The draw for the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup has given City a trip to either Bristol Manor Farm or Bridgwater Town. The sides, who play in in the Western League Premier Division and Southern League Division 1 South & West respectively, played out a remarkable 4-4 draw on Saturday with the Somerset side recovering from 3-0 down at half-time to lead 4-3 with just minutes left only for Farm to grab an equalising goal. They meet again on Tuesday 1 October at Bridgwater (ko 7.45pm) andt the 3rd Qualifying Round tie will take place on Saturday 12 October.
City bounced back from their back to back league defeats to secure a FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round place with a 2-0 win over Gosport Borough at Mayday Trust Park this afternoon. Having exited the competition last season against the same opposition, City avoided an unwanted repeat thanks to goals from David Pratt and Ross Stearn. Pratt struck in the 14th minute which capped an excellent start to the game for the Romans. He had already fired into the side netting and seen on-loan strike partner Elliott Chamberlain volley tamely at keeper Barfoot, before a ball forward from Andy Gallinagh sent him clear. Although the Boro keeper kept out his initial effort he calmly steered the rebound home. City continued to control the game, Dan Ball shooting over after Gosport failed to deal with a corner and Josh Low and Chamberlain wasting good openings. Having only got a one goal lead to show for their first half domination, there was an understandabe nervousness to the hosts as Boro finally began to show some attacking threat after the interval. However, City’s backline remained resolute, then with four minutes left substitute Stearn broke clear and lifted the ball over Barfoot to ensure City would be in Monday’s draw and pick up the £4500 prize money.
City have re-signed striker Elliott Chamberlain on a month’s loan deal from Exeter City. The 21-year old spent two months at Mayday Trust Park during the second half of last season, scoring four goals in twleve games. With summer signed Andy Watkins currently sidelined with a knee injury the arrival of Chamberlain boosts City’s attacking options ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup game with Gosport Borough.
City begin their 2013-14 FA Cup campaign on Saturday at Mayday Trust Park facing an increasingly familiar opponent in Gosport Borough. Having faced the Hampshire side just once in the 22 years since they were briefly Southern League rivals in the late 1980s, the 2nd Qualifying Round tie will be the fourth meeting in less than a year. Having drawn two and lost one of these recent encounters, City will hope to end this run and secure a victory to set up them up for a long and fruitful FA Cup run.
City’s FA Cup record has been a mixed one of late but, if they are looking for a positive omen, in recent years they have enjoyed a successful campaign following a disappointing one. After exiting the 2008-09 competition to Aylesbury United they bounced back to reach the 2nd Round proper a year later, beating then Football League side Grimsby Town in the process – their first success against league opposition since the win over Cardiff City in 1992. Any hope of repeating this achievement the next year disappeared when Swindon Supermarine dumped them out of the competition in the remarkable 4-3 game at Twerton Park, the Southern League side coming back from 3-1 down to score an injury-time winner. The next year a win over Dover Athletic earned the Romans a 1st Round tie with League 2 side Dagenham & Redbridge and, after a 1-1 draw in East London, they were denied another giant-killing act thanks to a controversial goal in the replay, in front of live ESPN cameras. The up and down nature continued last season when Gosport deservedly won a 3rd Qualifying Round replay 3-1 at Privett Park, after a 1-1 draw in Bath, and City will hope for at least one more season of this pattern.
Since the sides met at Mayday Trust Park on the second Saturday of the this season, sharing the points in a 1-1 draw, both goals coming in first-half stoppage time, Boro have struggled to adapt to life in the Conference South. They picked up a second point at home to fellow early season strugglers Dorchester Town two days later, but followed this up with three successive defeats against Bromley, Maidenhead United and Boreham Wood. However, in a timely boost ahead of the meeting with City they picked up their first win of the season last Saturday, second half goals from Brown and Williams defeating Tonbridge Angels 2-0. Despite the victory they remain in 21st place with five points from their opening eight games.
Complete record against Gosport Borough
Before the recent run of games the sides previously met in a 2nd Qualifying Round tie at Privett Park in September 2005 and the then Wessex League side pushed their higher league opponent all the way. The home side came into the game unbeaten and showed why when Laidlaw, the player of the previous round, put them in front after just three minutes. Ten minutes later Andy Sandell and Scott Partridge set up Tony Bird to level the scores but on 23 minutes Dyer restored Borough’s advantage after Paul Evans could only parry Rew’s close range shot. However, City responded strongly, striking twice before the interval, Jon Holloway and Chris Holland on target, to go into the break ahead. And they should have put the game beyond Gosport before, with 12 minutes remaining, Scammell looped a header into the net. The game looked set for a replay but with six minutes of normal time remaining Sandell beat his marker on the left byline and whipped in a low cross for Bird to steer home the winner from six yards.
City and Gosport Borough have agreed to reduced admission prices for their 2nd Qualifying Round FA Cup tie at Mayday Trust Park on Saturday. Adult admission will be £10 and concessions £5. Under-16s accompanied by an adult will pay just £1. Supporters can also advertise the match at home, work, their local pub or anywhere else thay can think of by downloading a poster from here.
The U21 Development Squad played their first fixture of the season last week in a friendly against the Royal Air Force (RAF). Included within the squad were both Brad Norris and Dan Bowman – who both impressed throughout the game. The first half started well for the U21 squad who created several chances through both the wide players Dan Marioni and Ryan Ashwood but were unable to break the deadlock. In the second half the players again started well and were rewarded on 55 minutes with a goal from Norris. After patient build up play Ryan Ashwood beat two defenders before crossing the ball for Norris to fire a shot into the bottom corner. After the goal the RAF began to press and created several chances of their own. On the 75 minute Ashwood again found space on the left wing, this time delivering a deep cross for Marioni to tap in from close range. The final stages of the game saw City create several more chances which could not be converted – the game finished 2-0. City’s line-up was: 1. Josh Barrington 2. Dan Bowman 3. Matt Cunnington 4. Louis Perry 5. Ben White 6. Sam Hill 7. Dan Marioni 8. Jack Pryor 9. Brad Norris 10. Ruaridh Kay 11. Ryan Ashwood 12. Romell Reddock 14. Nick Lawton 15. Wyatt Ball 16. Alex Salsano.
City suffered a second disappointing defeat this week after they were beaten 2-0 by Dover Athletic at Mayday Trust Park yesterday. With the Kent side’s garish pink kit brightening up an otherwise dull afternoon, City were thoroughly outplayed for the opening 30 minutes with only keeper Jason Mellor’s heroics keeping them in the game. He was beaten by Elder’s 24th minute header but this signalled a change in the balance of the match as City finally stemmed the pink tide and after the interval they began to looked a greater attacking threat. David Pratt forced a fine save out of Whites keeper Walker on 52 minutes and with Josh Low and Ross Stearn regularly beating their marker City fashioned several promising postions. However, even with Mitchell looking less than certain in dealing with crosses, City couldn’t find an equaliser, then with five minutes remaining Dover broke forward and Modeste crossed for Murphy to head past Mellor and ensure the points would head back to Kent.
After seeing a deserved victory turned into a draw against Tonbridge Angels in stoppage time and a hard fought point evaporate completely at Staines Town with just a couple of minutes remaining, City will be keen to avoid such late drama and return to winning ways at Mayday Trust Park on Saturday when Dover Athletic are the visitors. The defeat at Staines saw City slip back into the bottom half of the table but three points against the Whites would keep them in touch with the early season pacesetters and, possibly more importantly, give them a confidence boost ahead of the start of their FA Cup campaign a week later against Gosport Borough.
Despite sitting level with City on nine points, albeit having played a game more, Dover have made their worst ever start to a Conference South season. A single goal opening day win over division newcomers Gosport Borough was following by a very encouraging home victory over Kent rivals Ebbsfleet United. However, this was followed by a 1-0 reversal against Concord Rangers which will have brought memories back of their Crabble struggles early last season. They won just one of their opening seven home league games last year, which left them playing catch-up in the title race and in the end they finished third, only to lose 3-2 to Salisbury City in the play-off final. They ground out another 1-0 win over Whitehawk thanks to a Murphy penalty and a string of saves from highly-rated keeper Walker, but since then they have suffered four successive league defeats, all by a single goal. Hayes & Yeading United and Weston Super Mare both added to Dover’s home woes and in-between these games they became the first side to face Farnborough, following the Hampshire side’s much publicised off the pitch troubles. They couldn’t take advantage of the Hampshire’s two-weeks of inactivity though, going down 1-0 and seeing Kamara receive a straight red card. There would have been a sense of deja-vu in their next away outing at Sutton United, finished the game with ten men – Ademola receiving two yellows, the second for a dive – and a single goal defeat.
Complete record against Dover Athletic/Dover
If Dover are looking for a good omen to turn their season around the clubs met almost exactly a year ago at Mayday Trust Park where the visitors ran out 2-1 winners. The opening quarter of the game was largely uneventful, with an optimistic penalty appeal for each side and a couple of half chances, but the visitors began to get the upper hand as the half progressed and should have gone into the interval ahead. Adam Connolly denied Cogan with an excellent block, May had his header ruled out for offside and Glyn Garner produced a superb save from the same player. Then five minutes into the second half City made the Whites pay by taking the lead. Charlie Griffin’s intial effort crashed against the underside of the crossbar but, when Noah Keats’ follow-up was blocked back to him, he drove the ball home from the edge of the box. This lead last just eleven minutes though as Bricknell was given the time and space to slide the ball past Garner. Kurtis Guthrie thought he had restored City’s lead, only for a linesman’s flag to halt the celebrations, and on 70 minutes the Kent side went ahead. A free-kick on the edge of the box was blocked by the wall but the ball fell kindly to give Thompson a simple tap-in. Even when, with ten minutes left, Rance was shown a second yellow for dissent after Kerry Morgan had blocked his goalbound shot with his chest – the Dover no.4 convinced he had used a hand – City never looked like finding an equaliser allowing the Kent side to easily run out the clock.
A fluke goal with just two minutes remaining denied City a deserved point against Staines Town this evening at a wet Wheatsheaf Park. Pashaj’s shot from 20 yards was going well wide but a cruel deflection off Mark Preece (pictured) diverted the ball into the corner of the net. City’s frustration was increased deep into stoppage time when they thought they had equalised, the ball getting bundled home after Ross Stearn’s free-kick had been parried into the air by the Swans keeper, only for the referee to disallow the effort, presumably for a foul on Merson. The previous 88 minutes had been low on quality and goalmouth action from both sides and as the game drifted towards its conclusion a 0-0 draw looked the fairest result. However, fate decided otherwise and City will look to return to winning ways when they entertain Dover Athletic at Mayday Trust Park on Saturday.
The draw for the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup has given City a home tie against fellow Skrill South side Gosport Borough, who knocked the Romans out of last season’s competition. The Hampshire club, then in the Southern League, beat City 3-1 in a 3rd Qualifying Round replay at Privett Park after a 1-1 draw at Mayday Trust Park. The sides have already met in the league this season, once again ending one goal apiece at Mayday Trust Park. The tie will take place on Saturday 28 September (ko 3.00pm).
City have annouced the date of their recently postponed match against Farnborough. They will travel to Cherrywood Road on Tuesday 29 October (ko 7.45pm).
City will look to bounce back from the disappointment of conceding an injury-time equaliser against Tonbridge Angels at Mayday Trust Park on Saturday when they travel to Staines Town tomorrow evening. Although the 2-2 draw against the Kent side increased City’s unbeaten league run to four games, after recovering from falling behind with just two minutes gone and dominating the game from then on, it was definitely a match Lee Howell’s men should have won, and the type they will need to come out on top in, if they are to entertain serious play-off ambitions.
The Swans have suffered a mixed start to the 2013-14 season, winning all three of their home games but yet to pick up a single point on the road. They opened the campaign with a narrow 1-0 victory over Dorchester Town, a 66th minute penalty by Louie Theophanous, who returned to the club during the summer after switching to Bromley midway through the previous season, enough to separate the sides. Marcus Gayle’s side then suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat at Sutton United, their cause not helped by the first half dismissal of Louie Rae Beadle, before going down 3-2 to Chelmsford City in torrential rain at the Melbourne Stadium. Therefore they would have been delighted to return to Wheatsheaf Park to face Boreham Wood, all the more so when the visitors keeper managed to score two own goals in the first half. Even though Dan Brown became the second Swan to see red this season before the break a Beadle tap-in made it 3-0, making Simmonds late strike nothing more than a consolation. An early goal by Theophanous then put them in front against Basingstoke Town but two goals by the home side ensured another pointless journey for Staines. Back in Middlesex they were the side recovering from a goal down, scoring twice in the final 20 minutes to defeat previously unbeaten Eastbourne Borough. In their last outing three second half goals from Bromley ensured it was an unhappy return to Kent for Theophanous, a result that leaves the Swans in 14th place.
Complete record against Staines Town
With the hosts 100% start to the campaign at Wheatsheaf Park, City know they will face a tough test but only have to go back to their final away game of last season to remember a successful trip to Middlesex. Coincidently City also came into that game on the back of conceding a late late equaliser in their previous home game but Gethin Jones headed them in front after just 13 minutes. They maintained this lead until 14 minutes from time when Mark Preece tripped Marsh and the same player beat Jason Mellor from the spot. However, City were not to be denied and restored their advantage six minutes later when Preece fired into the roof of the net after his first effort from a Chris Allen corner was blocked. Then two minutes later Joe Lennox burst forward before slipping the ball under Turner to make it 3-1.
An injury-time equaliser by Tonbridge Angels denied City a deserved win at Mayday Trust Park this afternoon. The visitors scored after just two minutes but goals from Ross Stearn and David Pratt looked to have earned City the win their performance had fully warranted only for Lovell to deprive them right at the death. Angels got off to a dream start when City failed to deal with a corner and Pinney stabbed the ball home at the second attempt. That was as good as it got for the Kent side for another 90 minutes as City took control of the game. They almost equalised four minutes later when Josh Low inadvertantly deflected Pratt’s flick onto the post with keeper Master beaten. City’s patient passing was dominating possession and on 26 minutes they levelled the scores. Chris Allen was tripped 20 yards from goal and Stearn drilled a low free-kick into the net. Stearn curled a shot narrowly wide after Low’s inital effort had been blocked and Pratt forced an excellent save from Masters just before the interval. The keeper was beaten again though four minutes into the second half when Pratt steered a great volley home from Ben Adelsbury’s cross. Adam Connolly then struck the bar from 25 yards out and Stearn shot into the side netting as City looked to put the game beyond Tonbridge. However, they could not find a third goal and were punished two minutes past the ninety when a long ball forward dropped to Lovell whose well-struck shot gave Jason Mellor no chance.
Following a relatively relaxed start to their 2013-14 campaign, with just five matches in the opening four weeks of the season, the pace picks up with three games in the next eight days. A trip to Staines Town next Tuesday is sandwiched between two homes games against Kent opponents, Dover Athletic heading West next weekend preceded by Tonbridge Angels visiting Mayday Trust Park this Saturday.
Like City, Tonbridge come into the game on the back of a three-game league unbeaten run which marks an upturn in form after they lost their opening trio of matches. Having flirted with relegation for much of the 2012-13 season manager Tommy Warrilow brought in six new faces during the close season. He replaced long-serving goalkeeper Lee Worgan with experienced Clark Masters from Conference South rivals Havant & Waterlooville. Former Crystal Palace and England youth player Gary Borrowdale was brought in to strengthen the Angels defence along with Ryan Watts, who has played for AFC Wimbledon, Harrow Borough, Barnet, St Albans and Braintree Town. In midfield Philip Appiah joined from Eastleigh and up front Warrilow will hope that Luke Blewden and Nathaniel Pinney can score the goals to avoid another relegation struggle.
Despite a promising pre-season the new-look Angels side began the new campaign with a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Boreham Wood, which Warrilow admitted his side fully deserved. Next they headed down to the south coast to face Eastbourne Borough but returned empty-handed thanks to an injury-time goal, which was all the more disheartening after they led at the interval when Miles took advantage of a mistake by home keeper Ross. There was no such hard-luck story in their next game as they were comfortably beaten 5-1 by Bromley. The game also saw captain Elphick suffer a hamstring injury that could sideline him for up to a month. However, they bounced back in their next game, goals from Muggeridge and Browning firing them to a 2-1 win over Chelmsford City. And they made it two wins on the spin thanks to Watts’ late deflected shot seeing the Angels past Havant & Waterlooville by the same scoreline. They then suffered a first hurdle Kent Senior Cup exit to Ebbsfleet United before Ijaha’s stunning strike made it seven points from nine against Sutton United.
Complete record against Tonbridge Angels/Tonbridge
The 2012-13 season was the first in which City and Tonbridge had been league rivals since the mid-1970s and the Romans completed the double over the Kent side. City went into the game at Mayday Trust in February still looking for a first win of 2013 and the opening half-hour gave little indication that this would change as City’s attacking 4-3-3 formation made little impression and it was the visitors who enjoyed the greater possession, although they failed to trouble Jason Mellor in the home goal. In fact it Angels Worgan who was first called into action, blocking Griffin’s 31st minute shot with his legs, and this signalled a change in the balance of the game. Then in first half stoppage time Worgan again did well to parry Keats effort but, after Griffin’s follow up shot had hit the post, he was helpless as the same player fired the ball into the roof of the net. Despite losing captain Gethin Jones at half-time City doubled their lead just before the hour mark when Morgan raced onto Elliott Chamberlain’s pass and slid the ball past Worgan. Two minutes later Morgan again threatened to break clear only to be taken out by Schulz’s dreadful challenge which earned the defender a straight red card. It took just six minutes for City to make their numerical advantage count, Griffin netting his 14th goal of the season from Chamberlain’s low cross. City could have added further to the scoring, Chamberlain shooting into the side-netting, debutant Jordan Walker being denied a penalty when he appeared to be tripped by Piper and Brad Norris firing wide after further great work by Chamberlain.
Bath City’s youth team opened their 2013-14 South West Counties Youth League season in disappointing style on Saturday with a 4-1 defeat against Andover Town at Mayday Trust Park. Having narrowly missed out on the title last season Billy Clark’s side would have hoped for a winning start but the league newcomers raced into an early 2-0 lead. On the half-hour Elliot Gibbons pulled a goal back but the visitor’s restored their two-goal advantage before the interval. Despite an improved performance from City in the second half it was Andover – who are represented by Southampton FC ‘second chance’ scholars – who added a further goal to their total. Clark said, “In all honesty we cannot complain about the outcome of the match, Andover Town were better than us and look like a team that have the potential to win the league this season. Our passing and ball control was not as precise as our opponents and because of this we were second best in terms of possession and spent long periods trying to regain the ball. We did create some very good opportunities to score but maybe down to early season rustiness, we failed to convert enough of them. We can learn from this match and if we respond in the right way will be better off for this experience, a reminder that we can and need to do better.”
Will Salmon struck against his former club Ebbsfleet United to secure City a point this afternoon in a wind-disrupted 1-1 draw. The match was sponsored by former Big Break and Generation Game host Jim Davidson, but there was little to entertain the crowd during the opening 20 minutes with both sides struggling to contend with the gusty wind blowing across Stonebridge Road. It was a surprise then when on 25 minutes the home side took the lead, Huke rising the highest to head a free-kick past Jason Mellor. The Fleet now took full control of the game but couldn’t find a vital second goal, Cook firing their best chance narrowly wide shortly before the interval. The second half was a different story though, as City finally began to impose themselves on the game, taking control of the midfield and nullifying Ebbsfleet’s attacking threat. On 69 minutes they deservedly drew level when a Ross Stearn free-kick dropped to an unmarked Salmon eight yards out and he stabbed the ball home. Andy Watkins and Josh Low were then denied clear runs on goal by tight offside decisions before Mellor had to be alert to take the ball off the toes of Cook as he looked certain to score. Whilst City will no doubt be the happier with the result, given the vast difference in the financial resources of the two clubs, in the end the draw was a fair result.
Punky: The Paul Randall Story comes out on 20th September and to promote his book Paul Randall is holding a book signing event at Bath City Football Club on Friday 11th October and really hopes that fans, from both Bath City and Bristol Rovers will support this event. The book is priced at £14.99 but will be sold for £10 on the night, plus Paul will personally sign it for the purchaser (a great Christmas present). Paul has invited a number of former playing colleagues from both Bath City and Bristol Rovers to the evening and it’s a chance to chat and mingle with them. The date of the event was arranged before we knew that England were playing a game against Montenegro, but that game will be on in the background as Paul meets people and signs books and there will be a question and answer session after the England game.
There are 2 book signing sessions. Firstly, in the TR Hayes Lounge, from 6.30pm to 8pm, there will be a buffet and Paul and his ex-playing colleagues will be there to chat to. There will also be a formal photograph taken with Paul for anyone who buys his book, at the discounted price. The cost of a ticket for this earlier event is £10, and tickets are limited. The Moore Stephens Lounge will be open for drinks from 7.30pm and people can then transfer to the TR Hayes Lounge at 8pm, where Paul will be available for you to purchase his book at the discounted price. After the England game Paul will do a question and answer session, with some of his former playing colleagues next to him, which should prove very entertaining! Tickets for this event are £1. However, if this event is very well supported it will take place downstairs in Randall’s and Charlie’s. Please note that this is a ticket only event. Tickets can be purchased at the Tonbridge Angels or Dover Athletic games or obtained from the club office.
Some three weeks after their successful trip to Bishop’s Stortford, Saturday will see City embark on their second away game of the 2013-14 season when they head to Kent to face Ebbsfleet United. The postponement of August Bank Holiday’s game at Farnborough (who were finally given the green light today to begin their season this weekend) meant three successive Mayday Trust Park outings, which garnered four points, and the Romans will look for a win that will keep them in touch with the early Skrill South pacesetters.
The Fleet are a very different club to the one City last faced in February 2012. Back then they were still owned by MyFC, the website that had taken over in 2008, although the writing was already on the wall for the set-up. They finished the 2011-12 campaign in a creditable 14th position but the following season became a struggle on and off the pitch. Despite a remarkable 5-4 opening day win at Nuneaton Town they were soon mired in a relegation battle that they rarely looked like winning. Off the pitch the Fleet were facing a possible winding-up order after falling behind with payments to HM Revenue & Customs and were forced into several appeals to supporters for donations just to keep the club afloat. In May 2013, though, a purchase proposal from a Kuwaiti company, KEH Sports Ltd, was put to MyFC who voted to sell their interests in the Fleet and so began a new era for the club as it pulled back from the brink of closure. As part of their takeover plans, the new owners proposed a transfer budget for this season of £100,000 and a wage budget of £8,000 per week plus a refurbishment of their Stonebridge Road home.
Whilst the takeover was progressing long serving manager Liam Daish stepped down to be replaced by ex-Dover Athletic assistant manager Steve Brown. He immediately turned to his former club, bringing in midfielder Daryl McMahon for £13,000 and striker Ben May on a free transfer. Further new arrivals included left-back Aiden Palmer from Chelmsford City, two further former Whites in defender Shane Huke and forward Billy Bricknell and former Northern Irish Under-21 international midfielder Michael Corcoran. In total there were over a dozen new arrivals as Brown looked to build squad capable of making an immediate return to the Conference Premier. Unsurprisingly it has taken a little time for the team to gel, failing to win any of their opening four games. However, a 3-1 win over Dorchester Town last Saturday ended this run and they followed this up with a 3-0 victory against Skrill South rivals Tonbridge Angels in the Kent Senior Cup.
Complete record against Ebbsfleet United/Gravesend & Northfleet
City’s last trip to Stonebridge Road came toward the end of September 2011, with the Romans already rooted to the foot of the table and still looking for a first win of the 2011-12 season, and their long midweek journey to Kent did nothing to alter either of those unwanted records. Although they were unfortunate to fall behind in the first half to a fluke goal after dominating the opening 20 minutes, it was the same old story as Ebbsfleet struck twice after the interval to record their first home win of the season. Lee Phillips and Marley Watkins had both gone close as City began the game brightly but on 24 minutes a long range effort, that Glyn Garner looked to have covered, deflected off Willock and looped into the net to give the home side an undeserved lead. Phillips should have levelled seven minutes later, heading wide from a Marc Canham free-kick, but it was City who would have been happier to hear the half-time whistle. However, after City once again started the half on top, it was Ebbsfleet who struck when West was given far too much room to fire past Garner before 15 minutes from time Willock made it 3-0 with a diving header.