Posted by sean on October 11, 2009 at 8:37 pm in Bath City with No Comments

A virus has broken out at Bath City Football Club. One which I have fallen victim to. The plague, which has the possibility to grow even more, is known as ‘FA Cup Fever’.

Bath City yesterday beat Bishop’s Cleeve in the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round. This now means they are one game away from the 1st Round Proper, where the bigger boys enter. In theory, Bath City are 90 minutes from a game at Norwich, Southampton, Charlton or even the mighty Leeds United.

Of course, 90 minutes is a long time in football and whether or not Bath City will progress past the 4th Qualifying Round depends on many factors, not least the outcome of tomorrow’s draw, where City will learn who stands in their way of making the season one to remember.

Beating Bishops Cleeve was nothing to boast about, even with the 4-1 score line. ‘Bish’ are two leagues below Bath City, so it would have been a major cup upset had the outcome been anything but victorious for the Romans (notice, I am trying not to get too carried away, despite the fever infecting my body and mind).

Despite being in the lower leagues, Bishops Cleeve’s Kayte Lane ground is a quaint, pretty stadium, situated in the picturesque surroundings of the Cotswolds. The facilities were impressive for the level in which they play their football. My only criticism is the cheeseburger, which is probably one of the worst things I have ever eaten at a football game. Half of it ended up in the bin.

After a mildly shaky start, City got into the game, winning a penalty which was duly converted by top scorer, Darren Edwards. As the game progressed, City went on to get a further two goals, before the referee’s whistle blew for half time.

In typical non-league fashion, the away fans made their way from one side of the ground to the other, to stand behind or alongside the goal in which City were attacking. The home teams manager must have given his few team a few choice words, as they came out with a fighting mentality, and it wasn’t long before they had pulled a goal back to make it 3-1. My fellow fans seemed unperturbed by this, however I would be lying if I said the nerves were not present inside me.

Any fears of a miraculous comeback were quashed when City made it 4-1, putting the game beyond doubt. This obviously caused some degree of anger to the Bishops Cleeve goalkeeper, who started randomly blurting our profanities and telling the Bath City players to ‘f**k off’.

With children well within ear-shot, the keeper was asked by a City fan to watch his language. He did not take the request on board and begun to turn his frustrations on the fans behind his goal – the biggest mistake any keeper can make. This lead to an onslaught of banter aimed in his direction. I cannot remember exactly what was said by the Bath City fans, but I am sure it was polite and along the lines of “Excuse me Mr. Goalkeeper. I have noticed you are having a rather below par performance this afternoon. I wonder if you actually enjoy losing?” to which the keeper turned around, spitting like a rabid dog and shouting “I f**king love it!”

A funny day and a great win. Hopefully the Bath City balls will be placed in the microwave, along with the lowest ranked team left in the cup tomorrow, ahead of the lunchtime draw.

And finally, while you can never plan for future rounds in the FA Cup, I think City would be wise to at least think of what they will do should they meet ‘a biggie’ in the 1st Round. If the game were to be televised, it appears to be a rule of TV that every non-league side has a postman in the ranks. This jolly old postie normally goes on to score the winning goal against the hapless, overpaid professionals.

For any City fans who haven’t been sucked into the romance of the FA Cup, have a look at this…

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