September 2008

Ducks lined-up as City’s next FA Cup opponents (29/9/08)

City will face Aylesbury United at Twerton Park in the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Rd following today’s draw. The Ducks are currently in 9th place in the Southern League Division 1 Midland Division but did beat higher league opposition in the shape of Mangotsfield United to reach this round. The draw will revive memories of when the sides met back in 1986, a late goal by Micky Adams, via his knee, giving City a 3-2 win and a 2nd Round meeting with Bristol City. The match will take place on Saturday 11 October (ko 3pm).

Gilroy and Cochlin strikes ensure comfortable FA Cup progess (27/9/08)

A rare moment of quality in the game by Dave Gilroy and a close range header from Paul Cochlin gave City a straightforward 2-0 win over Clevedon Town to progress to the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. The first half had been a largely forgettable affair, with just a Lewis Hogg volley straight at keeper Greaves giving the small crowd a lift. However, within just three minutes of the restart Gilroy chested down a Jamie Gosling cross before firing City ahead. City were now comfortably in control of the tie and ensured their Southern League opponents would not stage a late comeback on 73 minutes when Chris Holland headed a Gosling free-kick toward goal where Cochlin applied the final touch. There was one nervous moment before the final whistle, Powell stabbing the ball just wide after hesitancy between Jim Rollo and Paul Evans two minutes after the second goal, but City easily saw the game out after this to make sure their name will be in Monday’s draw.

Newport County’s 2-2 draw with Dorchester Town in the FA Cup today means the Setanta Shield 2nd Round match scheduled for next Tuesday will now take place at a later date. Confirmation of the date in due course.

PREVIEW: CITY v Clevedon Town – FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round (25/9/08)

City begin their 2008-09 FA Cup campaign with a 2nd Qualifying Round meeting with Southern League Clevedon Town at Twerton Park. This will be the first time since early in the 2006-07 season that the Seasiders have made the short trip to Bath. Back then two Leon Hapgood strikes and one from Jack Pitcher, all in the opening half-hour, gave them a 3-0 victory that was every bit as comprehensive as it sounds. City did get their revenge with two wins at the Hand Stadium later in the season but they will be aware of the threat posed by Clevedon.

Clevedon currently lie in 16th place in the Southern League Premier Division, with two wins, two defeats and three draws from their opening seven games. The low point of their fledgling season came with a 6-1 defeat at the hands of previously winless Stourbridge but they have bounced back well from this defeat with a 2-0 win over Evesham United and a creditable goalless draw at promotion hopefuls Hemel Hempstead Town. In the FA Cup they had a comfortable 4-1 win over Western League Bridport in the 1st Qualifying Round. Amongst their goalscorers in that game were two former City players, Josh Brigham and Matt Prosser. Brigham was a regular in City’s youth team and made three first team appearances during 2004-05 season and Prosser joined the club on loan from Newport County in March 2007, playing seven games. One further current Hand Stadium connection with City is manager Wayne Powell. The ex-Bristol Rovers striker made over 50 appearances for City in the early 1980’s before taking his first step in management when he took over from previous boss Phil Bater in April 2008.

Complete record against Clevedon Town/Clevedon

The sides have met on four previous occasions in the FA Cup. The first three meetings came when the North Bristol club were known as just Clevedon FC (the Town was added in 1977). The most recent clash in the competition took place at the same 2nd Qualifying Round stage in 1985-86. Although at the time City were an established Conference side and Clevedon were still a Western League club only an own goal separated the sides to see City progress the next round. They took full advantage of this narrow victory going onto reach the 2nd Round proper before losing 2-0 to Peterborough United. In total City have faced the Seasiders – in both their guises – on 44 occasions, winning 31 times and losing just eight games. However the most recent meetings have been shared equally with five wins apiece and one draw.

Four-goal extra-time blitz fires City to FA Youth cup victory (24/9/08)

Four goals in extra-time saw City progress to the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup at Twerton Park last night in a 5-1 win over Wootten Bassett. After a goalless first half City dominated the second period but only had Beau Blakeman’s 68th minute strike to show for it. They were made to pay for this when the visitors struck a stoppage time equaliser to take the game into extra-time. However, with the Wootten Bassett side struggling with tiredness and injury – they finished the game with just eight players – City overran them in the extra period, Andy Sheppard scoring twice, Alex Dixon and Stuart Greener adding the other goals. City will now face either Paulton Rovers or Cirencester Town in the next round of the competition.

Potential day job conflict of interest almost costs Relish City post (23/9/08)

Manager John Relish has revealed that a potential conflict of interest with his day job at the Football League almost forced him to quit the City hot-seat. The 54-year old, who has been in charge at Twerton Park since June 2005, becoming the club’s most successful boss for nearly 30 years during that time, works as the regional manager for the South West community and it was suggested that this role conflicted with his City post. However, after a couple of weeks of uncertainty, during which time Relish took a back seat with Adie Britten and Lee Howells largely overseeing matchday duties, the Football League have given him the okay to carry out both jobs.

Striker Danny Carey-Bertram, who netted his first goal in City colours on Saturday against Eastleigh, is in talks to extent his stay at Twerton Park. He has been on a week-to-week contract since joining the club in Agust but hopes for a more permanent deal. The only sticking point is the travelling involved for the Birmingham-based 24-year old but both sides hope to overcome this issue.

Supporters Club Promotion Draw winners (21/9/08)

At half-time in yesterday’s Blue Square South match with Eastleigh the Supporters Club Promotion draw was made, with City midfielder Jamie Gosling pulling out the winning tickets. 1st prize of a HD ready Digital LCD TV went to Pete Weaver of Radstock, 2nd prize a digital photo frame to Mrs J Howe of Bath (my Mum!) and 3rd prize a microwave to Mrs D Smith of Bath. The full list of winners can be found here.

Eastleigh pay for timewasting antics as City grab late late equaliser (20/9/08)

A close-range Danny Carey-Bertram strike two minutes into stoppage time earned City a deserved point against Eastleigh at a sun-drenched Twerton Park this afternoon. Carey-Bertram netted his first goal for the club from Dave Gilroy’s low cross to cancel out Brown’s looping 21st minute header that had given the visitors the lead against the run of play. From then on they were content to waste time at every opportunity, which meant City dominated possession but could never produce a sustained spell of pressure. Gilroy spurned two good openings before the Spitfire’s took the lead and after the interval Darren Edwards was denied by a last ditch block, and it looked like it would not be City’s day. However, the introduction of fit again trio, Carey-Bertram, Stuart Douglas and Jamie Gosling breathed life back into City, and a draw was the fair outcome.

Recent new arrival Adam Connolly – man-of-the-match against Eastleigh this afternoon – has signed a deal to keep him at Twerton Park until the end of the season.

City’s 2nd Round Setanta Shield meeting with Newport County will take place at Twerton Park on Tuesday 30 September (ko 7.45pm) subject to neither side being involved in an FA Cup replay.

PREVIEW: CITY v Eastleigh – Blue Square South (17/9/08)

City entertain Eastleigh at Twerton Park on Saturday in need of a victory to prevent an average opening to their 2008-09 Blue Square South campaign turning into a poor one. They face a side who have made an excellent start to the season – they currently sit 4th in the table – although it is very much their home form that has underpinned this lofty position. In common with City on occasion, Eastleigh manager Ian Baird has been forced to defend his tactics after accusations that they are “playing functional rather than fantasy football”. Understandably he used the fact his side have won six of their opening nine games as a defence to these and ‘long ball’ charges.

It was a summer of upheaval at the Silverlake Stadium after equity director (!) and assistant boss Paul Doswell quit the club just a week after they narrowly missed out on the 2007-08 Blue Square South play-offs, then chairman Paul Murray stepped down from the role to concentrate on his business affairs. Whilst Doswell resurfaced as manager at Sutton United, a steady stream of players were departing from the Spitfires, with Adam Everitt, Kevin James, Fitzroy Simpson, Adam Roberts, Warren Goodhind, Paul Sales, Matt Hann, Chris Piper and Steve Watts all moving on. They were soon joined by Chris Collins and Karim El-Salahi, who joined up with Doswell at Gander Green Lane, and Karl Murray who was released. Two final player exits saw Mark Marshall join Coca-Cola League 1 side Swindon Town a couple of games into the season – a move that will please City after the winger tore them apart during the clubs meeting in Hampshire last season – and the loan deal with Newport County for Ashley Vickers. Faced with rebuilding his squad Baird brought in striker Matt Groves from Blue Square South champions Lewes, experienced former Bristol Rovers defender Trevor Challis from Weymouth, Braintree Town striker James Baker, Tony Taggart from his former club Havant & Waterlooville and the loan signing of Gray Athletic frontman Matt Bodkin. One further new arrival was Havant defender Tom Jordan after the protracted transfer saga that saw both clubs bickering at one another in a most undignified way for the best part of six months.

Despite all these changes Eastleigh got their season off to a great start, winning their first three games against Thurrock, Newport County and Fisher Athletic, before this run came to a grinding halt with a 5-1 defeat at Bromley. It was widely thought this scoreline hugely flattered the Kent side and Eastleigh bounced back to beat Bognor Regis 2-1 in their next outing, only to then concede another five goals – this time without reply – at St Albans City. Since then they have steadied the ship with a 1-1 draw at Weston Super Mare and home wins over Braintree Town and Welling United to maintain a 100% home record.

Complete record against Eastleigh/Swaythling

While City played Eastleigh twice back in 1977 when they were known as Swaythling in an FA Cup tie, last season was the first meeting between the sides under their current guise, having changed name in 1980. The Twerton Park clash saw City record their first home win of the season – albeit in their first home game of the season – with the eventual goal of the season winner from Jim Rollo and a close range finish from Darren Edwards. The return match at the Silverlink Stadium was a remarkable encounter in which 10-man City came from 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 down to rescue a point in a 4-4 draw. As already mentioned Eastleigh’s star player was Marshall, as he created their opening goal then scored the second. A Dave Gilroy penalty gave City some hope before Marshall set up Riviere to make it 3-1 at half-time. The game looked to be over for City when Jason Wood was sent off for a late challenge on the hour mark but a trademark Chris Holland header narrowed the gap shortly after this. Marshall continued his one-man effort to see off City with a free-kick to restore his side’s two-goal lead, only for Gilroy to strike twice more – the second an audacious chip from the penalty spot – to draw City level.

City Youth make FA Cup progress in five-goal Portishead thriller (16/9/08)

City’s youth team reached the 1st Qualifying Round of this season’s FA Youth Cup after beating Portishead 3-2 in a re-arranged Preliminary Round tie last night. A goal each from Andy Sheppard and Beau Rouse gave City a 2-0 half-time lead before them Bristol-based side fought back in the second half to level the match at 2-2. However, with ten minutes left Sheppard netted his second of the night to secure a meeting with Wootten Basset in the next round. This match will take place at Twerton Park on Tuesday 23 September (ko 7.45pm) with admission fee just £2 for adults and £1 concessions.

In the South West Counties Youth League Division 1 City have started the season with one win and one defeat. They began with a 5-1 loss at Cirencester Academy, Sheppard scoring their consolation goal, but bounced back to beat The City of Bristol Academy 2-1 thanks to a Beau Blakeman brace.

The new and improved Youth Team page will appear on this website shortly.

Clevedon Town provide FA Cup opposition following 2nd Qualifying Rd draw (15/9/08)

City’s 2008-09 FA Cup campaign will begin at Twerton Park with a clash against Clevedon Town following today’s 2nd Qualifying Round draw. The Southern League club will make the short trip to Bath on Saturday 27 September. The Seasiders have got off to a mixed start this season and currently lie in 15th place in the Southern League Premier Division with two wins, two draws and two defeats from their opening six games. They reached this round of the FA Cup with a 4-1 win over Bridport, with former City players Luke Prosser and Josh Brigham amongst the scorers.

Disappointing City suffer self-imposed Hampton & Richmond defeat (13/9/08)

Out of character poor defending saw City crash to a 3-1 defeat at Hampton & Richmond Borough this afternoon. They allowed Hodge to ride several tackles before squaring for Tanner to give the home side a 24th minute lead, then six minutes later Paul Cochlin gifted the ball to Yaku to make it 2-0. Cochlin pulled a goal back with a 52nd minute header but in stoppage time Chris Holland unluckly put through his own net to ensure the Beavers took all three points. Neither side had impressed in the first half, although the hosts always carried the greater threat up front and deserved their half-time advantage. When Cochlin’s header was adjudged to have crossed the line by an assistant referee a comeback looked on the cards, but despite a series of free-kicks and corners they couldn’t find an equaliser. Hampton looked to disrupt any City momentum any way they could and the frustration got too much for Matt Coupe – on his 250th appearance for the club – just after the hour mark. He had already been substituted after suffering a facial injury from an elbow in the first half but abuse directed at a linesman saw him recieve a red card.

One name missing from the team sheet at Hampton was Jason Wood after he joined Southern League side Chippenham Town on a month’s loan.

City move to quash rumours over John Relish’s Twerton Park future (12/9/08)

City have comfirmed that manager John Relish is still fully committed to the club after rumours that he may be thinking of quitting surfaced in the last week. The flames were fanned by his decision to watch last Saturday’s goalless draw at Havant & Waterlooville from the sidelines, letting assistant manager Adie Britten and coach Lee Howells carry out all the matchday duties, including selecting the side and taking the pre-match talk. The pair were also in charge for the midweek Setanta Shield win over Team Bath as Relish was on holiday, but Managing Director Paul Williams said, “John is not leaving us and my conversations with him on Saturday were all about the future, organising meetings about youth development and possible changes in playing staff.” He added. “It was John’s decision to do things a little differently last week so that Lee having taken training on the Thursday was in the dressing room with Adie. Adie chose the team and both were involved in the pre match talk. John was to watch from the stand to get a different perspective although he went to the dressing room at half time and did go to the dug out once during the second half. John and Adie are very much a team and selection is often a collective decision. John was going to be away this week on a brief holiday and therefore Adie and Lee would have been in charge on Tuesday anyway. You may see in the next few weeks that John and/or Adie are missing from games being away scouting and this may change from week to week. They have worked together for five years and in discussion on our start to the season they have decided to look at trying different ways of doing the same things so that there is some more variety in team preparation.”

Familiar opposition for City in Setanta Shield 2nd Round draw (12/9/08)

The draw for the 2nd Round of the Setanta Shield has paired City with Newport County. The teams met five times last season – including at the same stage of this competition – with honours shared in two wins each. While City were beating tenants Team Bath on Tuesday, the Exiles were involved in a nine-goal thriller against Dorchester Town, coming out 5-4 winners after extra time with former City striker Phil Walsh netting his first goal for the club. The match is scheduled for the week commencing October 6 but with City already involved in a Somerset Premier Cup match that week it is likely to played the following week, FA Cup replays permitting.

PREVIEW: Hampton & Richmond Borough v CITY – Blue Square South (11/9/08)

Boosted by their extra-time Setanta Shield victory over tenants Team Bath at Twerton Park on Tuesday, City return to league action looking to end a three match winless run at Hampton & Richmond Borough. The Middlesex side boost an identical league record to City after eight matches with two wins, two defeats and four draws. Their results have come in pairs so far this season, with two draws against Basingstoke Town and Bognor Regis opening their campaign, then following this up with wins at home to Weston Super Mare and at Braintree Town. Two defeats came next against Hayes & Yeading United and Newport County, then another two draws with Thurrock and Bromley the opposition. Unlike City they crashed out of the Setanta Shield earlier this week with a 3-0 defeat against Braintree. They currently sit a couple of places above City on goal difference.

Hampton came into the 2008-09 Blue Square South campaign amongst the favourites after they narrowly missed out on promotion last season, losing the play-off final to Eastbourne Borough following a 3rd place finish. It was a remarkable first season at this level following their 2006-07 Ryman League title win, masterminded by former West Ham United and England winger Alan Devonshire. He joined the club in June 2003, having previously been in charge at Maidenhead United, while they were still in the Ryman League Division 1 South but was soon overseeing their rise to the fringes of the top tier in non-league football. Not surprisingly Devonshire has been linked with a number of higher profile managerial posts, most recently the vacant hot-seat at Blue Square Premier strugglers Woking.

Despite the success of last season – the club also reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup for only the second time in their history – the summer witnessed a number of comings and goings at the Beveree Stadium. They lost top scorer Elliot Godfrey and long-serving central-defender Alan Inns to Blue Square South newcomers AFC Wimbledon, plus Kelvin MacIntosh, whose work commitments in the Midlands led to a self-imposed year out of the game. Devonshire added striker Nana Badu and midfielder Steve Tyson both from Walton Casuals, Didcot Town’s Elliott Braithwaite, experienced Sutton United defender John Scarborough, 19-year old Ben Wright, Robbie Kember, a midfielder from Eastbourne Borough, and former Aston Villa youngster Stephen Cooke to his first team squad. The close season also saw several notable off the pitch developments, with the Supporters’ Trust taking over the running of the club from former chairman Graham Wood. And they then agreed to give their main shirt sponsorship to a Hampton based charity `African Revival` for free as part of their continuing programme of involving themselves in the community at large, joining other clubs such as Aston Villa and Weymouth in making this gesture.

Complete record against Hampton & Richmond Borough

Even though the Beavers finished last season in 3rd place the matches against City went in the favour of the Romans. The first ever meeting between the sides took place in August 2007 with City running out comfortable 2-0 winners, thanks to first-half goals from Mark McKeever and Matt Coupe. The return match took place at the Beveree Stadium on a cold and damp March evening, and the game itself was as dull as the weather conditions, ending goalless despite both sides firmly in the hunt for a play-off place. In the end, of course, the two points dropped were only costly to City in the race for that post-season spot.

Ex-Cheltenham Town midfielder Connolly signs on non-contract terms (10/9/08)

City have strengtened their injured-ravaged squad with the non-contract signature of midfielder Adam Connolly. The Manchester-born 22-year old was formally with Cheltenham Town, having come up through the trainee ranks at Whadden Road. After being released at the end of last season he joined Unibond League side Hednesford Town but left after just a couple of games when he was not offered a permament contract. He was thrust straight into action with City, playing the full 120 minutes in last night’s Setanta Shield win over Team Bath.

Gilroy returns just in time to deny Team Bath Setanta victory (10/9/08)

Team Bath came within seconds of their first ever victory over City in the Setanta Shield last night at Twerton Park. The game was several minutes into stoppage time, with Team Bath leading through a 77th minute Arnold goal, when Dave Gilroy burst through only to be brought down by keeper Meredith. A penalty and red card followed, allowing Gilroy, making his first appearance of the season after his knee operation, to fire home the spot kick past Arnold, who had taken over in goal. This sent the game into extra time and early in the second period Darren Edwards headed home from close range to break Team Bath hearts and secure City a 2nd Round place. The game overall had been an even encounter with Steve Perrin twice making good blocks in the first half and Paul Cochlin crashing a header against the underside of the bar just before the interval. The scond half saw less in the way of goalmouth action before Arnold slotted home after Perrin had parried an initial shot, which looked to have won the game before the late excitement.

PREVIEW: Team Bath v CITY – Setanta Shield 1st Round (8/9/08)

City come face to face with their Twerton Park tenants for the second time in just over two weeks when they face Team Bath in a 1st Round Setanta Shield tie at their shard home tomorrow evening. Although of much less importance than the previous Blue Square South meeting it will give the full-time professional University of Bath based side another chance to record their first ever victory over City. This will be the ninth competitive clash between the sides, with the 1-1 draw 16 days ago just the second game that City have not won. The other match was a goalless draw during the 2004-05 season. City went into the Easter Monday encounter on the back of their incredible 4-2 win over local rivals Chippenham Town three days earlier – a second half John Williams hat-trick turning around a 2-0 half-time deficit – but found Team Bath a much more stubborn opponent to drop two vital points in their play-off hunt.

Complete record against Team Bath

The Setanta Shield is in just its second season in this current format but as the Conference League Cup it dates back to the 1979-80 season. From the 1980-81 season it was known as the Bob Lord Trophy and the first competition under that name saw City’s joint best run when two-legged wins over Gravesend & Northfleet and Weymouth got them to the 3rd Round where Worcester City ended the run. The 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons saw the competition renamed the GMAC Cup and expanded to include sides from the three feeder leagues below the Conference. It reverted to its original format the next season and continued to be played under various names including the Drinkwise Cup and Spalding Challenge Cup, before finally being axed at the end of the 2000-01 campaign.

The competition was revived for the 2004-05 season after the formation of the Conference North and South set-up. However, it would only last for one season, although during that short time it managed to go under four different names. It began as the Football Conference Challenge Cup before being renamed in mid-September the Cartium Cup after a sponsor deal was agreed with the Carthium Group. Two months later they went bust and the cup was then called the National Conference Cup (rather than its original title). Two months later another sponsor was found in Gladwish Land Sales and the competition gained its fourth name as the GLS Cup. The name changes were by far the most interesting aspect of the competition as it was widely disliked by both clubs and supporters and it was scrapped again. This wasn’t the end of it though as it was revived for a second time last season under the sponsorship of Setanta. It was clear, though, they expected no more interest from the clubs, introducing a rule forcing them to field at least 10 players who featured in their previous match to prevent under strength sides being sent out.

City’s record in this competition – under whichever guise – has been poor with two third round appearances representing their best run. As already mentioned the first was in the 1980-81 season and they repeated this ‘achievement’ during the 1986-87 when Sutton United knocked them out after wins over Fareham Town and Weymouth. Last season they went out at the 2nd Round stage to Newport County by three goals to two, Phil Walsh and Jason Wood netting for City, following a 3-2 extra-time win over Weston Super Mare in Round 1.

Two red cards but no goals in lively South Coast Havant encounter (6/9/08)

City’s Lewis Hogg and Havant captain Jamie Collins both saw red in this afternoon’s 0-0 draw at a wet and windy Westleigh Park. For the second successive match against the Hawks Hogg was dismissed, this time for two bookings, the second following a late lunge at keeper Scriven. This happened with 18 minutes left but the numbers were equalled up ten minutes later when Collins appeared to aim a headbutt at Darren Edwards during a confrontation between the players after a tackle by Mark Badman. Overall it was a gritty performance by City after they lost their two front men Stuart Douglas and Martin Paul to injury in the opening half an hour – meaning all five strikers at the club have suffered injuries already this season. The first half had been a largely uneventful spectacle, although City almost grabbed the lead just before the break when the Hawks defence allowed a cross to reach Edwards but he couldn’t quite find the power to beat Scriven. Hogg went into the referee’s notebook early in the second half and the game opened up with both sides creating chances. Paul Evans – back in the side after resting his knee problem – had to be at his best to deny Watkins around the hour mark. Hogg and Edwards had almost taken advantage of poor defending before this and even after the two red cards there were chances to win the game for either side. Edwards going the closest when his dipping shot was palmed to safety by Scriven.

PREVIEW: Havant & Waterlooville v CITY – Blue Square South (4/9/08)

City make the journey down to Hampshire to face pre-season Blue Square South title favourites Havant & Waterlooville just as the Hawks begin to show the sort of form to justify that accolade. They began the season with a 1-1 draw at St Albans City but then suffered reversal’s in successive home games against Weston-Super-Mare and Bromley. A draw at Fisher Athletic – the London club’s first point of the season – made it four matches without a win before they final put a tick in the win column with a 5-1 thumping of Basingstoke Town. A narrow 3-2 victory over a 10-man Thurrock side was then followed with a two-goal success over struggling Welsh side Newport County.

The victory in Wales lifted the Hawks above City into the top half of the table for the first time and nine points behind early pace-setters AFC Wimbledon. The tag of title favourites in the less than scientific Blue Square South betting market came about on the back of a summer of impressive signings backed (it is assumed) financially by the club’s incredible 2007-08 FA Cup run. That run, which started at Bognor Regis Town, took in an amazing replay win over League 1 side Swansea before ending at Anfield, where Havant twice led Premiership giants Liverpool before bowing out 5-2, netted the club a rumoured windfall of around £750,000. It was no surprise when a number of impressive pedigree signings were soon heading into Westleigh Park. The 2007-08 season was barely cold when defender Ian Simpemba arrived from reigning Blue Square South champions Lewes. And a week later Havant further raided the troubled Sussex club with the capture of top scorer Paul Booth and midfielder Gary Holloway. The next new face was from Blue Square Premier side Woking in the shape of full-back Jay Gasson before a fourth and final signing from Lewes, Jay Conroy. Manager Shaun Gale’s spree continued with the arrival of vastly experienced former Brighton & Hove Albion and Portsmouth defender Guy Butters. In total, this meant six new players before even May was out. It all went quiet on the Hampshire front then – the lower profile signing of ex-Portsmouth attacking midfielder Steve Walker aside – before the summer friendlies started and a number of further players pulled on a Havant shirt. Amongst these were former Bristol Rovers midfielder Sammy Igoe and another ex-Lewes player, striker Jean-Michel Sigere. Neither signed and in the end it wasn’t until the eve of the new season that Gale’s completed his squad overhaul with the loan signing of Sam Gargan from Brighton and capture of Woking’s Matt Gray.

Unsurprisingly given the number of new faces the summer also saw a steady stream of players heading out of Westleigh Park. Stalwart defender Neil Sharp was the first to depart along with striker Gavin McCallum, who cited travel difficulties from his West Country home as the reason, along with Jamie Day who has returned to Grays after his loan spell, Nick Hannides and Darren Annon, who has now signed for Redbridge. Tom Taylor, Justin Gregory, Phil Warner and Michael McEnery were all then released and loanee Paul Watson returned to Crawley Town. Three of the club’s FA Cup hero’s, Mo Harkin, Tony Taggart and Rocky Baptiste, all then turned down new contracts, although the latter re-signed after Booth was ruled out of the start of the season through injury. One further departure was Tom Jordan, after the long-running and, at times, farcical stand-off between Havant and Eastleigh, when he finally moved along the South Coast for an undisclosed fee in June.

Complete record against Waterlooville/Havant & Waterlooville

The head-to-head record between City and the Hawks – including meetings with one half of its constituent clubs, Waterlooville – is slightly in favour of the latter, with tens wins to City’s seven. Last season City suffered a single goal defeat at Westleigh Park in Gale’s first match in charge. Although it was the late denial of as clear cut a penalty as you’re likely to see when Darren Edwards was brought down by keeper Kevin Scriven, which mainly left City frustrated. The return match at Twerton Park was no less controversial. Goals from Dave Gilroy and Brett Poate meant the game ended 1-1 but the harsh second half sending-off of Lewis Hogg once again left a sour taste in the mouths of City fans.

Second half strike enough to condemn City to Hayes & Yeading defeat (2/9/08)

City suffered their second defeat of the season at Twerton Park this evening, going down to a single second half goal against Hayes & Yeading United. The decisive strike came on 65 minutes when Fitzgerald tapped home from close range, after the ball had come back off the post. It was no less than the visitors deserved as they had always looked the likelier side to score. Both teams had the ball in the net in the opening five minutes, United’s ruled out for a foul on Steve Perrin and an offside flag denying Stuart Douglas. However, it was the London side who dominated the rest of the half with only three or four excellent stops by Perrin keeping the scores level. The second half was a more even affair and after the goal City finally began to appy some pressure on the away goal, but the closest they came to an equaliser was when Chris Holland’s header was cleared off the line late in the game.

Injury crisis shows no sign of improvement with triple Dons blow (1/9/08)

Three more players were added to City’s never-ending injury problems during Saturday’s 2-2 draw with AFC Wimbledon on Saturday. Danny Carey-Bertram limped out of the game during the first half with a hamstring injury, Martin Slocombe twisted his ankle warming up at half-time and Jim Rollo finished the game with a toe injury. They join Dave Gilroy (knee), Paul Evans (knee), Ali Gibb (ankle) and Darren Edwards (ankle) on the sidelines, and are all doubtful for tomorrow night’s Blue Square South home game against Hayes & Yeading United. On the plus side, Jason Wood made his first appearance of the season against the Dons and Jamie Gosling may had overcome his back problem sufficiently to take a place on the bench on Tuesday.

PREVIEW: CITY v Hayes & Yeading United – Blue Square South (1/9/08)

City will look to build on their creditable 2-2 draw with league leaders AFC Wimbledon on Saturday when Hayes & Yeading United visit Twerton Park tomorrow evening. This will be the recently merged club’s second visit to Bath already this season having faced Team Bath three weeks ago in their first away match of the season. This game finished 4-1 to the ‘home’ side and marked United’s second defeat of the season, having lost their opening game by a single goal against Chelmsford City. Since then, though, they have found form with four successive victories. The first two came against the sides that City have also beaten this season, Worcester City and Bishop’s Stortford, 3-0 and 1-0 respectively. They then came out on top in a five-goal thriller against Hampton & Richmond Borough before ending Welling United’s unbeaten start to the season, coming from a goal down to win 2-1 on Saturday.

This is just the second season that the club has been in existence after Hayes and Yeading merged during the 2007 close season. After Hayes finished the 2006-07 season in 20th place and Yeading ended up 16th spot, their combined might improved to a final placing of 13th. They spent the majority of the season hovering around mid-table without ever threatening the play-off positions or having to nervously look over their shoulders at the relegations places. During the summer manager Garry Haylock strengthened his squad with the signature of goalkeeper Aaron Howe from Carshalton Athletic, defender Leon Solomon from Welling United, Neil Martin, a left-sided defender on loan from Exeter City, and former Basingstoke Town striker Scott Fitzgerald. Following the opening two defeats of the season a further defender was brought into bolster the defence in the shape of Matt Ruby, a centre-back from Blue Square Premier side Woking. A promising pre-season where they were unbeaten, including a win over a Queens Park Rangers XI side, seemed to set them up for a good start to the season and after those opening defeats they appear to be back on track.

Complete record against Hayes/Yeading/Hayes & Yeading United

The two games between the clubs last season saw City gain just a single point, with a remarkable 2-2 draw at Twerton Park followed by their heaviest defeat of the season, 3-0 at Hayes Lane. The home meeting saw City outplayed for an hour and deservedly trail by two goals to nil. The game then turned with just over ten minutes left when Dave Gilroy was brought down by keeper Preddie. Lewis Hogg fired home from the spot and less then two minutes he was repeating the feat after Phil Walsh was felled by Saroya, and City had got out of jail. There was no such escape three months later when a 2-0 deficit was turn into a 3-0 final scoreline. It was a City side depleted by illness and injury but they could have few objections about the result. Their supporters did have valid complaints about the unpleasant nature of a number of the home fans, mainly due to obscene chanting, but they had no more success than their team as the stewards ignored any protests as did Hayes & Yeading United FC when a written complaint was made.