The National League South season is finally upon us! This Saturday 5th August City start their campaign at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park, home of Dartford FC (KO 3pm).
Form is incredibly important in football, and after this pre-season, the Romans have it in abundance. Ollie Wright has five clean sheets from eight games between the sticks while Dan Hayfield and Cody Cooke have scored three apiece this July. City ended pre-season unbeaten in five. On the other hand, Dartford drew two and lost seven of their nine friendlies, the latest at Leatherhead on Tuesday night where a largely second string side were overcome by the Step 4 outfit.
That was the final game of a marathon length pre-season for Alan Dowson. Fittingly, the Geordie walked that distance around the perimeter of Dartford’s pitch two weeks ago. He started the 140 laps in a Teletubby costume following a £200 donation from former City defender Ben Gerring. Dowson raised around £3,000 for the Football Club for his efforts.
Perhaps one of the toughest games of the season is staring Jerry Gill’s men in the face but the Romans are determined to come out of the blocks strong this season. The Darts finished 2nd last campaign, losing on penalties to St Albans in the play-off semi-finals (the third time in four years they’ve lost a play-off shoot-out), and in the last thirteen league matches against the Kent side, Bath have only won once. Last December they drew 0-0 in an early kick-off, their first draw at Princes Park. An inspired block by Tom Bonner late on kept the hosts’ clean sheet intact – the centre-back has recently hung up his boots with fellow defensive partner Connor Essam also among those moving on. New signings include Lewis Manor, who scored against Dartford in April for Concord, and Baris Altintop, a versatile defender who netted a stoppage time winner against the Romans for Braintree in January.
This is the third opening day meeting between the two in National League South, Saturday’s hosts won 2-1 and 2-0 at Twerton in 2018 and 2022 respectively.
It would be great to see a big travelling support for Bath on the first game of the season. Spaces are still available on the Supporters coach; you can book via bathcityfcsc.com. We hope to see you all in Kent this weekend!
Who – Dartford vs Bath City
When – Saturday 5 August, KO 3pm
Where – Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park