Swansea City U23s 1 (1) Bath City (1) 3 – Tuesday 3 August 2021 – Pre-Season Friendly – Landore Training Ground
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
“The best all-round performance of pre-season” was how Jerry Gill described Bath City’s win over a young Swansea side on Tuesday.
Omar Holness gave City a deserved lead before Tarrelle Whittaker sent the sides in level at the break with a debatable penalty.
Alex Fletcher and new loan signing Mo Touray benefitted from two defensive lapses to earn City their fifth away win from five pre-season games.
The hosts rarely threatened at their Landore facility, in a game on an immaculate pitch witnessed by just a collection of players’ friends and family and a few coaches, including newly appointed Swansea City first team manager Russell Martin and former Bath City boss Paul Bodin.
Not since Bodin’s time in charge had a Bath pre-season contained so many goals. They went to Swansea with 33 in total in seven matches, 18 in their favour, and Cody Cooke looked keen to add to his prolific spell with a few early efforts which fell wide.
Sam Leverett flashed a shot just wide of Ryan Clarke’s left post with the keeper scrambling before City took a deserved lead.
Fletcher picked out Eddie Jones in room down the right and he pulled the ball back from the byline for the onrushing Holness to prod home from six yards.
The Swans nearly levelled within three minutes when Jacob Jones’ corner was met by a towering header from Ben Erickson but Clarke was equal to it, fisting away from underneath the crossbar.
An equaliser arrived in fortunate circumstances. Leverett’s attempted cross was blocked by Dan Ball who was adjudged to have deliberately handled despite being positioned around two yards from the delivery.
Referee Ryan Kenny was given the signal from one of his assistants to point to the spot, and Whittaker took advantage by confidently sending Clarke the wrong way.
Perhaps perturbed by that decision, the Romans emerged from the second half with extra vigour, pressing and harrying Swansea in their defensive third, forcing them into mistakes, which led to a second goal for Gill’s men.
Joel Cotterill’s attempted ball forward was robbed by Touray who skipped a challenge and played it inside to Fletcher, who placed the ball out of Defreitas-Hansen’s reach inside his right post from 12 yards.
Touray was proving a handful to Kris O’Leary’s youngsters and he got in on the act with a third on 57 minutes.
It was a gift for the former Wales under 21 international who received the ball from Defreitas-Hansen’s shocking pass, allowing the forward to shimmy inside and drill past the frustrated keeper.
Mo Dabre was given license to run at the Swansea backline having been introduced as a substitute. He set Fletcher free down the right but his resulting shot was well parried by Defreitas-Hansen, atoning for his error.
The City forward also slashed over when well-placed as the visitors looked to add another.
In defence the Romans looked more assured as Ball, Callum Wood and Jack Batten in particular stood firm against a quick attacking trio that lacked telling service throughout, with Whittaker’s free-kick from 25 yards out brushing the side netting in a rare moment of excitement for the Swans.
Bath saw out the closing stages comfortably and will look to end their pre-season on a high this Saturday at Hereford.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Jones (Raynes 63), Wood, Holness (James 76), Batten, Ball, Touray (Harley 68), Fletcher, Cooke (Dabre 53), T Smith (Neilson 82), Frear. Sub not used: Welch.
Scorers: City – Holness (22), Fletcher (51), Touray (57); Swansea – Whittaker (pen 36)
Officials: R Kelly, I Bird, J Christopher