Following a mere one day break the Romans travel to St Albans City this Monday 28 August.
Matches in the National League South are ramping up as the trip to Hertfordshire marks both teams’ sixth game this August.
There have been no doubts about the Romans’ attacking ability early on this season – no team in Step 2 has scored more than the 13 from Jerry Gill’s men – which might give the Stripes a boost before a tough fixture against a bogey side. Recent results facing the Saints have not gone Bath’s way, racking up five straight defeats with three of those games not seeing City net including last year’s 3-0 loss at Clarence Park which saw Jordan Dyer dismissed. However they head to Clarence Park with a fine 10 points from five games following Saturday’s brilliant victory over Hampton & Richmond Borough, which also saw Alex Fletcher return to a rapturous applause. It felt like a new signing alongside summer attacking arrivals Jordan Thomas and Ewan Clark, who have scored six between them in a productive start to their careers at Twerton. Clark also netted against St Albans in the 2021/22 season during his stint at Oxford City.
St Albans will be slightly dissatisfied with their inconsistent start to the season (two wins and three defeats) after finishing in the NLS play-offs last campaign. Having seen off Chelmsford and Dartford, Oxford proved a step too far in the final where they soundly lost 4-0 with all four goals scored in the first half. It extended their run in this division for another season, in fact the Romans and the Saints have been established NLS teams for years, their 12th and 10th successive seasons respectively. Last term saw long-serving boss Ian Allinson revert to commercial manager, a role he previously shared as first team boss, before departing just before City’s visit to Clarence Park last November. Aided by some canny loan signings and prolific striker Shaun Jeffers, new boss David Noble witnessed his side gain some consistency at the right time to finish 6th, their highest placing since promotion back to this level in 2014. Alas it’s been frustrating for the Saints this time out, illustrated by Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Taunton where former Roman Ross Stearn completed a brace in the eighth minute of time added on.
While it’s around a three-hour journey for City fans, some have light-heartedly christened this ‘the Roman Derby.’ St Albans wear their Roman heritage with pride in the form of a Roman shield as their club badge. Also, ever since their partnership began in 2021, the Saints will be donning the only shirt in the country with an electronic post-hardcore band as a sponsor. Said band Enter Shikari celebrated their first number one album in May. Let’s hope Ollie Wright can stop any more celebrations this Monday!
Who –St Albans City vs Bath City
When – Monday 28 August, 3pm
Where – Clarence Park