City’s pre-season friendly fixture list will see three Coca-Cola League sides visit Twerton Park, including 1st Division Reading. The Royals, who finished in ninth place last season just three points off the play-offs, open City’s pre-season campaign on Tuesday 13 July. Three days later Bristol Rovers visit their former home and then 3rd Division play-off finalists Mansfield Town make the trip to Bath on Saturday 31 July. City will also face Conference side Forest Green Rovers at Twerton Park and short trips to Frome Town, Yate Town and Clevedon Town. The full list is:
Friday 16 July Bristol Rovers (H) ko 7.30pm
Thursday 22 July Frome Town (A) ko 7.45pm
Saturday 24 July Clevedon Town (A) ko 3pm
Saturday 31 July Mansfield Town (H) ko 3pm
Tuesday 3 August Yate Town (A) ko 7.30pm
Saturday 7 August Forest Green Rovers (H) ko 3pm
Clandown-based business Wheeler & Co (Concrete Products) Ltd will grace the front of City’s shirts next season after they were drawn out of the hat at the annual sponsors’ draw. The manufacturing company are run by former director and lifelong City fan John Newth. The draw took place at a gala evening attended by Buffy actor Tony Head, Southampton captain and former City defender Jason Dodd and Radio Bristol presenter Geoff Twentyman, plus the Mayor of Bath and head of BANES Council.
Frankie Bennett looks to have played his last game for City after contract talks between him and manager Gary Owers broke down. The former Bristol Rovers winger, who made 78 appearances during his two seasons with City scoring 6 goals in that time, had been offered a new deal but following a telephone discussion with Owers decided not to take the talks any further. The club has refused to confirm the details of the negoiations but with the frequent niggling injury problems Bennett has suffered in recent months it is likely that this played a part in the contract offer.
By contrast it appears as if striker Steve Tweddle will sign a new deal in the next couple of days. The 34-year old had delayed putting pen to paper due to increased work committments but talks with Owers look to have overcome this issue.
Matt Coupe’s late call-up to the Welsh semi-professional squad ended in triumph after he played a vital part in his countries victory in the Four Nations tournament. After he sat out the first match, a goalless draw with hosts Scotland, City’s player of the season was selected for the next two matches against England and Ireland. Playing at right-back he helped the Welsh to a 2-0 win over England and a 4-1 success against the Irish which secured victory in the annual competition.
The draw for next seasons Somerset Premier Cup has given City a trip to either Welton Rovers or Brislington in the 2nd Round after receiving a bye in the 1st.
Steve Tweddle’s (pictured) future at City will depend on whether he can balance increased work responsibilites with the committment to the club. Last season’s second top scorer has been offered a new contract but will meet with manager Gary Owers to discuss the possibilty that he may be required to miss games due to his role as a regional sales manager. The former Chippenham Town striker missed four weeks during the early part of last season when he was in America and is due to travel there again for 10 days this August.
City’s player of the season Matt Coupe has seen his impressive form rewarded with a call-up to the Wales semi-professional squad competing in the Four Nations tournament in Scotland next week. The St Asaph, North Wales born defender, who previously played for the Welsh side two years ago while with Forest Green Rovers and has also represented Wales schoolboys, could become the first City player to represent his country at this level whilst at the club.
Any hope City had of a cash windfall from the transfer last summer of Jamie Gosling to Yeovil Town have been dashed after the midfielder was released by the Third Division side following their failure to make the play-offs. Gosling joined the Glovers in July 2003 on a free transfer but with a pay-as-you-play deal plus sell-on clause. However, the 22-year old only made five starts plus 13 substitute appearances, which earned City a single undisclosed 4-figure payment, before being loaned to Aldershot Town in March 2004.
Scott Partridge has confirmed that he will be staying at City despite their failure to make the new Conference set-up. The former Bristol City striker scored an incredible 18 goals in just 20 league outings following his arrival from Weymouth in January 2004 and this red-hot form understandably led to speculation that he would be looking for a move to a higher standard. However, Partridge, who is contracted with City until the end of the 2005-06 season, has pledged his future to City saying, “Gary (Owers) has done a great job turning things around and with a lot of the lads given new deals we’ve got a good base to work from. I know I could play at a higher level but I haven’t even thought about leaving. I’m getting on with my plumbing career and I’m playing at a club close by to my family.”
The restructuring of non-league football has left City in the Southern League but facing a number of new teams along with some more familiar faces. Chippenham Town remain the only local rivals worthy of the comment, although Cirencester Town and Gloucester City also mean two more short trips. Seven teams make the switch from the Isthmian League which will see City regularly heading up the M4 to the Home Counties. Overall, the changes will only see a reduction of just over 100 miles in City’s total travelling, as they will still face three trips over 170 miles to King’s Lynn, Grantham Town and Histon. The complete list of teams, including last season average attendance and distance from Bath, is:
Yesterday a Gary Owers All-Star XI took part in a testimonial for Forest Green Rovers keeper Steve Perrin at Melksham Town FC. Owers’ side included former City boss Paul Bodin, assistant manager Vaughan Jones, Radio Bristol’s Geoff Twentyman plus former City players David Mehew and Chris Smith. The City connection in Perrin’s Forest Green/Melksham XI were Steve Tweddle, Rob Cousins, Steve Jenkins (who scored a stunning goal) and Ian Hedges. The game finished 4-3 to Forest Green/Melksham, with Stafford Rangers Neil Grayson grabbing a hat-trick for Owers’ side. For a few pictures from the game click here.
Following Monday’s play-off disappointment Gary Owers has begun planning next season’s Southern League campaign with the release of four players and signing of one new one. On their way from Twerton Park are 2002/03 top scorer Jason Eaton, Steve Jenkins and Josh Jeffries, all released, plus Drew Shore who has turned down a new deal. Coming the other way is 18-year old left-sided attacking player Dean Stevens from Torquay United. Almost all of the rest of last season’s squad have either signed a new contract or are in negotiations:
- Existing contract: Gary Owers, Scott Partridge, Bobby Ford, Russell Milton, Paul Evans, Andy Williams, Sam Bailey, Graeme Power
- Signed new contract: Matt Coupe, Jim Rollo, Steve Jones, Mike Trought, Ricky Hulbert, Justin ShuttlewoodStriker Steve Tweddle has agreed a new deal and talks are still ongoing with Frankie Bennett and Grant Monelle. Loan striker Jamie Cook has returned to Stevenage, although Owers will continue to monitor his situation, and Iain Harvey, who missed the majority of the season due to a broken ankle sustained during pre-season, will return when training commences on June 30 to try to earn a new contract.
Today saw City’s play-off conquerors Dorchester Town secure a Conference 2 place with a 3-1 victory over Tiverton Town. In the other play-off match Merthyr Tydfil were beaten 3-0 by Redditch United, who make the leap from the Dr Martens Western League to Conference 2 in one go.
City’s season came to a heartbreaking conclusion this afternoon at Twerton Park when they were beaten 4-2 by Dorchester Town in the Conference 2 play-offs. For the third game in a row a early Scott Partridge goal got City off to a flyer but Dorchester drew level through Holmes before the interval. The game was effectively over for City within 15 minutes of the restart when Keeler and Groves put the visitors 3-1 up and Partridge limped from the game with a knee injury. With quarter of an hour left City grabbed a lifeline, Steve Tweddle firing home from close range, but despite several close calls they couldn’t find an equaliser. Deep in stoppage time Brown blasted in the Magpie’s fourth to set a up play-off final date with Tiverton Town.
After winning the supporters and players player of the season awards yesterday defender Matt Coupe has completed a treble by topping the vote on this web site. After a mixed start to the season the 25-year has got better and better, either at right-back or in the centre of defence, as his six man-of-the-match awards show, which was only bettered by recent goalscoring hero Scott Partridge. Player-manager Gary Owers came second, just holding off Partridge into third place. The full vote was:
2. Gary Owers 18
3. Scott Partridge 15
4. Jim Rollo 7
5. Frankie Bennett 4
6=. Sam Bailey 2
6=. Justin Shuttlewood 2 (!)
8=. Paul Evans 1
8=. Darren Hawkins 1
8=. Alfie Carter 1
8=. Bobby Ford 1
City will face Dorchester Town at Twerton Park on Monday in the Conference 2 play-offs after two Scott Partridge goals fired them to a 2-0 victory over Welling United this afternoon. City got off to the perfect start when Partridge took advantage of hesitation in the Wings defence to put City ahead after just two minutes. Moments later he hit the post as City threatened to run away with the game. However, the visitors soon settled and gave City some nervous moments in the rest of the half, with Paul Evans called into action on several occasions. The second half continued in a similar manner but with 20 minutes remaining Russell Milton’s shot was blocked by Statham’s hand and City were awarded a penalty. Partridge’s first effort was saved by Naisbett but the referee adjudged that he had encroached and Scotty made no mistake the second time to resister his 17th goal of the season, and his 8th in the last three games. The rest of the game passed with little danger of a comeback by Welling and once the other DML results came through City’s play-off opponents were confirmed as the Dorset side.
In the bar after the match Matt Coupe was named supporters player of the season. Coupe also took the players player award along with Jim Rollo. Supporter of the season went to Brian York and Ross Colebrook was given the young supporter award. Youth team player of the year went to Ricky Hulbert.