Next Match – Chelmsford City (A)

Bath City travel to Chelmsford this Saturday for the first of two tough Saturday away matches against teams currently above them in the National League South play-off positions.

The Clarets are second in the league despite losing 1-0 at home on the Monday of last week to fellow play-off contenders Worthing – Bath City’s opponents next Sunday – and 2-0 at Maidstone United this Tuesday just gone. Last Saturday they won 4-1 away against Truro City, that match played at Gloucester City’s TigerTurf Stadium.

They are currently nine points ahead of Bath City in seventh place and still look odds-on to qualify for a place in the play-offs at least. That would give them a chance of eighth time lucky – remarkably they’ve lost seven times in the play-offs, including last year’s eliminator loss to St Albans.

Chelmsford striker Callum Jones has recently joined Isthmian Premier side Billericay Town on loan, but the club have also recently announced that Ipswich Town youngsters Henry Gray and Finley Barbrook have renewed their loan period and will now stay in Essex until the end of the season. Barbrook was dismissed in Tuesday’s loss at Maidstone, a day after, manager Robbie Simpson celebrated his fourth anniversary as Clarets boss. He initially arrived as a player in the summer of 2019 after he had left MK Dons. Simpson has received seven yellows from the bench this term while his team have had 11 dismissed in all competitions, nine in NLS which is a divisional high.

In freezing conditions on 2 December last year, Chelmsford won 3-2 at Twerton Park after coming back from 2-0 down, despite having Jazzi Barnum-Bobb sent off for a professional foul late in the first half – one of three red cards the Essex outfit have had overturned this term on appeal. Two Cody Cooke penalties had put the Romans in a commanding position, but a Danny Greenslade own goal just before half-time and two Freddie Hockey goals in the second half, the first also from the penalty spot, completed the turnaround.

It was the first time in Jerry Gill’s time in charge at Twerton Park that his side had lost from a two-goal lead, and the first time since September 2004 that City had lost to ten men from a winning position.

It was an altogether happier Saturday night for the Romans in the corresponding fixture last season. A 2-0 win on 4 February – with Scott Wilson and Tom Smith on target – gave City their biggest win at Melbourne Community Stadium to date.

Three players are set for milestones this weekend. Joe Raynes is currently on 199 appearances, Dan Hayfield has made 99 in all competitions while Elliott Frear is also one from the century for league outings.

There will be no supporters coach for this one but we still hope to see many City fans in Essex!