An 8th minute header by Chris Holland from a Richard Evans corner was enough to give City a 1-0 win over Maidenhead United at Twerton Park this afternoon. City were good value for this lead at the interval but had to endure several nervous moments in the second half as the vistors pressed them back for long spells. Despite a number of players suffering from a flu bug that had hit the City camp in the week – Lewis Hogg and Martin Slocombe were both sidelined with the bug – they were the better side in the opening period. However, after the break the Magpies dominated the game but couldn’t breach City’s backline, only twice forcing Steve Perrin into action, once redemning himself after a poor clearance and then pushing a shot onto the bar late on (that the referee awarded a goal kick which summed up the officials performance).
With tomorrow’s Blue Square South game against Maidenhead United possibly City’s last home match before Christmas (dependent on FA Trophy replays) it could be the final chance to buy presents for the City fans in your family. Amongst the items on sale in the City Meagastore will be the new Bath City Christmas Cards. There are four designs and they cost 50p each or £1.50 for a pack of four. Also available is the 2009 Bath City Calendar (£9), Football Manager 2009 (£15), Hacksaw CD (£5), Chelmsford City DVD (£6) plus loads of other items. If you can’t make the match you can still order any of the goods by contacting the club on 01225 423087. The Calendar and Football Manager game can be ordered directly via the website.
City will be holding their annual Christmas draw with a top prize of £500. Other prizes include an original Steve Hall painting, Microwave Oven, Zurich Sports watch plus many many more. Tickets are £1 each and the draw will take place at the Dorchester Town game on 26 December.
Following their comfortable FA Trophy progress with a 5-1 win over East Thurrock United, City return to Blue Square South action as play-off hopefuls Maidenhead United travel up the M4 to Bath. The Magpies currently sit in 3rd position – nine points ahead of 12th placed City – but are in their poorest form of the season, having suffered three successive league defeats plus an embarrassing FA Trophy exit to lower league opposition.
All four of these defeats have been at their home ground of York Road, which is in complete contrast to their early season home form when they dropped just two points out of a possible 18 in their first six games. With their away form almost as impressive they could have gone to the top of the table had they beaten fellow front-runners Chelmsford City three weeks ago but a 2-0 reversal was followed up by a 4-1 hammering by Eastleigh and a single goal defeat to struggling Newport County. The season then hit a further low as they crashed out of the FA Trophy to Southern League Division 1 Midlands side Chesham Town by four goals to two. This was their second cup exit at the hands of lower league opposition, having gone out of the FA Cup to Bashley at the 3rd Qualifying Round stage.
It had all looked so different at the start of November when a 2-0 win at Twerton Park over tenants Team Bath set up the top of the table clash with Chelmsford and they had also received the major boost of last season’s top scorer Manny Williams returning to the club. Williams had netted 30 goals for the Magpies during the 2007-08 season, which saw him join Blue Square Premier side Woking in May. However, this move did not work out and when he was made available on loan manager Johnson Hippolyte moved quickly to bring him back to York Road (although admitting he did not know how they were going to pay for him). With current strike force of Richard Pacquette and Lee Newman having netted 16 times in the league between them already, plus experienced striker Rocky Baptiste a recent arrival from Havant & Waterlooville, the return of Williams appeared to give them a real tilt at the Blue Square South title. So far, though, it has not quite worked out with Williams yet to find the form of last season and only Newman from the four-strong front line netting in the last five games. At the opposite end of the pitch they have also struggled with regular goalkeeper Shane Gore suffering a hamstring injury, forcing Hippolyte to bring in ex-Hemel Hempstead and Stevenage Borough shot stopper Steve Smith on loan.
Complete record against Maidenhead United
As previously mentioned Maidenhead only failed to win one of their opening six home league games of the season – in direct contrast to the previous campaign when they won just twice all season at York Road – which was the 0-0 draw with City back in August. This was the sixth meeting between the sides and the first time the Magpies had avoided defeat. A brace of league doubles in 2005-06 and 2007-08 plus an FA Cup win 1963 had given City a 100% record prior to this meeting. The game itself saw City still reeling from their opening day 4-0 home defeat to Welling United but they produced a much more typical defensive performance in denying the home side.
Star of The Full Monty and Trainspotting, Robert Carlyle, will be holding at talk at Twerton Park to raise funds for the club. The 47-year old Scottish actor, who also starred as the villian in the Bond film, The World is not Enough, is a long-time friend of former City director and world renowned film maker Ken Loach and it is that connection that has brought him to Bath. Carlyle first worked with Loach on the film Rif Raf in 1990 and starred in his 1996 production, Carla’s Song, having first made his name with an appearance in TV’s Cracker alongside Robbie Coltrane. Loach said, “We’ve been friends for a long time. He is such a popular, well-known actor, who appeals to everybody. We are hoping this talk will attract so many people. I am hoping that people who are interested in film in general will want to come along and talk to him about screen acting. We have been trying to sort this for ages but it is difficult because he is so busy. He is very unusual for our business because he is very guarded about his private life, so for him to do something like this is a real rarity. He is a very interesting man because he turns away from all the bright lights and celebrity culture.” The talk will take place at Twerton Park on Monday 8 December at 7.00pm. Tickets are £10 and are available through the club on 01225 423087.
The draw for the 1st Round of the FA Trophy has handed City a tough trip to Blue Square Premier title-chasers Torquay United. The Gulls started the season slowly but have recently hit form, sitting in 3rd place and on a 16-match unbeaten run. The tie will give City a chance to gain revenge for last season’s FA Cup exit when a missed penalty by Lewis Hogg contributed to Torquay’s 2-0 success at Twerton Park. The match will take place at Plainmoor on Saturday 13 December (ko 3pm).
City progressed to the FA Trophy 1st Round after a 5-1 win over East Thurrock United at Twerton Park this afternoon, with all the goals coming during the 2nd half. The first half was largely uneventful with just two run and crosses by Richard Evans livening proceedings but within 38 seconds of the interval Stuart Douglas crossed for Sekani Simpson to blast the ball into the roof of the net and City never looked back. Dave Gilroy – on as a half-time substitute as City switched from 4-5-1 to a much more effective 4-4-2 – made it 2-0 on 58 minutes with a neat lob. Six minutes later Gethin Jones’ cross found the net after a mix-up between a Rocks defender and keeper. Gilroy grabbed his second from close range on 68 minutes before East Thurrock pulled a goal back through Bojowa’s low shot. Fittingly the final word went to City as Gilroy completed his hat-trick, rounding the keeper and rolling the ball into an empty net five minutes from time. The win earns City a much needed £4000 and the draw for the 1st Round is on Monday.
City are offering a special Christmas deal on half-season tickets. For just £100 (adult terrace) you can but a ticket to watch the final twelve home matches – starting on Boxing Day – of the 2008-09 season, saving £20 on the match by match cost. A stand ticket will cost £125 with concessions £65 (terrace) and £85 (stand). To buy a ticket contact the club on 01225 423087 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get a copy of Football Manager 2009 for the PC direct from Bath City Football Club for the bargain price of just £15. The latest incarnation of the best selling football management game has a recommended retail price of £39.99 and will still cost you £29.99 on play.com or hmv.com. However, you can get a copy for half that price with all proceeds going direct to the club. To order online click here or contact the club direct at email@example.com.
Following last night’s Somerset Premier Cup exit at Frome Town, City’s final chance of cup success this season is in the FA Trophy and they make their first outing in the 2008-09 competition with a home tie against East Thurrock United. This will be their first ever meeting with the Ryman League Division 1 North side, although their paths did nearly cross in the 2005-06 season following the Rocks runner-up spot in the Southern League Eastern Division the previous campaign. However, rather than joining City in the Southern League Premier Division they were switched to the Ryman League.
East Thurrock were only formed in 1969, initially playing in the Southern Essex Combination and Greater London League. They achieved senior non-league status in 1972 when they joined the Metropolitan-London League Division Two, immediately gaining promotion in their first season at that level. The late 1970’s saw them switch to the Essex Senior League where they spent 13 seasons – with a best placing of runners-up in 1988-89 – before a third-place finish in 1991-92 saw them promoted to the Isthmian League, initially in Division Three. In 1999-00 they won the championship of this division and were promoted to Division Two, then switched to Division One North upon league reorganisation. Two seasons later further reorganisation saw them become a Southern League side, albeit for just one year. They spent three seasons in the Ryman League Premier Division following their 2005 promotion before suffering relegation back to Division 1 but only because of a one point deduction for fielding an ineligible player.
Back in the Ryman League Division 1 North the Rocks have made an excellent start to this season under manager John Coventry – who took over the hot-seat midway through last season after long-serving manager Lee Pattison left to take over at Blue Square South side Braintree Town. After scoring twice in stoppage time to draw their opening match of the campaign 2-2 against Waltham Abbey they topped the table early in the season, and currently sit in fifth place having lost just three league games. They have already enjoyed a good run in the FA Cup – reaching the 3rd Qualifying Round before going out to Blue Square North side Tamworth – and to make this stage of the FA Trophy produced a surprise 4-2 win over Southern League Premier Division club Gloucester City.
Should Saturday’s game end up all square City will travel to Essex on Tuesday to the 4000 capacity Rookery Hill which, despite East Thurrock’s short history, is not their first home after a nomadic early existence. During the club’s first season as members of the Southern Essex Combination, in 1969-70, home matches were played at Corringham Recreation Ground. They subsequently moved to the Billet in Stanford-Le-Hope, before ground-sharing with nearby Grays Athletic in order to achieve senior status. The club spent further spells sharing with Tilbury and Grays, among others until finally, with the help of the The FA, Thurrock Council and brewers Greene King, the club acquired some land in Corringham and built Rookery Hill.
The search for the next generation of Bath City stars will kick off this weekend when the club’s new football academy is officially launched. The club have teamed up with Writhlington Business and Enterprise School, in Radstock, to establish a two-year course offering promising young players the chance to further their footballing careers while achieving advanced academic qualifications. John Relish – who stepped down as first-team boss last month to develop the academy – will be joined by school staff on the pitch at half-time during Saturday’s FA Trophy tie against East Thurrock United to celebrate the link-up. “A football academy is the way forward,” said Paul Williams, City’s managing director. “The club has to bring players through and there is nothing better than seeing youngsters progress through the ranks into the first team. Not every player will go on to play at a high level, of course, so it is important for them to get academic qualifications as well. The lads who complete this course will have the qualifications to go into sport management or coaching so they will have a fall-back position. The academy will take on its first recruits next September and talented footballers currently in Year 11 are now being invited to apply, with trials taking place in mid-December. Applicants will also be judged on their grades and will be expected to achieve good GSCE results.” City are hoping to take on up to 30 talented players, who will study towards a BTEC National Certificate in Sport at the school four mornings a week. They will train with newly-recruited City coaching staff in the afternoons and play for the under-18s, with the club applying to join the Football Conference Youth League where they will take on other academy sides. Writhlington is renowned for its sporting facilities, which were recently upgraded, and has already produced a professional footballer in Ashley Barnes, who joined Championship club Plymouth Argyle last season. Deputy head Bob Girvan is delighted with the link-up, saying: “This is a coup for the school – the only academy in the B&NES authority.” Any young players who would like to try out for the academy can call Paul Williams on 01225 423087 for more information.
City’s defence of the Somerset Premier Cup ended this evening at Badgers Hill when they went down 3-1 against Frome Town. With City resting a number of first choice players and the Robins always looking the more interested side the result was a fair reflection of the game. The Western League side suffered an early blow when captain Crowley was carried off with a suspected broken leg but they took the lead late in the half when Fussell took advantage of a mistake by Ashley Caldwell to fire home. City levelled just after the hour mark, Dave Gilroy beating the offside trap to knock the ball past Fey in the home goal. He almost gave City the lead shortly afterwards, heading Darren Edwards’ nod back just over, but another defensive error, this time by Matt Coupe, gifted Salter a chance he emphatically finished with ten minutes left. And deep in stoppage time Rawlins neat finish made it 3-1 to guarantee Frome a quarter-final place.
City have expressed their support for the recently formed ‘The Real Friends of the Rec’ group and reiterated how they will remain involved in all future discussions concerning the future of the Recreation Ground. The association has been set up to support the re-developement of the ground and, with City’s board still exploring all avenues in trying to provide the best stadium possible for the City’s football team, they have backed this aim. Director Phil Weaver said, “We at Bath City FC are certainly friends of the Rec and we hope that Bath Rugby are able to sort out the problems with the ground covenants etc. Bath Rugby have been on the Rec in one form or another for over 100 years and you don’t just throw away that history and tradition. While we already have our own ground, we are always interested in exploring alternatives, and there would be some advantages to having Bath City playing the national sport at a more high-profile stadium in the centre of the city. At this stage we are not making a positive bid for a move to the Rec, but we certainly want to remain involved in all discussions, as we have been until now, and we should like to lend our support to the campaign.” For further details on the campaign and how to register visit www.realfriendsoftherec.co.uk.
After the excitement and thrill of Saturday’s 3-2 win at league leaders Chelmsford City, City’s players return to action in the slightly less exciting and thrilling Somerset Premier Cup with a 2nd Round meeting against Frome Town at the Western League side’s Badgers Hill ground. However, if they are hoping for an easier match than the encounter in Essex they could be in for a disappointment as they meet an in-form Robins side. They come into the game on the back of a seven match winning run and have already come close to dumping City’s tenants and fellow Blue Square South side Team Bath out of the FA Cup. The 3rd Qualifying Round tie saw a Mark Salter brace give Frome a 2-0 half-time lead only for Team Bath to score twice in the final 15 minutes to force a replay. This match at Twerton Park saw Frome put up another brave display but in the end go down 4-0. There appeared to be a hangover from this defeat when they crashed 3-0 at home to Dawlish Town in their next match but since then five successive league wins, plus progress in the Somerset Premier Cup and FA Vase, has lifted them to fifth place in the Western League Premier Division with games in hand on the four sides above them.
The Robin’s line-up on Wednesday is likely to feature a number of players who have previously played for City. Amongst these is the aforementioned striker Mark Salter who spent a short spell at Twerton Park in 2003. He had made his name with Frome, scoring 79 times in just 129 games, which saw him join Third Division Southend United. That move did not work out though and after just a single goal in five appearances he joined City in May 2003. He still struggled to adapt to a higher standard, scoring just twice for City, and returned to Badgers Hill in November. Since then he has clearly found his level, scoring an incredible 260 goals in only 379 appearances, including 18 already this season. Other former City players include goalkeeper Richard Fey, who made a single appearance against his former club Clevedon Town in a 3-0 home defeat during the 2006-07 season, midfielder Sam Duggan, former youth team Captain Alex Lapham and defender Simeon Allison, who was a regular in the reserve side during the early 2000s.
Frome have played at Badgers Hill since their formation in 1904 with a record attendance of over 8000 cramming into the ground to watch their one and only appearance in the FA Cup 1st Round proper in 1954 against Leyton Orient. The ground saw much needed improvements in 1999, and then became the focus of considerable media attention during the 2003-04 season when the club engaged the services of a local “White Witch”, Titania Hardie, to overcome their poor home form. She ‘identified’ the decor of the home dressing room as the problem and after a bit of repainting they went on a great run to finish the season in 3rd place.
Complete record against Frome Town
This will be City’s first competitive meeting with Frome for over 24 years, although they were a regular opponent for their reserve side in the Western League. In 2001-02, the side’s penultimate season, the two clubs battled out for the Division 1 title with the Robins ending up winners. The first ever meetings between the teams took place in the Wiltshire League just after the start of the 20th Century and they also clashed in an FA Amateur Cup tie in 1907, the Robins running out 4-0 winners. With City becoming a Southern League club in 1921 their first team would not face Frome again until 1950 in an FA Cup Extra-Preliminary tie that saw City comfortably win 5-0 (although they would crash out to another Western League side, Welton Rovers, in the next round). The 1960s and 1970s saw them meet in various cup competitions another five times with City finishing victorious on each occasion. However, their most recent two clashes have both ended in defeat for the Romans, with the most infamous coming in an FA Cup tie in October 1984. City went into the game in good form, having suffered just three defeats in their opening twelve Gola League fixtures, and would have expected to comfortably brush past a side playing three levels below them (they had already won a pre-season match at Badgers Hill). The Robins, managed by a former City man Peter Thomas, had other ideas and, despite a goal from Keith Brown, a double from another ex-Twerton Park player Bertie Allen helped them to a shock 3-1 win.
City have confirmed that Jamie Gosling has left the club after he was transfer-listed last month. The midfielder has reached an agreement with the club to terminate his contract and is now free to find a new club. He returned to Twerton Park after five years away in July but a back-injury has restricted his availability, adding only another seven appearances to the 89 he made during his first spell with City.
City’s home Blue Square South match against Basingstoke Town has been arranged for Tuesday 16 December (ko 7.45pm).
City produced their best performance of the season to topple league leaders Chelmsford City this afternoon in a five-goal thriller. The victory was all the more remarkable as City played the final 20 minutes – plus five minutes stoppage time – with Steve Jones in goal after Paul Evans was red carded in the aftermarth of the home side’s 2nd goal. The Clarets showed why they came into the game five points clear at the top of the Blue Square South table, winning two corners in the opening minutes, although it was City who spurned a great chance to open the scoring on six minutes when Gethin Jones was denied by hosts keeper Gay. This was a rare foray into Chelmsford’s half as City’s injury-forced 4-4-1-1 line-up struggled to cope with the pace and power of the Essex side. They had already hit the post before Rainford headed them in front after 20 minutes. However, rather than ramming home this advantage Chelmsford seemed to fade after the goal and six minutes before the interval Miller handled Chris Holland’s header to gift City a penalty. Stuart Douglas’ weak effort was saved by Gay but Richard Evans fired home the rebound. Douglas redeemed himself within just nine seconds of the start of the second half when he bundled the ball home at the second attempt. On the hour mark it got even better for City as Matt Coupe headed Richard Evans’ corner back across goal for Gethin Jones to nod home. City were now defending their lead heroically only for the referee to hand Chelmsford a lifeline, harshly penalising Sekani Simpson for a challenge on Keeling in the box. Rainford fired home the penalty and as he attempted to grab the ball from Paul Evans he went down holding his face. After consulting with his linesman Mr Parker sent the big South African off and Steve Jones took over the gloves. The stand-in keeper kept Chelmsford out though, showing fautless handing on two or three occasions, to give City a stunning victory.
Saturday sees City make the long trip across the country to Essex to face Blue Square South leaders Chelmsford City at their Chelmsford Sport and Athletic Centre ground. In their first season at this level – having won the Ryman League last season – they are currently five points clear of second place Maidenhead United, although having played two games more than the Magpies. They’ve lost just two games so far this season, both at home to struggling Havant & Waterlooville and City’s last opponents Bromley. The position at the head of the table was strengthened in their last two outings with impressive victories over Maidenhead and fellow front-runners AFC Wimbledon. This great start to the season will have surprised few people after a series of notable signing during the summer. Amongst these were 32-year-old defender Steve Robinson who skippered Blue Square South champions Lewes to promotion last season, prolific forward Chris Moore from Dagenham & Redbridge, ex-Leyton Orient right-back Justin Miller and another former Dagger in the shape of midfielder Dave Rainford.
These moves sent out a clear message to the rest of the Blue Square South that the Clarets had the financial muscle to back a strong run at a second successive promotion, led by experienced manager Jeff King. King – one of non-league’s biggest characters – took over at Chelmsford in May 2006 shortly after leaving Canvey Island. He had been a player with the Islanders before becoming the club’s owner and manager in 1992. At the time they were an Essex Senior League side but he oversaw – both financially and managerially – their meteoric rise to the Conference (plus two FA Trophy Final appearances along the way). However, after two seasons at the pinnacle of non-league football he announced he would no longer fund the club and switched his allegiance 18 miles North to Chelmsford. While his former club were forced to resign from the Conference and drop three divisions, King was leading the Clarets to a Ryman League play-off place in 2007. They lost in the semi-final to former landlords Billericay Town on penalties but the 2007-08 season saw them clinch the title on 5 April following a draw with Ramsgate, ending up nine points clear of runners-up Staines Town.
Midway through the 2005-06 season Chelmsford returned to play in their home town after eight and a half homeless years sharing first with Maldon Town and then Billericay Town. They had played at New Writtle Street since their formation in 1938 – before the ground was used by Chelmsford FC, an amateur club, for 16 years – but financial problems during the 1990’s culminated with the ground being sold off by the Official Receiver in 1997. At the time there were plans were for a multi million pound sport and leisure park on the outskirts of the town at Sandon but these would eventually come to nothing and Chelmsford began a ground share with Maldon Town at their new, but basic, Park Drive home. However, less than half way through the first season of the arrangement a fall out between landlord and tenant saw them on the move again, heading to Billericay in February 1998. The peculiarities of non-league football saw them miss out on promotion to the Southern League Premier Division that season due to a seating technicality, whilst their hosts were experiencing no such problems moving up to the Ryman League Premier Division. Another attempt to return to Chelmsford fell through early in the current decade but, boosted by finally achieving promotion in 2000-01 and a switch to the Ryman League three seasons later, Chelmsford Borough Council finally agreed they could come home to play at the Athletics Stadium at Melbourne Park. Although not an ideal venue it meant the club were back where they belonged and their first match at the Stadium in January 2006 saw a crowd of nearly 3000 watch a 2-1 win over, fittingly, Billericay Town.
Complete record against Chelmsford City
This will be the 66th meeting between the clubs with the Essex side having the better of the clashes, recording 31 wins compared with City’s 20 successes. They were regular Southern League opponents from their formation until the mid-1970’s. During this time they met twice at Twerton Park within the space of three days at the start of the 1960-61 season. The first clash was the Southern League Challenge Match, with City reigning League Champions and Chelmsford having lifted the Southern League Cup the previous season, which ended in a 5-2 win for the home side. The Clarets remained in the West Country to face City again in a league match on the Saturday but a Charlie Fleming brace was enough to condemn them to a second defeat. Another memorable meeting took place during the 1971-72 season, but from a City perspective for the wrong reasons, as the Clarets handed out a 7-0 thrashing on their way to the title – while City would finish the season relegated – which remained City’s heaviest defeat until September 2003 when Worcester City matched the scoreline.
The sides paths would diverge in the late 1970’s as City became founder members of the Alliance Premier League before rivalries were renewed in an FA Trophy 1st Round meeting just before Christmas 1985 which saw Chelmsford beat higher league City by two goals to one. City would gain their revenge two seasons later at New Writtle Street in a 2-1 FA Cup victory, thanks to goals from Dave Payne and Martyn Grimshaw, on their way to the 3rd Round proper of the competition. The 1989-90 season also saw City record a league double but the most recent meetings have been very much in favour of the Clarets. In fact, City have failed to score in the last four games between the clubs, the most recent taking place at Twerton Park in February 2004 ending in a 1-0 defeat. City’s last victory came in January 2002 while Chelmsford were playing at Billericay. Two of the scorers in the 3-1 win were Jamie Gosling and Lee Collier, both who are currently on City’s books but unlikely to feature in this game.
Last night Adie Britton took part in his first Meet the Manager evening since taking over the City hot-seat from John Relish last month. He was joined on the top table by his assistant Lee Howells, club captain Jim Rollo, player-coach Martin Paul plus chairman Geoff Todd and Managing Director Paul Williams. The question and answer session, which lasted over 2 1/2 hours, covered a wide variety of topics, including the mixed start to this season on the pitch, the budget, the team’s more attacking philosophy plus questions on specific players. For a full report on the evening please click here.
City slumped to a disappointing 3-1 Blue Square South home defeat against Bromley this afternoon. They got off to the worst possible start when after just two minutes a long throw was flicked on to McBean to convert from close range. He wasted another clear opening before the game was ten minutes old and the Kent side also hit a post before I’Anson made it 2-0 on 34 minutes with a neat finish. City had huffed and puffed but rarely looked like breaching the visitors rearguard and this continued into the second half, even after the introduction of Richard Evans well before the hour mark. The Lilywhites guaranteed the victory after 67 minutes when McBean grabbed his second goal turning the ball home from right on the line. After this City had their best period of the game and deservedly scored a consolation goal through Adam Connolly’s shot from the edge of the area, but it was too little too late for an unlikely fightback.
Recently appointed City manager Adie Britton will face his first Meet the Manager session on Monday 10 November at Twerton Park, starting at 7.30pm.
It’s back to Blue Square South action at Twerton Park on Saturday after City’s narrow Setanta Shield exit with Bromley making the trip West from Kent. The Lilywhite’s were City’s first opponent last season, as the sides made their bow in the Blue Square South. Nine months later they both went into the final match of the campaign with a chance to make the end of season play-offs, but whilst City were missing out with a 1-1 draw at Bishop’s Stortford, Bromley were also failing to make the top five thanks to a 1-0 home defeat to already relegated (though in the end they stayed up) Dorchester Town. This saw them finish in 11th place which given the managerial upheaval and on the pitch inconsistency they suffered was a solid return for their debut season at this level. The inconsistency was best highlighted by their Christmas and New Year double-header against Bognor Regis Town. On Boxing Day they recorded an incredible 8-1 victory over the Rocks only to lose the return match a few days later by two goals to one. The 2007-08 season also saw a change in management as Mark Goldberg stepped down a couple of months into the season to be replaced by the duo of Simon Osborn and Bobby Bowry. Former multi-millionaire and Crystal Palace chairman Goldberg had masterminded their rise to the Blue Square South after being appointed his brother-in-law, Bromley chairman Jerry Dolke, during the 2005-06 season.
Then in surprising developments at the end of the season, Dolke stepped down as chairman to be replaced by Paul Greenwood, while the management team of Osborn and Bowry also left the club. Several weeks later, it was announced that Goldberg was to return for a second spell as manager. He was soon strengthening his squad with the signature of Bishop’s Stortford defender Rob Gillman and winger Anthony Joseph from Ashford Town (Middlesex), although his typically audacious move to attract John Salako to the club as first team coach was declined, with the former Crystal Palace and Charlton midfielder citing his Sky Sports commitments as the reason. Further new arrivals in the shape of midfielder Adrian Toppin from Staines Town, strikers Loui Fazakerley from Bishop’s Stortford, Dartford’s Jay May and Sutton United’s Warren McBean, ex-Shrewsbury Town midfielder Karl Murray and teenager defender David Obaze were soon headed toward to Hayes Lane. One target that did not join the club was defender Liam Harwood, after Carshalton Athletic demanded £10,000 for his services.
Despite this busy summer of transfer activity Bromley took just one point from their opening two games before recording back to back wins over Havant & Waterlooville and Eastleigh. However, injuries and suspensions soon meant further new faces including former Crystal Palace players Moses Swaibu and Ryan Hall on non-contract basis. However, their inconsistent form continued and it was then revealed that financial problems had forced a budget cut leading to the departure of striker Danny Hockton to Braintree Town, Steve Clark and Jay May joining Eastleigh and Ramsgate respectively, and the release of Ijah Anderson and Donal O’Sullivan. Summer signing Fazakerley then switched to fellow Blue Square South side Welling United and Adam Everitt joined St Albans City, but this may still not be the end of the departures. Coming into the game with City, Bromley have won just one of their last six matches, although that was an impressive 1-0 victory at current league leaders Chelmsford City. They have also made first stage exits from the FA Cup to AFC Hornchurch, Setanta Shield against Bishop’s Stortford and in a London Senior Cup penalty shoot-out at the hands of Hendon.
Complete record against Bromley
The opening game of the 2007-08 was the first ever meeting between City and Bromley. The game had looked to be heading to the Lilywhites thanks to Williams’ 81st minute strike, only for Chris Holland to grab a deserved equaliser deep into stoppage time. The return game at Twerton Park in January also finished one goal apiece with McDonnell’s finish being cancelled out by Dave Gilroy’s seventh goal in just three games.
City’s interest in the 2008-09 Setanta Shield ended at Twerton Park this evening with a 1-0 defeat to Blue Square Premier side Salisbury City. The winning goal came after just eight minutes when Matthews headed past Paul Evans from Clohessy’s accurate cross. The visitors were good value for this lead at the interval having dominated possession but the second half saw them more content to contain City and timewaste whenever possible. Only on two occasions did this negative approach almost cost them, on 61 minutes when Richard Evans’ 30-yard volley clipped the outside of the post with keeper Bittner well-beaten and in the final minute as Chris Holland’s header hit the foot of the upright and Darren Edwards somehow headed the rebound wide from just six yards out. In the end though the Whites just about deserved their place in the 4th Round and the £4000 prize money on offer tonight.
City have been drawn at home against Ryman League Division 1 North side East Thurrock United in the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy. The Essex-based Rocks currently lie in 5th place in their division, although they have played fewer games than all the sides above them and lost just two league games so far this season. To reach this stage they won away at Cheshunt then produced a surprise victory over Southern League Premier Division Gloucester City. The match will take place on Saturday 22 November (ko 3pm).
Fittingly after Dave Gilroy netted four times to put City into the 3rd Round of the Setanta Shield they next face the side who were last on the end of a four-goal haul from a City player, Salisbury City. This meeting took place in January 1998 when Graham Colbourne struck twice in each half past City’s record appearance holder Dave Mogg in the Salisbury goal in a 5-0 Twerton Park win.
This was the first clash between the clubs in twenty years but they became regular opponents during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s with a number of high scoring encounters. Colbourne was again on target the next season at Twerton, ‘only’ scoring twice this time, but his efforts were in vain as City crashed 5-3 to the Whites. The game at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium that season was no less eventful as two first half Steve White goals gave City a 2-0 lead only for the hosts to come back in the second half and finish 3-2 winners. The next two seasons both saw further eight-goal thrillers, with Salisbury grabbing a late equaliser in the 4-4 draw at Twerton Park in February 2000, then City doing the same, Kevin Lloyd netting a 90th minute leveller, in Wiltshire eight months later. Since then the goals have dried up with the last five meetings garnering just five goals, the last competitive match a 0-0 draw at Salisbury with both sides challenging for the 2005-06 Southern League title. They also met in a recent pre-season friendly in August 2008, with a strike from Darren Edwards giving City a deserved 1-0 win.
Complete record against Salisbury/Salisbury City
City’s first ever games against Salisbury City took place in before the First World War but this incarnation of the club is not related to the current side. They were formed as Salisbury FC (the City was not added until 1993) in 1947 and met City in an FA Cup tie three seasons later. Despite still being a Western League club they easily beat City 2-0 in front of over 5,000 supporters at Twerton Park. The 1960’s and 1970’s saw them meet frequently in the Western Counties Floodlight League and Cup competitions and they were also Southern League rivals for the three seasons City found themselves out of the Premier Division during the time. They also met twice more in the FA Cup with the Whites repeating their win during the 1971-72 season before City finally recorded a victory in the competition thanks to a Jimmy Jenkins brace in October 1978.
Salisbury are currently in their second season as a Blue Square Premier side having pipped City to the 2005-06 Southern League crown then made it back to back promotions with a 2006-07 Blue Square South play-off win over Braintree Town. Their first season at the pinnacle of non-league football was a successful one as a 15-match unbeaten run in the first three months of 2008 carried them to the fringes of the play-off positions before falling away slightly to finish in a respectable 12th place. This season they are once again in mid-table, ending a seven-match losing streak in front of the Setanta cameras last week with an impressive 2-0 win over former league leaders Crawley Town. During this poor run of form they also crashed out the FA Cup at Twerton Park to tenants Team Bath. However, in common with so many non-league clubs, it is off the field issues that have dogged their season. An appeal to raise £100,000 in just two weeks was launched to maintain their position in the Blue Square Premier but when only half this amount was found, plus their early FA Cup exit, there were fears that they could be facing administration. Chairman Neville Beal moved to ally these worries but the future of the club is still uncertain.
One familiar face in the Salisbury line-up is winger Andy Sandell. The 25-year old spent a season with City after joining them from Paulton Rovers in July 2005 for £1500. His impressive performances were soon attracting interest from league clubs and after a move to Swansea City fell through due to injury he joined Bristol Rovers in May 2006. Despite making approaching 50 appearances for the Pirates he was allowed to join Salisbury on loan during the opening stages of the 2007-08 season, a move he made permanent a few months later.
A scrappy Dave Gilroy goal – his first league strike of the season – was a fitting way to decide this afternoon’s meeting with Weston Super Mare at a wet and windy Woodspring Stadium. He latched onto Comyn-Platt’s wayward back pass four minutes into the second half to steal the ball off the toes of keeper Northmore before rolling it into the net. Apart from the opening and closing ten minutes City were largely in control of the game and just about deserved to emerge victorious. They were fortunate not to fall behind on seven minutes when ex-City star Mark McKeever hit a dipping shot against the underside of the crossbar, Mullings striking the outside of the post from the rebound. Playing into the strong wind City couldn’t turn the majority of possession into openings, captain Jim Rollo coming the closest with a rising shot just before the interval. Gilroy almost doubled City’s lead on the hour mark, lobbing over after Abraham’s slip had left him in the clear. But the second goal would not come and there were a few nervy moments for City in the game’s closing stages, McGregor, Gurney and Holgate all sending efforts narrowly wide, although Adam Connolly and Stuart Douglas came equally close to scoring during this spell. In the end though Paul Evans was not forced into a save and City held out for the single goal win.