the penalty spot. The second half was all City and with 15 minutes remaining Craig Hopkins got on the end of a Gary Powell free-kick to head City level. And they should have won the game when Paul Keen appeared to be pulled down in the box in stoppage time. However, a well behind play referee saw nothing wrong with the challenge and City had to settle for a point. The result leaves the side two points behind leaders Frome Town and five points clear of Exmouth Town in third place.
City have announced details of a Bath City Patron’s scheme for the 2002/03 season that includes a draw to become the clubs main sponsor. All Patrons will receive 2 Stand Season Tickets, free use of the the clubroom facilities once a year, use of the Patrons Lounge on matchdays, a 25% discount on all forms of advertising and sponsorship during the season plus various other benefits. And in addition to this all Patrons will be entered into a draw where the top prize is to become the clubs main sponsor for the 2002/03 campaign. The cost of enrolling as a Bath City FC Patron is £295 + vat. Further information and application forms can be obtained by contacting Susan Evans on 01225 423087. So next season could see bath city fc dot com adorning City’s kit!
Despite Adrian Foster scoring for a fifth match in succession to earn City a 1-1 draw at King’s Lynn, City’s relegation fears deepened as nearly all the teams around them recorded victories. With only Salisbury and Merthyr losing the result in Norfolk saw City drop back into the relegation zone on goal difference. The match itself ended level after two goals within three first half minutes. A mistake by Mark Hervin allowed Watts to head the Linnetts into a 29th minute lead before Foster turned home the equaliser from close range after Paul Milsom had capitalised on Wilson spilling a Drysdale cross. Hervin redeemed himself with two excellent saves before the interval and both sides created chances to win the game in the second half. Gosling and Smart firing narrowly wide and Foster having a penalty appeal turned down after he appeared to be bundled over in the box.
Trailing by three goals to two with less than five minutes remaining City produced a stunning comeback in an incredible game at Twerton Park this afternoon against Stafford Rangers scoring twice to record a 4-3 victory. This capped an amazing turnabout as three times woeful defending handed Rangers the lead before goals from Iain Harvey, Dave Gilroy, Gary Thorne and Adrian Foster kept alive City’s hopes of avoiding relegation. An own goal by Thorne had given the visitors the lead midway through the first half but City levelled just before the break when Andy Williams cross was turned home by Harvey. A free header by Dundas restored Stafford’s lead on 54 minutes. Eight minutes later Williams was felled in the box and Gilroy made it 2-2 from the penalty spot. Another 15 minutes had passed when Kiely was given all the time and space he needed to fire past Hervin and Stafford were ahead again. Throwing caution to the wind City brought on top scorer Foster and changed to a 3-2-5 formation. They had an escape when Kiely shot crashed against Hervin’s bar but with four minutes remaining Thorne broke clear, rounded Ryan ‘Chip’ Price in the Rangers goal and rolled the ball home. City suddenly sensed an unlikely victory and Gilroy should have headed home Matt Hale’s cross with a minute left but completely mistimed the effort. However, this was forgotton moments later when the loan striker shrugged off his marker and bared down on Price’s goal. The keeper managed to block his first effort but could nothing when Gilroy collected the loose ball and chipped it across goal for Foster to knock it home.
The win lifts City back out of the relegation zone as they leapfrog Hednesford Town and Cambridge City, beaten 3-1 by Merthyr Tydfil and 3-1 by Tiverton Town respectively. Unfortunately Merthyr’s victory plus a 4-1 win for Newport IOW at Moor Green means they remain firmly in the relegation scrap, just two points off third from bottom Newport and a further three ahead of the Welsh side.
A 90th minute strike by top scorer Adrian Foster was scant consolation for City as they were comfortably beaten 3-1 by fellow relegation strugglers Merthyr Tydfil. A win for City would have almost certainly left the Welsh club doomed (that word again) but a first half goal from Burrows and two second half efforts by Harries and Edwards kept alive their slim hopes of maintaining their Premier Division Place. Missing loan striker Dave Gilroy City never looked like finding a way back into the game after Burrows had struck, taking 85 minutes to force Martyrs keeper Thomas into a save.
The defeat leaves City in 19th place but with Newport IOW beating Moor Green 2-1 now just two points ahead of the Islanders and a further point in front of yesterdays opponents. Ahead of them are Welling United, who didn’t play yesterday, on goal difference. Hednesford Town, single goal losers against King’s Lynn, and Cambridge City, who drew 1-1 with Salisbury City, are both a point ahead of City. All the other teams have between one and five games in hand, obviously.
City have further reduced their squad with the release of Jamie Crandon to Western League side Weston St Johns. Ironically Crandon’s new club met City’s reserve side yesterday in a match that saw goals from Luke Scott and Paul Keen (2) give City a 3-0 victory to maintain their promotion prospects.
In-form Tiverton Town were swept aside this afternoon in a stunning first-half display that saw City race into a four goal lead by the interval. The Devon side pulled two goals back in the second half but couldn’t deny City a vital victory in their battle to stay in the Dr Martens Premier Division. New loan signing Dave Gilroy began the first period rout, firing home from eight yards after 12 minutes, before Paul Milsom’s low drive double the lead just four minutes later. And it got even better for City before the half hour mark when Adrian Foster headed home a cross from Matt Hale. If a three goal lead had left the home (and away) supporters stunned they were left in an even great state of disbelief when Milsom flicked on a Jason Drysdale corner and Gary Thorne headed home a fourth goal. Predictably the Devon side threw caution to the wind in the second half and when they reduced the deficit to just two goals with over 20 minutes remaining there were some nervous looks at watches within the 958 strong crowd. However, with Colin Towler, Gary Kemp and Thorne outstanding City held on for the win that lifts them out of the relegation zone once again.
Prior to the Tiverton match City recruited another two new players, although one who was very familiar to most of the clubs supporters. Arriving from financially troubled Weymouth is left-sided player Matthew Hale on loan to the end of the season. And returning to Twerton Park from Clevedon Town is former Bristol Rovers player Gary Smart. 38-year old Smart, who spent eight seasons at City between 1988 and 1996 making nearly 300 appearance and scoring 72 goals, has signed in a player-coach capacity and was a non-playing substitute in todays match.