Posted by sean on August 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm in Bath City with No Comments

Bath City 1-3 Burnley
Preseason Friendly
Tuesday 31st July 2012 – 19:30

It says a lot about a Bath City’s preseason when the biggest story on the club’s message board has been that of an internet troll causing arguments amongst the fans and even resulting in a new forum being created with the help of yours truly (by the way – the new forum’s called I REALLY Love Bath City – go on, sign up, you know you want to. All new members get a free Parker pen*).

* Pens will be dispatched in the year 2086

Prior to last night’s game against Burnley, I had of course already seen Bath City play this preseason, although that match featured mostly trialists and youth team players, meaning that it didn’t really count as a proper football match. It was more like watching an episode of The Apprentice, with a group of no hopers (trialists) trying to win a contract, working for Lord Adie Britton. Having never watched an episode of The Apprentice in my life, I think that statement is an entirely fair comparison.

To their credit, Burnley fielded a strong side. I know it was a strong side because I recognised some of the names on the team sheet. Charlie Austin – famous worldwide for the goals he scored for Kintbury Rangers and David Edgar – most remembered for getting sent off for Newcastle United on the day the Geordies were relegated at Villa Park (I was there – how I laughed);  just two of the big names to grace the hallowed Twerton Park, sorry Mayday Trust Park, turf.

As expected for a team four divisions above you on the football pyramid, Burnley dominated for the majority of the game. The score was kept to a respectable 0-0 for the entire first half. Much credit for the first half clean sheet should go to Bath City goalkeeper, Glyn Garner (I once got locked in his car, don’t you know). Charlie Austin’s hesitation in front of goal also helped keep things goal-less.

Half time came and I became somewhat star struck when Burnley FC and internet legend, Rocky Mills walked right past me. For those of you who have been living under a stone for the past five years, or simply have lives and don’t spend all day on YouTube, Rocky Mills is a mad, angry, elderly Burnley fan. I was tempted to say hello, but was a little scared. The first and quite possibly the last time I have ever been frightened by a pensioner. Besides one old and fierce dinner lady at school.

Bye bye “Premier” banner *sob sob*

Not only did Burnley bring a strong team, but they brought lots of supporters. Hundreds of them. It would be fair to say that us Bath City lot were outnumbered. My thanks go out to them for making the long journey and helping add to our transfer kitty!

The players emerged from the tunnel for the second half followed by an incredibly strong smell of Deep Heat. Such was the stench, I am sure the players had not read the instructions on the tube of cream which state “not to be taken orally” and instead brushed their teeth with it.

Bath City made a number of changes at half time. Manager, Adie Britton, clearly showing off to his managerial counterpart, Eddie Howe, that despite being non-league, we can make some decent substations. Howe responded to Adie’s bragging moments later by substituting his entire team, bar the goalkeeper.

Fun and games were had by all, when following injury to a Burnley player, Bath City’s heroic hard-man, Adie Harris lobbed the Burnley goalkeeper from the restart, scoring in the process. Cue scenes of bat shit celebration, or rather a mixture of bemusement and embarrassment (no doubt rabid fury from Rocky). After laughing it off, Burnley were allowed to equalise by walking the ball into the Bath City net, which our young substitute goalkeeper still tried to save. Naughty boy.

The class and fitness began to show during the remainder of the second half and while Bath City did well, they couldn’t prevent Burnley grabbing a third goal just minutes from fulltime.

The pre-match shot (which means I forgot to take a real match shot)

A pleasing performance, especially considering past preseason encounters against Football League opposition have resulted in heavy defeats to Cardiff City and Cheltenham Town.

As I left the ground and headed to the clubhouse for my first Thatchers Gold of the season, a young child asked his dad if the game had been on TV. So much to learn. Although if a Bath City game were to be televised next season, I would quite happily ram my matchday programme down Clive Tyldesley’s throat (or Mark Lawrenson if it was on BBC).

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