Next Match – Havant & Waterlooville (A)

Bath City travel to Hampshire this weekend to take on struggling Havant & Waterlooville.

The Hawks have suffered a miserable campaign when many expected them to challenge at the top. Two managers have been sacked, nearly 40 players used and a mere five points away from home have contributed to Havant sitting second bottom and nine points from safety with 13 matches left.

Four points from the opening eight games, combined with a woeful end to last season, meant Jamie Collins was dismissed and replaced by Steve King. Despite a wealth of experience in National League South and some useful signings, King’s reign was a miserable one. Two points from 11 league games and exits from three cup competitions saw him dismissed following a 3-1 loss at Maidstone in December, their eighth reversal in a row in all competitions. As if by magic, they won three immediately, but six losses in eight since means they remain in the mire and are in danger of being cut adrift. Since King’s departure, they’ve been overseen by caretaker manager Cliff de Gordon alongside allies Ross Betteridge and Richard Pope. They’ve inherited the likes of Ben Morgan, currently on loan at Havant from City, so he will be ineligible against his parent club this weekend.

Having finished below Havant in the last three completed seasons, City are 32 points better off than the side who remain 23rd having lost a crunch clash at Eastbourne on Tuesday. Bath won the reverse fixture 2-0 at Twerton Park last September thanks to a Scott Wilson double. The Bristolian has been a thorn in Havant’s side – he’s scored five of City’s last six against the Hawks and netted at Westleigh Park on the final day of the 2015/16 season for Weston-super-Mare. That finish, coupled with Margate only losing 2-0 at Twerton Park, meant Havant were relegated to the Isthmian League by a solitary goal. They bounced back immediately and defeated City in November 2019, but haven’t overcome the Romans since in the league.

City have won their last five league matches, their longest sequence since August 2015 when they recorded six in a row to start the season. The sixth then was against Havant & Waterlooville, a 5-0 mauling at Twerton Park with braces for Dave Pratt and Andy Watkins plus a Frankie Artus strike. The Hawks have lost four of their last five, with their win in between on their patch to play-off chasing Chelmsford. Five wins in seven at home under the stand-in management gives them a semblance of hope.

Come along and see if Jerry Gill’s side can continue this run of form – book your space on the supporters coach here and cheer on the Romans!