March 2003

Cheltenham trial hands Gosling chance of professional move (31/3/03)

Less than a week after signing a new one-year contract Jamie Gosling has been handed a chance to make a dream move into the professional game. He will join the Nationwide Second Division side for a week long trial and feature in a friendly match on Wednesday evening. Despite his injury problems this season the Robins have been monitoring the progress of the talented midfielder and will now get the chance to have a closer look at him.

Cleverley plays ‘Get out of jail free’ card to spare City’s blushes (29/3/03)

A lucky break in the Ilkeston box 15 minutes from time spared City the embarrassment of becoming the first side to lose at home to the relegation certainties at Twerton Park this afternoon. Danny Cleverley lashed the ball home after Andy Williams had lost control but this could not disguise another faltering City performance. Ilkeston had taken the lead in the first minute, Kelly firing in from close range after City failed to clear a corner. They should have doubled this advantage midway through the half when the same player spurned an open goal to blast against the bar from 10 yards. Woeful would have been to kind a description of City’s first half showing but they did improve after the break. Frankie Bennett, Dave Toomey and Drew Shore all saw chances come and go before the visitors were reduced to 10-men when Kelly was shown a straight red for elbowing Jim Rollo. After Cleverley’s strike he almost grabbed a second, clipping the top of the bar after keeper Love had failed to claim a cross, but this would have been more than City deserved. City are not (thankfully) in action for two weeks now with Grantham the visitors on April 12.

Gosling ends transfer speculation by signing new one-year deal (27/3/03)

City’s faltering conclusion to the season has been given a boost with the confirmation that influential midfielder Jamie Gosling has signed a new one-year deal. The former Team Bath player, who is still struggling to regain full form and fitness following the ‘wall incident’ at Chippenham back in August, had initially delayed putting pen to paper but has now agreed to stay at Twerton Park until the end of the 2003-04 season.

Referee lends a helping hand to send City to Weymouth defeat (26/3/03)

A Weymouth side desperate for the points in their relegation battle boosted their cause with a 2-0 victory over City last night. In what has become a depressingly familiar scenario over the last half a dozen games City created enough chances to have comfortably won the game but paid the penalty for failing to convert them. The two goals came during a five minute spell in the final quarter of the game. A very harshly awarded free-kick for handball (?) by Kemp was fired home by Hutchinson after 72 minutes and when Tully lifted a shot over Glassup the game was well and truly up for City.

City turn to Forest Green stopper as cover for injured Bryant (23/3/03)

City fielded new keeper Ellis Glassup in yesterdays 1-1 draw with Halesowen Town after regular shot-stopper Mark Bryant failed to recover from a shoulder injury. The highly-rated Forest Green keeper, who has recently been turning out for Jewson South Western League side Bodmin Town, will hope all his City afternoon’s are as quiet as the one at The Grove and looks set to continue between the posts against Weymouth on Tuesday. The move seems certain to mean Mark Hervin has played his last game in a City shirt. The keeper, who began the season as City’s number one until a pre-season injury gave Bryant his chance, turned out for Cirencester yesterday where he has been on loan all season.

Midfielder Andy Minturn will also remain with the Gloucestershire based Dr Martens Wester Division side after his loan deal was extended until the end of the season.

Milsom strike not enough as City let two points slip from grasp (23/3/03)

City missed the chance to record their sixth away win of the season, failing to turn a dominant first half performance into goals and then allowing Halesowen Town a soft equaliser twelve minutes after Paul Milsom had finally given them the lead. Jason Eaton, Dave Toomey (twice) and Jamie Gosling all went close in as one-sided a first half as City have produced this season but it wasn’t until the 62nd minute that Milsom’s 15 yard shot broke the deadlock. However, the relegation strugglers were level on 74 minutes when an unmarked Stone glanced a corner beyond debutant keeper Ellis Glassup. The Yeltz finished the game strongly but never really threatened to grab a winner that would have been very harsh on City. The draw sees City slip a place to 9th but now moves them one win from the magical 50 point level that should see any unlikely relegation worries finally banished.

Conference expansion looks good to go but not until 2004-05 season (21/3/03)

The reorganisation of the higher levels of non-league football took a step closer to actually happening this week after the proposed Conference Division 2 North and South was accepted by the three current feeder leagues, including City’s present home the Dr Martens League. However, despite the hopes that the new structure would be in place for next season it now seems certain that it will not be until the 2004-05 that the changes will take place. Full details of the two new divisions have yet to be finalised although they will contain 24 teams each choosen from the 58, including City, that applied to join the new set up. The changes should be ratified by the FA in May along with confirmation of the entry requirements.

Supporters Club assistance sees City finally land their man (19/3/03)

Forest Green Rovers striker Steve Tweddle has signed for City until the end of the 2003-04 season ending the pursuit of the former Chippenham Town player that began in June 1999. 31-year old Tweddle was first a target of ex-City boss Paul Bodin but choose to join the Bluebirds where he scored an incredible 49 goals to help them scrape into the Dr Martens League. Following an injury troubled current campaign he made a surprise move to Conference side Rovers where he made four appearances and scored one goal. The move, for an undisclosed fee, was funded by the Bath City Supporters Club and Tweddle will go straight into the squad to face Halesowen Town on Saturday.

City’s trip to Havant & Waterlooville has been provisionally pencilled in for Thursday 1 May 2003. The original date of 5 April will now see the Hampshire side face Tamworth in the 1st leg of the FA Trophy semi-final. Confirmation when I get it.

Former terrace fan is named as City’s new Commercial Manager (17/3/03)

City have appointed a new commercial manager following Dave Edler’s departure last month. Sandra Young joins the backroom staff at Twerton Park having stood on the terraces watching the team as a youngster. She also has connections with the club through her grandmother who use to play for the ladies side and formally worked for Chippenham Chamber of Commerce.

Also off the pitch City have rightly escaped any punishment over the events that followed the sides 1-0 league defeat against Tiverton Town back in November 2002. The club faced a possible miscounduct charge that they failed to control their supporters after referee Alison Chapman’s accusation that she was verbally abused and spat at by City fans as she left the pitch. Ms Chapman had sent Paul Milsom off and turned down a blatant penalty claim during the bad tempered match.

Dover defence says To You and Toomey is left a Chuckling Brother (15/3/03)

A Dave Toomey lob – following an error by a Dover defender – midway through the second half was enough to give City a 1-0 victory over the Kent side this afternoon at Twerton Park. This was the highlight of another fairly drab encounter that City just about shaded although they did suffer a few nervous moments after taking the lead. In common with their last outing against Stafford Rangers, City produced some attractive passing moves but too often the final pass or cross went astray although Toomey and Frankie Bennett did see efforts well saved by keeper Hyde late in the first half. Increasingly it looked as if one goal would settle the game and this arrived on 66 minutes when a long ball forward eluded a Dover defender and Toomey lifted a 20 yard shot over the stranded Hyde. After this the visitors finally showed some attacking intent but a combination of poor finishing and desperate defending by City meant they returned to Kent empty handed.

Last seasons top scorer Adrian Foster looks unlikely to feature for City again this season. Despite scoring for the reserves last Saturday and making a non-playing substitute appearance against Stafford in the week Foster has headed to Western League side Frome Town on non-contract terms to continue his recovery from an achilles tendon operation.

City will have to rearrange thier trip to Havant & Waterlooville originally scheduled for Saturday 5 April as the Hampshire side will be involved in an FA Trophy semi-final clash with either Aylesbury, Tamworth or Burscough (ha, ha) on that date now.

The One Where … Shot-shy City slip up against Stafford (12/3/03)

Stafford Rangers’ ploy in getting the original clash with City postponed worked perfectly last night as they won the rearranged game by a single goal at Twerton Park last night. The winning goal came from a well-working 53rd minute corner, Downes low shot finding the corner of the net. City had more than their fair share of possession against the title-challengers but despite some neat approach work failed to create any clear chances. Jamie Golsing curled a free-kick narrowly wide in the first half and Gary Kemp saw a second period shot well saved by Price.

The One Where … Gosling stalls on new contract (12/3/03)

City midfielder Jamie Gosling is delaying siging a new contract as he looks for assurances from manager Alan Pridham that the club will be challenging for honours next season. The 20-year old has been offered a new deal but looks set to wait until May to make a decision when City’s ambitions for the 2003-04 season will be clearer. In common with every player to pull on a City shirt (including Paul Milsom, Charlie Fleming and Jay Lucas) Chippenham have been sniffing around Gosling but the former Team Bath player said, “I’m happy ay Bath and will probably re-sign … at the moment I am happy where I am.”

The One With … The Wind (12/3/03)

A gale-force wind blowing across Grantham Town’s wide open South Kesteven Stadium was the dominant factor as City produced their first goalless stalemate since September 2001 last Saturday. With the bumpy and heavily sanded pitch adding to the problems neither side ever truly got to grips with the conditions. Even with the elements favouring (?) City in the first half only a Drew Shore corner that landed on the roof of the net and a Jim Rollo shot that keeper Ziccardi saved well ever looked like breaking the deadlock. Going in level at half time the home side must have thought they had done the hard work but soon found that this was far from the case. They struggled even more than City to create clear cut chances and apart from understandably struggling under a couple of swirling crosses Mark Bryant’s first real save came with just four minutes remaining. On a few occasions City did manage to get the ball on the deck and produce some decent football but this was a very rare event.

Last seasons top scorer Adrian Foster made a surprise goalscoring return to action in City Reserves 2-0 win over Devizes Town. The ex-West Brom striker capped an hour long outing by firing home Simeon Allison’s cross after 52 minutes.

The One Where … Thorne quashes Chippenham rumours as loan spell begins (12/3/03)

On the day he began a month loan spell with Merthyr Tydfil Gary Thorne has denied rumours that he is heading to Chippenham Town at the end of the season. Insisting he is fully committed to City the 25-year old defender said, “I’ve heard rumours about me going to Chippenham but people put two and two together and make five … there’s nothing in it.” Thorne has been sidelined with a calf injury since early February and the month long spell at Penydarren Park is to regain his match fitness.

The One With … Two-year extension to Pridham contract (7/3/03)

City boss Alan Pridham has been handed a 2-year extension to his contract that will see him remain in the Twerton Park hot-seat under the end of the 2004-05 season. As with the previous deal the former Paulton Rovers manager will remain unpaid with his salary used to boost the playing budget. Having lead City to retaining their Dr Martens Premier Division place win a final game victory last season the new deal reflects the progression the team has made in this campaign.

The One Where … Shore arrives in the nick of time to fire City to victory (4/3/03)

Substitute Drew Shore came to City’s rescue tonight by firing home a 76th minute winner to finally break the resistance of Hastings United. The game had looked to be heading for a goalless stalemate as City continually failed to find a way past the desperately negative visiting side. However, their continual time-wasting activities came back to haunt them as during another extended stop Shore replaced Jamie Gosling and within moments he latched onto Stuart James pass before blasting an unstoppable shot into the net via the post. Apart from an early flurry the Sussex had been content to fustrate City by getting as many men behind the ball as possible. For all their possession City just couldn’t create a clear opening but this was all forgotten when Shore arrived on the scene. The victory lifts City up to 8th place.

Matt Coupe, who made his first start for City this evening, and Iain Harvey are both facing suspension following recent bookings. Coupe’s yellow in the first clash with Hastings was his fifth of the season and means he will miss Saturday’s game at Grantham. Whereas Harvey will miss two games, Dover and Halesowen, courtesy of his 10th caution of the season against Chelmsford last Saturday.

The One Where … Missed opportunites see unbeaten run come to end (1/3/03)

City paid the price for missing a number of first half chances as their nine game unbeaten run ended with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chelmsford City. Twice top scorer Jason Eaton wasted clear openings, blasting over from a Stuart James cross and then firing wide after good work by Frankie Bennett. In between Mike Trought had a header cleared off the line but City did have an escape on 37 minutes when Mark Bryant saved Watkins penalty after the same player was pulled back in the area. City must have realised it wasn’t going to be their day when Jamie Gosling’s long range effort struck the bar early in the second half and on 55 minutes the home side grabbed an undeserved lead with Watkins capitalising on a lucky break in the box to beat Bryant from six yards. Seven minutes later the game was as good as over with an incident that summed up City’s day. Berkley matched Gosling’s earlier effort with a 25-yard shot that struck the bar, but this time the ball rebounded against Bryant into the net. After this City lost their composure, not helped by a typically inept refereeing performance, and a comback never looked likely.