It looks increasingly likely that City will have to go through the lottery of end of season play-offs if they are to win promotion to the Conference South after tonight’s goalless draw with league leaders Salisbury City. Unsurprisingly the divisions two best defences dominated the game with goalscoring chances at a premium. The Whites Prince fired a volley across the face of goal in the first half and City captain Jim Rollo had to be alert to clear the ball off the line midway through the second period. In stoppage time City nearly grabbed a winner when lumbering home keeper Sawyer almost fumbled a Scott Rogers shot over the line. The points lifts City into second place still level on points with Salisbury, but the Wiltshire side had two games in hand.
City suffered their first league defeat of the year in addition to the Southern League top spot yesterday after a 2-1 home defeat against Yate Town. The loss also ended City’s nine game winning streak but, although it was far from City’s most fluent performance, they can feel somewhat unfortunate not have got at least a share of the points. Yate set out to slow the game down from the very start and this approach combined with the difficult conditions contributed to a slow start by City. They weren’t helped by gifting the Bristol-based side a goal on ten minutes, Edwards heading home a free-kick without a defender near him. The rest of the half was a non-event but City should have levelled within 12 minutes of the restart. Town keeper Court could only parry Tony Bird’s shot only for Scott Partridge to fire the rebound against the post with the goal gaping. This miss proved even more costly two minutes later when from a similar incident Wyatt made it 2-0 to Yate. Increasingly bizarre decisions from the referee then saw former City player Lee Vickerman dismissed for two cautions. It looked as if it would not be City’s afternoon when Jim Rollo’s dipping volley struck the bar but after 77 minutes Craig Davidge’s left shot, following good work from debutant Scott Rogers, pulled a goal back. This signalled City laying seige to the Yate goal for the closing spell of the game but they could not find an equaliser, the closest they came was from Bird shot into the side-netting.
One month after their initial approach City have finally secured the signature of Forest Green Rovers midfielder Scott Rogers. The Bristol born 25-year old was one of the perennial Conference strugglers longest serving players having joined in 2003 from Tiverton Town, where he scored the winning goal in the 1999 FA Vase Final at Wembley. He began his career with Exeter City and Bristol City as a trainee before moving to Ladymead in 1997. Scott, who has signed until the end of the season, is the son of former City player Peter Rogers.
Bath City’s Supporters Society have launched a 100 Club to raise funds for the team. The 100 members will each pay £20 per month for a minimum of a year between the months of May and April. There will be a monthly draw with two prizes of £250 plus a grand draw in April with a prizes of £2500, £1000 and £500. With 100 members this will mean £350 per week going straight into the playing budget over a 40 week season. For full details of this, information on the Supporters Society and an application form click here.
City completed a straightforward win over relegation strugglers Northwood yesterday, with goals from Adie Harris, Scott Partridge and Andy Sandell, to restore their three point lead at the top of the table. All three goals had an element of fortune about them but that should not disguise City’s superiority over the Woods. It took City just six minutes to open the scoring when Alex Sykes’ miscued shot fell to Partridge. His effort was saved by Watson but Harris was on hand to turn the loose ball home. The visitors defence looked shakey every time City attacked and on 38 minutes they doubled their lead. The referee ruled that Watson had picked up a back pass and with the Northwood defenders still disputing the decision Sandell passed the ball across to Partridge to slot it in via the underside of the bar. The second half half saw the strong wind favour Northwood however, with Paul Evans’ handling faultless in the difficult conditions, they rarely looked like getting backinto the game, although one corner did bounce to safety of the crossbar. City secured their ninth successive league victory in the 74th minute when Sandell’s deflected shot found the net. Substitute Craig Davidge should have made it 4-0 in the closing stages, slicing wide of an open goal, but another potentially tricky game was safely out of the way by then.
The race for the title could be heading for a final day showdown at the Walks Stadium between King’s Lynn and City as fellow challenges Salisbury City and Chippenham Town continued to drop points. Whilst City were beating Northwood, Lynn were seeing off Tiverton by two goals to one but Salisbury crashed to a 1-0 defeat at Bedford Town due to 92nd minute and Chippenham allowed Cheshunt to grab a point with a late equaliser in the sides 1-1 draw.
Showing similar timing to Scott Partridge’s goalscoring runs into the Banbury United box on Saturday, City boss John Relish took part in Tuesday’s Meet the Manager evening on the back of eight successive league wins, with his side sitting proudly at the top of the Southern League. Amongst the topics covered were the spirit of the squad, the loaning out of Chris Holland to Gloucester, Craig Davidge’s role as super-sub, City’s disciplinary record, the Team Bath penalty tug-of-war between Jon Holloway and Scott Partridge, the great away support, the not so great home support and an academy structure and reserve side. After this chairman Geoff Todd fielded questions on off-the-field matters, including the clubs debt, the date of the AGM and ways of boosting attendances at Twerton Park.
City’s youth team maintained their place at the top of the South West Counties Youth League after a 1-1 draw against Salisbury City at Twerton Park last night. The visitors, who moved into second place following the result, took the lead in the first half before City levelled when Mark Branton scored direct from a corner. Neither side could find a winning goal in the second period and had to settle for a share of the points.
A goal six minutes into stoppage time completed a stunning comeback victory for City at Banbury United this afternoon. Trailing 2-0 at half-time they looked to be heading toward their first league defeat in 2006 before a Scott Partridge hat-trick turned the game right around. The first half was just three minutes old when Blossom lifted a great shot over Paul Evans and it got worse on 36 minutes after City conceded an unnecessary free-kick 20 yards out that Fuller drove into the bottom left hand corner. As an attacking force City had been disappointing before the interval but within three minutes of the restart Tony Bird headed down for Partridge to lash the ball into the roof of the net. Nine minutes later he struck again, firing home from six yards out after his initial effort had been blocked. The game threatened to boil over on several occasions after this as the home side tried every trick to take advantage of the desperately weak referee. The prime culprit was Puritan’s scorer Blossom and this could easily have led to red cards for Evans and Graeme Power after they reacted to his antics. However, deep into stoppage time City produced the perfect answer to this behaviour when substitute Craig Davidge raced away down the right flank and his low cross was back-flicked home by Partridge to spark delirious scenes amongst both City players and their large travelling support. With Salisbury City and Chippenham Town only managing 2-2 draws the victory increases City’s lead at the top of the table to three points.
In common with the first team City’s youth side are also top of thier league and they make a rare Twerton Park outing on Monday 13 March (ko 7.45pm). And fittingly the opponents are Salisbury City who, like their main side, are one of City’s chief rivals for the league title.
City moved back to the summit of the Southern League Premier Division for the first time since August after a 3-1 victory over Team Bath at Twerton Park last night. As in the win at Tiverton Town on Saturday, City began the game slowly but two goals midway through the first half put them in control. Scott Partridge opened the scoring with his 19th goal of the season, firing home after Chitty had blocked his initial effort. Four minutes later City struck again from the less likely source of Steve Jones when he hit a stunning 20-yard shot that flew into the roof of the net. A goalmouth scramble before the break almost increased City’s lead, with Phil Walsh twice being denied by last-ditch blocks. The second half had been largely uneventful before on 80 minutes Canham, looking several yards offside, headed past Paul Evans to set up a nervous finale. However, with a minute remaining Walsh was tripped in the area and Jon Holloway blasted home the spot kick to seal the victory.
City boss John Relish has moved quickly to boost his injury-hit squad with the signature of Merthyr Tydfil midfielder Ryan Dorrian. With Adie Harris out for several more weeks and Dean Clarke, Jon Holloway and Andy Sandell all struggling with knocks City are short on midfield numbers which the arrival of Dorrian will ease. The former Newport County and Mangotsfield United player was Merthyr’s website player of the season in 2002-03 and goes straight into the squad for tonight’s meeting with tenants Team Bath.
City stretched their unbeaten league run to 12 games – including six wins on the spin now – with a 2-1 victory over Tiverton Town at a sunny Ladysmead. Apart from the opening 15 minutes the Devon hosts rarely threatened to end this excellent run, especially after Phil Walsh fired City ahead on 18 minutes. The remainder of the half saw City on top but they could not increase their lead. After the interval Tiverton saw more of the ball but an equaliser never looked likely and with eight minutes remaining Jim Rollo’s looping shot beat Jones to double City’s lead. City’s afternoon was dampened somewhat in the final minute when Tiverton were awarded a penalty and Tony Bird received his 2nd yellow card for dissent. Winter fired the penalty home but this turned out to be final kick of the game.
City can now focus their full attention on securing a place in the Conference South after they exited the Somerset Premier Cup last night with a 2-0 defeat against Mangotsfield United at Twerton Park. And whilst it was understandably a disappointment to exit the competition at the quarter final stage through goals from Ollie Price and Rob Claridge it was an ankle injury picked up by Andy Sandell that will be bigger blow from the evening if it rules him out for any upcoming league games.
Director John Reynolds has been confirmed as City’s new vice-chairman. The post has been vacant since Geoff Todd took over as Chairman following Steve Hall’s retirement in May 2005.