City’s busy February continues tomorrow evening when they travel to Larkhall Athletic for a Somerset Premier Cup quarter-final tie. With just 3.3 miles separating Twerton Park from Plain Ham it is City’s second* shortest possible away trip but with Jerry Gill’s squad hit by a number of injuries it is perhaps one they could do without at this time.
However, whichever Romans are fit and available for the game will no doubt do their best to move a step nearer a second successive appearance in the final of the competition.
The Larks reached this stage thanks to a 2-0 win over Wells City having received a bye in the 1st Round. Although they have never won the competition they did reach the final in 2016 where they lost 2-1 to Wells City at Taunton Town’s Wadworth Road ground.
They currently play in the Southern League Division One South having won promotion from the Western League back in 2014. After reaching the play-offs during their first season at that level they have finished mid-table ever since, but last season enjoyed a memorable FA Trophy run. Having never got past the qualifying rounds in their previous seven seasons in the competition, wins over Slimbridge, Paulton Rovers, Marlow, Wimborne Town and AFC Totten saw them reach they 4th Round where they were draw to face National League side Stockport County. The Hatters, who would go on to lift the National League title that season, won the game 3-0 but it was a remarkable achievement for Ollie Price’s side.
This season has been slightly more of a struggle with the side currently sitting in 15th place, just three points above the relegation zone. They have picked up just a single point from the last 12 available, suffering 5-0 defeats at both Hamworthy United and Evesham United during this run. There was also no repeat of their FA Trophy heroics as they went out to Melksham Town in the 1st Qualifying Round.
There may be a couple of players with connections to City lining up against them tomorrow. Club captain Brad Norris made 15 appearances for the Romans during the 2012-13 season, although 13 were from the bench, scoring once in the 4-0 win over Wellington in this competition. Brothers Jack and Alfie Kelsey both played for City’s U18 side, with Jack named on the bench once during the 2-0 defeat at Taunton Town, once again in the Somerset Premier Cup. And Jordan Williams played for City against Larkhall when the sides last faced each other in a pre-season match in July 2021.
That game was the fourth time the clubs had faced each other during pre-season, all at Plain Ham with City running out winners each time, as they also did in the one competitive meeting, a Somerset Premier Cup 2nd Round tie at Twerton Park during the 2013-14 season. However, the Larks took City right to the wire in that game, with James Fisher’s decisive goal in the 2-1 scoreline coming in the final minute of extra-time.
*The shortest being the 2.4 miles to Odd Down FC’s home.