Posted by sean on January 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm in Bath City with No Comments

2011 started with a short trip to Newport to watch the mighty Bath City take on their Welsh rivals. Newport has been a good hunting ground for City in recent years, with The Romans picking up a number of victories at the Spytty Park stadium.

Like Bath City, Newport won promotion to the National Conference last season and have taken to the new division very well, occupying second place before yesterday’s game.

Despite a strong rivalry between both clubs and supporters, we received a warm welcome from the Welsh hosts and drank and ate in their clubhouse. That was where the hospitality finished. After being wined and dined, we learnt that we were being moved from the covered terrace, which offers an excellent view of the game, to an open-air terrace behind a running track and what looked like a mile way from the pitch.

I have no idea why the police and stewards thought it necessary to move the Bath City fans. Perhaps it is due to our infamous international reputation for hooliganism. Yeah right – the local Parish football team have a bigger hooligan firm than Bath City.

Disturbing scenes from Bath City's last visit to Newport

Unfortunately, I didn’t bring a pair of binoculars or my telescope to Spytty Park, so watching part of the game was a little difficult. Some fans joked that those supporters who stayed behind in Bath had a better view of the match.

What I could actually see of the first half looked to be a very poor game of football. Newport attacked our goal at the far end of the ground. Being so far away, I had no idea what was going on and during goalmouth scrambles, nervously awaited the roar of 3,000 Welshmen as a goal was scored. Luckily the goal never came.

In the second half, Newport attacked the goal closest to where we were stood. We were able to see the ongoing attacks from the home side (just about), but couldn’t see our own team’s efforts on goal.

Midway through the second half, Bath City scored. We could tell by the sudden silence from the home crowd and ten men wearing blue Bath City shirts jumping up and down in the distance. Cue delirium throughout the away supporters. We hadn’t actually seen a goal scored, but there had apparently been one and we were winning!

The goal had a positive impact on the game, stirring up the hornet’s nest and forcing Newport to play some attractive, attacking football. It was a nerve-wrecking experience watching the Bath City goal sustain a strong bombardment of Newport attack and I was left upset and frustrated (but not surprised) when the home team scored a late equalising goal.

What followed will go down in one the memory book for the season. Deep into injury time, Bath City launched an attack themselves. Again, we had little perception of what was happening from where we were stood, but when we saw the players in blue running away celebrating yet again, we knew the game had been won. Mass celebrations erupted throughout the away fans.

City had to survive a little scare in the final minute, where Newport missed a chance to equalise, but the heroes from England managed to hold on and beat the Welsh (despite both of Bath City’s goal scorers being from Wales themselves).

Tomorrow I will visit Wales again, for the longer trip to Wrexham – the birthplace of Robbie Savage, Robbie Savage and errr… Robbie Savage.

The pride of Wrexham

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