City have been given the chance to claim their second top Conference scalp of the season after being paired with Rushden & Diamonds in the 3rd round of the FA Trophy. The tie, to be played at Twerton Park on Saturday 15 January, will also give City the chance to revenge last seasons Trophy exit at the hands of the Northamptonshire side.
After last weeks first league defeat City returned to winning ways as they outclassed Erith & Belvedere to move into the 3rd Round of the FA Trophy. Two goals each from Mike Davis and Graham Colbourne plus a Mark Harrington strike gave City a 5-0 victory over the Dr Martens Southern and East side. The game was dominated by City from the kick-off, although they did have a great escape before they took the lead. A James mistake allowed an unmarked Hackett a chance from five yards out but, with the goal begging, he fired his shot straight at Jackson. Minutes later Davis neatly knocked home a Harrington pass and after that there was only one winner. Harrington converted Paul’s cross to double the lead before half-time, before Colbourne’s low shot made it three. Davis’ second came from a Bodin cross and a Colbourne header completed the scoring. Further chances for Paul, who also had a first half strike ruled out for offside, Colbourne and Richards could have increased the scoring, as Jackson was a virtual spectator at the other end.
In the Dr Martens League City were done a favour by near neighbours Clevedon Town, as Steve Fey’s side held league leaders Boston United to a goalless draw. And in the Somerset Premier Cup City have been paired with Screwfix League side Mangotsfield United in the quarter finals. The game will take place at Twerton Park on the 8 February.
The possibility of a move to a new stadium took a step forward with chairman Steve Hall setting a 21 February 2000 deadline for prospective developers of Twerton Park to provide their plans for City’s new ground. He has also revealed that one potential purchaser has already bought land that could house a new 6000 seater stadium. The deadline will allow any bids to be unveiled at the directors meeting with Coporate Equity, the clubs major shareholder, on 23 February. In the continuing merry-go-round of favoured sites for the new ground, the current possibilites are Bath R***y’s training ground at Lambridge or Stothert and Pitt’s recreation ground on the Lower Bristol Road.
City have been handed a trip to Midland & West Division newcomers Tiverton Town in the 2nd Round of the Dr Martens Cup. The tie will take place at the former Screwfix League side’s Ladymead ground on Wednesday 8 December.
And, also on the pitch, City won a benefit match at Highworth by six goals to three last night. City goals came from a Jimmy Fraser hat-trick, Fidell Richards, Eddie Howell and Martin Paul, in a match that raised around £1000 for Highworth player Graham Summers, who suffered a broken leg during the summer.
It was fourteenth time unlucky as City’s unbeaten league start came to an end with a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Tamworth. After the recent rather lacklustre performances City outplayed the home side for long periods of the game but a series of defensive lapses cost them at least a share of the points. They went into the break a goal down after a poor Elliot Jackson punch was turned goalwards by Smith and, despite Clode’s clearance, the linesman ruled the ball had crossed the line. Apart from a couple of speculative efforts this was the only time the home side had threatened Jackson’s goal but once again City’s neat approach play was not matched by their finishing. Skidmore was unlucky when shaky keeper Acton spilled a Colbourne shot and James should have done better when given a clear sight of goal. The second period was following a similar pattern as City continued to take the game to Tamworth until around the hour mark they got a deserved equaliser. Bodin’s deep cross was headed back across goal and Harrington applied the finishing touch from two yards out. However, within a minute the home side were ahead again, Hallam converting a Smith cross that Jackson could only half parry. City came straight back and equalised again from the penalty spot. Having already turned down two clearer looking penalties the referee spotted the intervention of a defenders hand and pointed to the spot. Despite missing his previous two kicks Martin Paul stepped up to bury the kick. The game then boiled over as Paul and Acton squared up. In the melee a number of punches were thrown but the referee took no action. The game was now finely balanced but it was Tamworth who stole the three points when Haughton was allowed to turn and fire a low shot across Jackson into the bottom corner. Despite their efforts City couldn’t find a third equaliser and were left to reflect on the end of their unbeaten run. The noisy celebrations in the Tamworth dressing room (portacabins, not very soundproof) showed home much it meant to them and, depsite the a number of home fans saying City were the best side they’d met this season, it was a disappointed City following that headed for the bar to rest their aching limbs.
These limbs had carried the City supporters team to within a minute of their maiden win against their Tamworth counterparts prior to the main game. Goals from James Weaver and a Simon Godwin (who later limped off like a big wuss) penalty had turned around a 1-0 half time deficit, before another successful spot kick gave Tamworth a share of the spoils.
City moved into the 2nd Round of the Dr Martens Cup with a 2-1 victory over Merthyr Tydfil at Twerton Park tonight. The goals came from a neat volley by Graham Colbourne after 12 minutes and a 25 yard free kick from man of the match Scott Walker shortly before half-time. Inbetween Merthyr scored when Gary Shephard rounded Elliot Jackson to roll home the equaliser. Mixing a handful of first teamers with youth and fringe players City were good value for the victory, although their case was helped when Merthyr lost keeper Thomas at half-time with a leg injury. Walker saw another free kick crash against the bar and Jimmy Fraser was also unlucky on a couple of occasions. The visitors also hit the bar but rarely tested Jackson, who also took a knock towards the end of the game.
City have had to rearrange their visit to Crawley Town again after Martin Paul and Jon Holloway where chosen for a Dr Martens representitive side. The match against a Conference side will take place on 7 December at VS Rugby, the night which City were due to travel to Sussex. That game will now take place on 29 February.
City slipped another two points behind league leaders Boston United as they were held to a goalless draw by Ilkeston Town at Twerton Park this afternoon. As at Atherstone on Monday City lacked the invention to break down a defensively minded opponent and, even when they did create openings, the clinical finishing was missing. City did have the ball in the net in the first half but Skidmore’s effort was ruled out after a foul by Colbourne. The second period continued with both defences on top, although City did have one close escape when a cross shot came back off Elliot Jackson’s bar. With the majority of the crowd drifting towards the bar for the England v Scotland clash City almost stole the game in injury time. The ball broke to Davis in the visitors box but he saw his right foot shot pushed away superbly by Town keeper Beattie. With Boston’s one goal win over next weeks opponents Tamworth the Lincolnshire side now lead City by eight points and, despite (or because of) City’s three games in hand, there are already echos of Nuneaton’s runaway success last season.
Nick Brooks has ended a six year association with City and made the short journey over the Severn Bridge to Newport County, teaming up again with Gary Smart in the process. The move to the Dr Martens side comes despite an offer of a move back to the Conference with Yeovil Town.
Yeovil Town have made a surprise move to tempt former City captain Nick Brooks to deepest Somerset, as the player wins the fight to regain fitness after his career threatneing knee injury. The midfielder, currently playing for Screwfix League side Brislington, had been hoping to restart his career at City after battling back from the knee trouble that has dogged him for 18 months, but now could make a return to action in the Conference. He had also been offered a move to an unamed Dr Martens League side (Clevedon, anyone?) and City have admitted that they cannot match either deal.
City saw two points slip away as they were denied a victory by a battling Atherstone United in a goalless stalemate at Sheepy Road last night. Despite playing some neat football and creating a number of openings City failed to really test home keeper Higgs, with Colbourne the main culprit, missing two great chances in the first period. Davis also headed over when well placed and the finishing touch was missing as City searched for the vital goal. A volley from Bodin flew inches wide and, in a last desperate move City brought on Skidmore in place of Colbourne, but this move failed to bring the winning goal. The home side had shown their intention fron the start, playing five men across the back, and seemed delighted with the draw. In truth, though, their long ball game probably produced the clearer openings, particularly when Jackson was forced to push a shot onto the bar. The draw leaves City three points behind Boston and they will hope Rothwell can do them a favour tonight.
Courtesy of Non League on the Net the latest odds for the Dr Martens Premier Division championship see City named as 11/4 favourites. While a nice compliment (although probably based on looking at the table and seeing City have games in hand) it comes with the knowledge that previous favourites Worcester City are currently struggling in the relegation zone. The complete odds are: 11/4 Bath City, 3/1 Boston United, 7/2 Burton Albion, 8/1 Margate, 10/1 Ilkeston Town, 12/1 Newport County, 16/1 King’s Lynn.
In a fiercely competitive local derby City put their FA Cup defeat behind them to beat a poor Gloucester side by five goals to one, moving back to second spot in the Dr Martens League in the process. The visitors aim seemed to be to kick City out of their stride and, after a series of bookings, they were deservedly reduced to 10 men, losing Tommy Callinan after he threw a punch at ex-Tiger Jon Holloway. By this point City were already two goals up, Mark Harrington firing home from the edge of the box on two minutes and then Martin Paul producing a stunning 50 yard run and slotting the ball past Gannaway. The second half began with Gloucester pulling a goal back, an unmarked Rose heading home, but this seemed to wake City up. Paul added the third with a delightful chip after a through ball by Harrington. Colburne was then given the freedom of the Gloucester box to knock home the fourth, before the scoring was completed by Fergusson heading into his own net. A harsh handball decision gave Paul the chance to complete his third hat-trick of the season but Gannaway pushed away his spot kick. With Margate and Newport both losing the win moves City back into second place four points behind leaders Boston, who beat Dorchester 3-0.
Fielding just one player who started the Hendon FA Cup defeat (Elliot Jackson) a City side comprising fringe first-teamers and the pick of the youth team ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Bridgwater Town to move into the last eight of the Somerset Premier Cup. Despite the inexperienced line-up City produced three goals of the highest quality. The pick of these was a stunning 30 yard effort from Lee Vickerman, which flew into the top corner like a bullet. Either side of this strike youth players Eddie Howell, with a close-range volley, and Simeon Allison, a neat lob from the edge of the box, completed the scoring. Further chances for Howell, Jimmy Fraser and Scott Walker could have added to the scoring but Paul Bodin, who made a 15 minute cameo appearance up front, was happy with the result and performance.
City first-team players return to league action on Saturday with the visit of Gloucester City to Twerton Park. The match will see Jon Holloway lining up against his former side and, with the midfielder just one booking away from a suspension, on his best behaviour, I’m sure.
City’s disappointment at their FA Cup exit was compounded when it was discovered that during the game a thief had broken into the home dressing room and stole wallets and jewellery from the City players. The robbery took place during the first half, despite the changing room being locked, and six players lost possessions.