This weekend sees City and Gateshead face each other twice in the space of just over 48 hours, the North East club travelling down to Bath on Saturday before City make the return journey on Monday. This trip will begin a run of four successive long distance away games for Adie Britton’s men and by the time they return from Grimsby they will have covered nearly 2000 miles in 12 days. Although this gruelling schedule will put considerable strain on City’s threadbare squad the prize of a top ten finish in the Blue Square Bet Premier will no doubt inspire them to continue the remarkable performances they have so far produced during the 2010-11 season.
Before they climb aboard the coach to start this road trip City will welcome a Gateshead side also looking to finish the campaign strongly and secure a creditable top ten finish. After narrowly avoiding relegation in their first season back at this level last year, this has been a much improved campaign although a recent dip in their league form – they are currently without a win in their last six league outings – has seen them slip back to 15th, four places and three points behind City. Manager Ian Bogie was scathing about their last performance against an equally out of form Newport County side in the week, saying his players lacked ‘fighting spirit’ and were ‘outfought’ and ‘outplayed’ in the 2-1 defeat. This poor run came after an amazing February when they won five out of five matches, scoring 17 times in the process, including an incredible 7-2 victory at promotion chasing Wrexham. Unsurprisingly this record won Bogie the February manager of the month award.
Gateshead have also enjoyed a great FA Trophy campaign this season and when they led 2-0 against fellow North East side Darlington at half-time in the semi-final first leg a maiden appearance at Wembley Stadium looked on the cards. They had reached that stage with wins over Southport, Hampton & Richmond Borough, Dartford and local rivals Blyth Spartans. However, it all began to go wrong for the Heed in the second half of the match at Darlington as the Quakers fought back to win 3-2. The tie was still finely balanced though as over 5000 fans packed the Gateshead International Stadium a week later but they witnessed a disappointing game with little in the way of goalmouth action and the final score of 0-0 was enough to send Darlington to the final to face Mansfield Town and leave Gateshead to dream of what might have been.
Since Gateshead’s 30-year spell in the Football League came to an end in 1960 – with claims that it was their geographical location that saw them replaced by Peterborough United rather than footballing merit – they have struggled both on and off the pitch. At one point they dropped as low as the Wearside League and reformed an incredible three times during the 1970s. The final reformation was as Gateshead FC in 1977 and six years later they won promotion to the Alliance Premier League. Twice during that decade they were relegated back to the Northern Premier League before promotion again in 1990 began their longest unbroken spell of eight years in non-league’s top flight. Relegation in 1998 heralded another period of struggle before back to back play-offs wins in 2007-08 and 2008-09 lifted them back to the Football Conference. After avoiding relegation with a final day win over AFC Wimbledon they turned full-time for this campaign, with chairman Graham Wood claiming it is the only way to be competitive at this level.
Wood has also been the driving force behind the club’s plan to relocate to a new purpose built stadium in the centre of Gateshead. They have played at the Gateshead International Stadium since the early 1970s (initially under its previous title Gateshead Youth Stadium) but as the venue is primarily designed for athletics it has never been an ideal home for a football club. In October 2009 plans were published for an 8000 capacity stadium to be located opposite Gateshead Civic Centre. It was hoped that the ground could form part of the area’s involvement in the 2018 World Cup bid though that dream was dashed last December. Despite this the club still hope to move to this stadium for the start of the 2011-12 season, although there appears to have been little real progress since the initial announcement.
Complete record against Gateshead
Saturday will see Gateshead’s first visit to Twerton Park since September 1996. City came into the game on the back of a heavy defeat at Slough Town and with just a single win so far that season. However, they got off to the perfect start on seven minutes when Mike Davis fired home from a Mike Wyatt cross. The visitors responded strongly but couldn’t find a way past Dave Mogg in the City goal and were punished for this in the 36th minute when Graham Withey headed a Wyatt cross goalwards where Shaun Penny got the final touch. The second half continued to see Gateshead waste a series of chances and when Withey’s low shot bobbled past Heed keeper Sherwood the victory was secured. Gateshead enjoyed their revenge three months later when they hammered City 5-0 at the International Stadium but City have enjoyed visits there previously – not least during the 1992-93 season. The game in October saw the debut for City of Deion Vernon, who would go on to write his name in the City history books with the winning goal at Cardiff City in the FA Cup a few weeks later. In this match, though, the star of the show was Martin Boyle, as he netted his one and only hat-trick for the club. He opened the scoring on 23 minutes, stretching to convert Withey’s low cross, before making it 2-0 a minute later with an angled shot that went in off the post. Then on the hour mark he raced clear from a Chris Banks flick to slip the ball past keeper Smith and complete his treble. He was soon replaced by Vernon who finished the scoring with City’s fourth, latching onto Rob Cousins’ pass to dummy Smith then roll the ball into the unguarded net.
City’s squad for the two games is likely to be the same that travelled to Barrow last weekend with Luke Ruddick (hamstring) and Lewis Hogg (pelvis) still sidelined. On the plus side Adie Harris and Danny Webb have both resumed full training although they are unlikely to feature until the Darlington game in a week’s time.
The supporters club have organised this event for you, the supporters, on May 1st to experience what it is like to be a City footballer for the afternoon. This is your chance to play at Twerton Park, being managed by either Adie Britton or Lee Howells with your two team captains being two current City players. It’s £15 for supporter club members and £20 for non supporter club members. Download the form here and fill in the relevant information and hand it into the club shop or Daniel Tanner to be a part of this event. There are only 30 places so get in quick.
It is free entry for everyone to watch, friends, family and other supporters are all welcome. The tea bar will be open so you can buy some refreshments; there will be a bucket collection, 50/50 draw, and after the game the bar will be open. All money raised will go towards Adie’s budget for next season and improvements in the Tea Bar. For more information email email@example.com
A Lee Phillips goal after just six minutes was enough to secure City a win this afternoon over a Barrow side who played the final 27 minutes of the game with just ten men. With City better known for their late goals Phillips’ glancing header from a Marc Canham free-kick was the earliest they have struck this season. The remainder of the first half was a scrappy affair with neither side able to gain the upper hand. The second half looked to be headed in the same direction, although Almond should have levelled on 51 minutes only to shoot straight at Ryan Robinson after a slip by Sido Jombati, before the home side were reduced to ten men in the 63rd minute. Marley Watkins was at the centre of the incident that saw Baker receive a straight red card, although he was fortunate to stay on the pitch for his push on Pearson in the aftermarth. Bluebird’s manager Bayliss was then dismissed from the dugout for expressing his view on proceedings too forcefully but his side responded well to the reduction in their numbers. A Cook header just cleared the bar and Curtis shot narrowly wide when well placed. City also had to withstand a series of corners plus a couple of optimistic penalty appeals before they could celebrate the win which will no doubt have made the long journey back to Bath a little less arduous.
Kaid Mohamed’s destination has been confirmed as Blue Square Bet Premier promotion chasing side AFC Wimbledon. Following his refusal to sit on the substitute bench against Grimsby Town last weekend Mohamed had been linked with Forest Green Rovers and Newport County, both former clubs of the 13-goal striker, but instead it is the play-off bound Don’s where he will see out the remainder of the season after the two clubs agreed a nominal fee. This brings to an end a successful 20 month spell at Twerton Park where in 82 games he scored 31 goals, including the Blue Square South play-off final winner against Woking back in May.
City make the long trip to Barrow tomorrow as their 2010-11 season aim switches from ‘Project Staying Up’ to a 60 point target and a top half Blue Square Bet Premier finish. They will face a Bluebirds side coming into the game on a four-game winning streak that has given them a five-point cushion to the relegation places and a real chance to retain their place in the top flight of non-league football.
As recently as the beginning of March that looked unlikely. A run of just one win in 14 league games had left the Cumbrian side with only Altrincham and Eastbourne Borough beneath them and a return to the Conference North they departed in 2008 looked on the cards. It was the club’s away form that had played the main part in their struggles. When they travelled south to face Forest Green Rovers earlier this month, four days after a vital 1-0 win over Altrincham, it was nearly 11 months since they had enjoyed league success away from Holker Street. A Curtis goal seven minutes from time finally ended this run in a 3-2 victory and they followed it up with two more away wins at fellow strugglers Southport and Eastbourne.
Barrow’s improved form has coincided with the arrival of midfield duo Andy Ferrell and Richie Baker. The latter joined on loan from Blue Square Bet Premier rivals Gateshead, after falling out of favour at the International Stadium, whilst Baker arrived after his release from Oxford United. The pair have netted five times in the three successive away wins, whilst another loanee Louis Almond also struck twice against Southport. This ended a barren spell for the Blackpool striker after scoring four times in his first three games following the switch from the Premier League side. He had been signed to replace top scorer Jason Walker after his move to Luton Town in November. Walker’s goals had played a major part in the Bluebird’s FA Trophy win last season, scoring twice in the semi-final against Salisbury City before striking the winner at Wembley.
Complete record against Barrow
This will be City’s first trip to Cumbria since the 1991-92 season when they suffered a 2-0 defeat which ended a six match unbeaten run at Holker Street. City had dominated the first half but found home keeper McDonnell in fine form, producing excellent stops from Paul Randall, Martin Boyle and Chris Banks. They were made to pay for failing to turn pressure into goals within four minutes of the restart when a corner was only half-cleared allowing Ballentyne to fire past Alan Churchward from 15 yards. When Boyle had a goalbound shot cleared off the line two minutes later it looked as if was not to be City’s day and this was confirmed on 64 minutes as Ballentyne scored an almost identical goal to his first. The previous year City had made the long journey back south with a point but feeling they should have had all three after a controversial late penalty denied them a deserved win. An 18th minute own goal by Chiltern had given City the lead and that had looked to be enough to separate the sides. However, the referee had other ideas and to the surprise of even the home players adjudged that Richard Crowley had handled an 89th minute cross and Stimpson took full advantage of the decision from the spot.
As expected City will make the 550-mile round trip without joint top-scorer Kaid Mohamed after his move to AFC Wimbledon was confirmed today. They will also be without long-term injured trio Adie Harris, Danny Webb and Luke Ruddick, and although Lewis Hogg’s pelvis trouble has begun to ease he may not feature against this campaign in an attempt to cure the problem ahead of the 2011-12 season. The squad will be boosted by the addition of loan signing Joe Lennox.
City have completed the loan signing of Joe Lennox from Bristol City. The 19-year old midfielder is a product of the Ashton Gate’s youth academy having previously been coached by City’s assistant manager Lee Howells whilst at Cheltenham Town. He is yet to make a first team appearance for the Robins but has been a regular in their reserve side. He will go straight into the squad for the long trip to Barrow this weekend.
The loan agreement with Bristol Rovers for defender Charlie Clough has been extended until the end of the season.
At a well attended Meet the Manager event this evening at Twerton Park it was announced that Adie Britton is to accept the offer of a place on the club’s board of directors in addition to his current managerial role. It was also confirmed that Adam Connolly and Danny Webb have agreed deals for the 2011-12 season and that talks are ongoing with several other players.
The meeting also heard Adie Britton confirm that striker Kaid Mohamed has played his last game for the club and will be joining a new side, believed to be a fellow Blue Square Bet Premier team, very shortly.
City have rearranged their trip to Mansfield Town for Thursday 14 April (ko 7.45pm).
Joint top scorer Kaid Mohamed looks to have played his final game for City following his refusual to sit on the bench for this afternoon’s clash with Grimsby Town. The 13-goal striker turned down a contract offer for next season during the week, citing a desire to return to full-time football, which saw manager Adie Britton name him amongst the substitutes today. However, he refused this role, instead watching the game from the stand. With Britton already looking ahead to the 2011-12 season it now seems very unlikely Mohamed will feature again which is a slightly sour ending to a remarkable spell with the club. He will always be remembered for the play-off final penalty kick last May that earned City promotion to the Blue Square Bet Premier and his often spectacular goals this season have played a massive part in the club’s successful campaign.
On the plus side today though, fellow 13-goal hitman Lee Phillips has agreed a new deal that will keep him at Twerton Park for the 2011-12 season.
A Hector Mackie goal five minutes from time gave City a 2-1 win over Grimsby Town at a sunny Twerton Park this afternoon. Having beaten the Mariners in a giant-killing FA Cup tie last season the result once again shows how far City have come since then, as the played a full part in an closely fought game and now sit just two points behind the former League side in Blue Square Bet Premier mid-table. The visitors started the game brightly but it was soon a more even encounter as both sides probed for an opening. Then on 27 minutes City made the breakthrough, Lee Phillips winning possession down the left to cross for Marley Watkins to net his first goal for the club. Joe Burnell wasted a good chance to made it 2-0 shortly afterwards but it was Grimsby who ended the half in the ascendancy. Connell’s deflected free-kick striking the bar before Ryan Robinson produced an excellent save to deny the same player. City’s no.1 was producing one of his most confident performances of the season, with faultless handling and several more fine stops, but on the hour mark he was powerless to keep Coulson’s swerving free-kick out. With little more than pride to play for both sides went in search of a winning goal after this although it was the Mariners who looked the more likely to grab the three points. Once again, though, City’s part-time players upstaged their full-time opposition with a late winner. Sekani Simpson’s cross was fumbled by keeper Croudson under pressure from Phillips and Mackie showed great composure to step inside a defender before firing the ball home. The victory takes City over their pre-season target of 48 points and with nine games remaining suddenly a top half finish is well within their sights.
In the aftermath of City’s giant-killing FA Cup win over Grimsby Town in November 2009 there would have been few fans of either side who would have truly believed that just 16 months later the two clubs would meet again as Blue Square Bet Premier rivals. At the time City were in mid-table of the Blue Square South with a place in the play-offs looking a long way off. By contrast the Mariners were struggling one place off the foot of League 2 but still with a genuine belief that they could avoid relegation from the Football League. However, while the FA Cup win began an improvement in City’s form that would carry them to promotion, Grimsby never really recovered from the defeat. It wasn’t until four months later they recorded a victory and, despite winning four and drawing one of their last seven matches, they were relegated on the final day of the 2009-10 season following a 3-0 loss at Burton Albion.
Surprisingly Neil Woods, who was in caretaker charge for the FA Cup match, was given the chance to lead the club back to the Football League. He immediately set about rebuilding his squad – keeping just 11 players from the previous season – and when the season began with a 1-0 win at title favourites Crawley Town it looked as if they would be amongst the promotion front-runners. However, a week later they suffered a 2-1 home defeat to relegation favourites Hayes & Yeading United and it is this inconsistency that has plagued their season ever since. A win over Luton Town briefly lifted them into the play-off places at the beginning of September but they have spent most of the campaign just above mid-table. Thirteen goals in two games at the start of 2011 would have boosted hopes of a strong second half to the season but they then followed this up with just two wins in their next ten outings.
This run finally cost Woods his job in February and he was replaced by his former assistant Dave Moore. The Mariners have since been linked with various names, including ex-Bristol Rovers coach Martin Foyle and former Gillingham and Barnet manager Mark Stimson. They also made approaches for current Kidderminster Harriers boss Steve Burr and Darlington’s Mark Cooper, but were denied permission to speak to either man. Despite this uncertainty Moore led the club to two wins in his first two games in charge, including an impressive victory over then league leaders AFC Wimbledon. This winning start looked to be ending during the week when they trailed 2-0 to Rushden & Diamonds, having also been reduced to ten men. A penalty from Connell got them back into the game but on 57 minutes the game was abandoned due to fog.
A defeat in that game would have almost certainly ended any lingering hopes of reaching the play-offs as they currently lie eleven points behind fifth place Kidderminster, albeit having played fewer games than most of the sides above them. Connell is one of the few highlights of the season for Grimsby. The goal against Rushden was his 25th of the year, although the abandonment took him back to 24. In a quirk of the rules covering abandoned games Darren Kempson’s red card does stand meaning he will miss the game against City. He will join suspended duo Micky Cummins (who would have completed his ban had the Rushden lasted the full 90 minutes) and Mark Hudson.
Complete record against Grimsby Town
This will be the Mariners first trip to Bath to face City (although they did play Bristol Rovers three times during their Twerton Park tenure during the 1980s and 1990 – winning two and losing one). The two previous meetings between the clubs have taken place at Blundell Park in the FA Cup. The aforementioned 2-0 win, thanks to goals from now departed duo Chris Holland and Darren Edwards, will no doubt live long in the memory of City fans that made the journey to Lincolnshire although there will be fewer supporters that will remember the first meeting back in 1952. As fog swirled around the ground a late goal was enough to separate the sides in the 2nd Round tie but City waited patiently to gain their revenge 57 years later.
City come into the game after a much needed two-week break from action but still with a number of players struggling to overcome injury. Adie Harris (hamstring) and Danny Webb (cheek) are both several weeks away from returning to action and Sekani Simpson remains troubled by the hamstring strain that forced him off during the first half of City’s last outing against Kettering Town. Lewis Hogg (pelvis) will continue to be monitored on a match to match basis and Adam Connolly (knee) face’s a late fitness test.
City are hoping to break a home league attendance record that has stood since 1978 when they entertain Grimsby Town on Saturday. Project 3000 is aimed at attracting a crowd of over 3000 to Twerton Park for the match which, although this figure has been exceeded for several FA Cup matches and, most recently, the play-off final against Woking in May last year, would be the first time since Easter Monday 1978 that a league game has been so well-attended. Already well over 500 posters have been distrbuted around Bath and in addition the club as targetted various groups, including the City’s Polish community (with a specially designed poster of their own) and students at both Bath and Bath Spa Universities. To download a copy of the poster click on the banner on the home page or visit www.bathcityfc.com.
The cost of winning promotion from the Blue Square South has been revealed after City published their accounts for the 2009-10 season showing a loss of just over £45K. However, this represents almost a halving of the loss on the previous season as the club’s turnover inceased by over £80K. The accounts also showed how around £230K owed to the directors has been converted into shares. The club’s AGM will take place on Thursday 24 March at 7.30pm in Charlie’s, which will then be followed by a Meet the Manager question and answer session with Adie Britton.
City have announced a new sponsorship deal with Dorset-based coach hire company Southern Coaches. The club’s shorts will carry the companies name until the end of the 2011-12 season. Owner Richard Powell is looking to develop his business in the Bath area and he sees similarities between City and Southern Coaches, saying “Bath City is growing and on the way up, just like us.” Southern Coaches is a relatively young company based in Dorchester with national ambitions. The company began as a coach-hire brokerage, offering coach-hire anywhere in the UK and mainland Europe through a network of partner companies. It has since begun expanding into new areas and now boasts a dedicated fleet of over sixty coaches.
Mansfield Town’s 3-1 win over Chasetwon in the FA Trophy this evening leaves City without a game this weekend. The Stags will now face Luton Town at Field Mill on Saturday in the semi-final 1st leg meaning City will have to rearrange their trip to Nottinghamshire.
Kaid Mohamed rescued a point for City in the 95th minute against Kettering Town at Twerton Park this afternoon. Trailing to Marna’s 29th minute goal as the game went into the final minute of stoppage time, Mohamed reacted quickest after Poppies keeper Bussey could only parry Sido Jombati’s well-struck shot to fire the ball into the roof of the net from a narrow angle. Despite the timing of the goal it was no less than City deserved as they dominated the second half of the game without ever looking at their fluent best. The first half was a more even affair after City started the game on top and it was the visitors who took the lead just before the half hour mark when Sekani Simpson, struggling with a leg injury he’d suffered moments before, failed to clear and Marna’s low shot gave Ryan Robinson no chance. Marley Watkins should have done better with a header just before the interval but he failed to trouble Bussey and this continued to be the case in the second half as, for all their possession, City’s final pass or shot was too often poor. However, just when it looked as if they would suffer their first back to back league defeats of the season Mohamed struck to move City a point nearer their pre-season minimum target of 48.
City could now enjoy a two-week break before their next match. They are due to travel to Mansfield Town next Saturday but if the Stags win their FA Trophy quarter-final replay against Chasetown on Tuesday they will be involved in the semi-final first leg with Luton Town instead.
City have received the sad news that former captain and assistant manager Dave Palmer has passed away aged just 49 following complications during heart pacemaker surgery. After beginning his career with Bristol Rovers he joined City in 1980 and would go on to spend over 16 years at Twerton Park – 13 as a player then three assisting manager Tony Ricketts. During that time he played 445 games to currently lie fourth in City’s all-time appearance table, scoring 23 times many with his trademark fierce left-foot shot, and is widely considered one of the best left-back’s to ever play for the club. Thoughts are with his family and friends.
City will look to bounce back from Tuesday night’s 5-1 hammering at Rushden & Diamonds when Kettering Town visit Twerton Park on Saturday. The defeat was the heaviest since manager Adie Britton joined the club in July 2005 and the first time City have conceded five goals in a league game since October 2004. That came at Histon in the Southern League Premier Division and in their next outing City recorded a battling 1-0 FA Cup win over Leatherhead, a result they would no doubt take against the Poppies.
The Northamptonshire side come into the game on the back of an equally disappointing result in the week having lost 3-1 at Tamworth. This defeat was compounded by a double sending off, Callum Wilson for two bookings and goalkeeper Ryan Rayner for handling outside his area. The latter leaves manager Marcus Law with a potential goalkeeping crisis ahead of the game with City as he is already without first-choice shot-stopper Willie Gueret after he was sent-off against Newport County for violent conduct. Incredibly Kettering have now fielded seven different keepers this season (not including Brett Solkhon who took over the gloves at Tamworth) and Law will need to find an eighth on Saturday. These three red cards took the Poppies total to nine dismissals this season and, in addition to the 69 cautions they have incurred, this leaves them well adrift at the foot of the Conference Fair Play table. By contrast City sit proudly at the top of this table, with just two red and 31 yellow cards in their 35 league games.
A win over Tamworth would have drawn the Poppies level with City on 45 points as both sides close in on the 50 point mark that should ensure another season of Blue Square Bet Premier football. But for their recent poor away form they would already have surpassed this total – the Tamworth defeat was their fifth in a row on the road – however given their off the field problems, including wage cuts and the uncertainty surrounding their future at Rockingham Road, it still looks set to be a good season for the club.
Complete record against Kettering Town
The meeting gives City an immediate chance to gain a measure of revenge for their unfortunate 2-1 defeat in Northants two weeks ago when it took a wonder strike from on loan forward Mill in injury-time to separate the sides. This will be the Poppies 40th trip to Twerton Park and although they have won their last two visits City have been victorious 17 times to Kettering’s ten. The most memorable recent encounter took place on the opening day of the 1990-91 season. City were back in the Vauxhall Conference following promotion from the Southern League whereas the Poppies were looking to build on three successive top five finishes and finally claim a Football League place. However, after 45 minutes it was City who looked the likely title challengers as they raced into a three-goal lead. They even managed to miss a penalty on eight minutes, Paul Randall seeing his spot kick saved by Paul Bastock, before John Freegard headed Ian Weston’s 23rd minute cross into the net. Chris Smith then raced the full length of the Kettering half and fired past Bastock to make it 2-0. And three minutes before the interval Randall made up for his penalty miss by slotting home from Chris Banks’ long ball forward. However, this miss would eventually come back to haunt City as the visitors pulled a goal back within one minute of the restart, previous season Conference top scorer Cooke converting a far post header. Another header, this time from Graham, made it 3-2, before the comeback was completed on 72 minutes thanks to Cooke’s second goal. By the end of September City were rock bottom of the league without a win whilst Kettering had only dropped another two points out of the first 33 to lead the league, although both would remain in the same division at the campaign’s conclusion.
After the tired performance at Rushden, City will hope to be able to freshen up their squad with the return of a couple of the players who missed that game through injury. The most likely of these is Joe Burnell who is close to recovering from the bruised ribs he suffered in game at Kettering. Lewis Hogg may also be available again but given the day-to-day nature of his pelvic injury that is a decision that will be made on the day of the game. Definitely still missing are Luke Ruddick (hamstring), Danny Webb (cheek) and Adie Harris (calf).
City suffered their biggest defeat of the season tonight as Rushden & Diamonds ran out 5-1 winners at Nene Park. The star Diamond was Michael Gash, netting four of the five goals, with just Scott Murray’s penalty giving City fans something to cheer. Gash opened the scoring on nine minutes, heading a corner past Ryan Robinson, but this lead only lasted six minutes as Murray’s cross was handled by a defender and he fired home the resultant penalty. Lifted by this City had their best spell of the game but in the 26th minute Gash headed his second and from then on their was only one team in it. Another header, this time from Charles, made it 3-1 with six minutes left in the half before Gash completed his hat-trick on the stroke of half-time. City did manage to stem the tide somewhat after the interval without ever looking likely to find a way back into the game and Gash struck his fourth goal, and the home side’s fifth, on 73 minutes from O’Connor’s cross.