Dorchester Town 2-1 Bath City
Monday 27th August 2012 – 15:00
So, what’s happened in the world of Bath City FC since my last blog? There were two home games at the newly renamed Mayday Trust Park. Five goals scored by Bath City, four of which by our new hero Kurtis Guthrie, a thunderstorm on Saturday and most importantly, six points for The Romans!
Going into Bank Holiday Monday game, away to Dorchester Town, the league table looked very good – the main reason for this being we were top! OK, on goals scored.
While I predicted an 8th place finish (Bath City love finishing 8th) at the start of the season and continue to maintain that is where we’ll end up, the signs are encouraging. Last season, we faced three teams from the Conference South in cup and trophy competitions – Dover Athletic, Chelmsford City and Basingstoke Town. These were good sides who finished in the top 7 at the end of the 2011/12 season. Despite them having strong league campaigns and Bath City having a very disappointing one, City managed to beat all three fairly easily. It just goes to show the difference in class between the two divisions is massive. As we have kept a lot of our players from last year and strengthened in areas where others had left, I believe I have reason to be cautiously optimistic.
It is no secret that manager, Adie Britton, has had to work with a shoestring budget in comparison to many of his managerial counterparts. As he approaches his fourth anniversary as Bath City boss, it is a credit to him that he has achieved so much while spending so little. The comparison has not been made before, but I see Adie as a non-league David Moyes. Proving you can bring success without splashing the cash.
Crickey, I was getting all serious there. Anymore and people would think they were reading an extract from Saturday’s Guardian. I had better quit while I’m ahead and return to normality – the Dorchester trip…
After a scenic journey through the Somerset and Dorset countryside, the Bath City supporters coach arrived at Dorchester’s Avenue Stadium. With no pub or place to drink nearby, the coach-trippers headed straight for the nearby Tesco to do their “big shop” and buy lunch.
One shopping trip later, I sat on the terrace enjoying a Tesco Meal Deal, consisting of an Egg and Cress triple sandwich, a packet of Cool Original Doritos and tropical fruit juice. I know how to dine!
Former Bath City goalkeeper and non-league legend, Jason Matthews, warmed up. His departure from Twerton Park resulted in me being slightly less star-struck than I once was. City reject.
At the other end of the pitch, current City players (the real heroes), warmed up by having a penalty shoot out. Kerry Morgan with an impressive chip which would have made Pirlo proud.
The game kicked off and The Legion started the singing, drowning out the home support. The opening song of the afternoon was the ever-popular “Come on you stripes”, although this effort somehow managed to upset certain fans who complained that City were playing in their ‘Leeds United’ yellow and blue away kit, while the home side donned the black and white stripes.
City continued with their form from Saturday’s game by dominating the play and giving their opponents a torrid time on the pitch. It wasn’t long until a free kick was won by City. New striker, Chalie Griffin stepped up and shot past the wall and through the hands of Jason Matthews. A very generous gesture by our former goalkeeper and one we were all very grateful for – so much so, he was thanked by the Bath fans who gave him his very own song – “City reject. City reject. Hello, hello!”
Dorchester have a fairly modern stadium, constructed in 1990. A number of covered terraces surround the ground as well as a main seated stand and open terrace behind one of the goals. During boring moments of matches, supporters can enjoy observing the local wildlife which inhabits the ground – a family of swifts dive that fly along the pitch, with far more grace than any of the players, who more closely resembled Twerton Park’s resident birds – seagulls.
The goal kicked-stated Dorchester, who began to play (albeit 15 minutes too late). City Reject No.2, Ben Watson, trying a bit too hard, running straight into our goalkeeper Glyn Garner in an attempt to score a goal. The referee blew his whistle like an over-excited child on Christmas morning who had opened his present to find a referees whistle. Thankfully this fuss was to brand Watson a yellow card and award City a free kick. Like many other supporters, I thought a penalty had been awarded. While it wasn’t a spot kick, I felt Watson was hard done by.
The referee continued his general crapness by booking our new hero, Kurtis Guthrie, for a ‘nothing challenge’ . Unlike in his previous two games, our new striker had been somewhat quiet, but the booking made him see red, well yellow, and take some impressive shots at goal. He missed.
Despite creating chances, City were unable to find that illusive second goal. Their efforts being thwarted by a mixture of poor finishing, good defending and Jason Matthew remembering he was playing for Dorchester Town and not Bath City.
As is always the way in football, if you don’t take your chances, you’ll be made to pay. City paid the price, in goal money, when Dorchester equalised. Some away fans shouted offside. Despite being at the other end of the pitch, I could tell there was no problem with the goal whatsoever. Before we could even say “two points dropped”, Dorchester scored again. Bollocks. Just like last season.
Dorchester could smell blood and it wasn’t the under-cooked burgers coming from the tea bar (I apologise for that awful analogy). It should have been 3-1, but somehow a City defender managed to clear the ball off the line after Glyn Garner went AWOL.
The home fans (finally) found their voice and started singing – stealing our song of “Come on you stripes”. If any Dorchester fans are reading, by the way; yes, my blogs normally are this bias.
While trying to keep the score line respectable, Garner became injured. Thankfully he was able to carry on. I don’t think we had another keeper on the bench and believe all our substitutions had been made (again, first class football journalism here).
The game was dead. Nothing was happening and Dorchester looked happy to keep the scoreline at 2-1 – time to park the bus in the bay, put the handbrake on, take the keys out of the ignition, lock the door and have a fag outside.
So 2-1 was how the game ended. The only remaining events of interest involved Jason Matthews. Firstly lambasting his defence for almost allowing City to score. Secondly at full time, receiving a bit of somewhat unfair stick from the travelling fans. Despite not having the best of seasons with us last year and taking an entire fifteen seconds to take a goal kick (time wasting at its very best), I felt a little sorry for him… only a little.
As we got back onto the coach, the usual rubbish from the usual tosspot supporter from last season started… “They don’t wanna go up, do they!”. No, they don’t. They lost on purpose. Get a grip and shut up.
* these blog titles are not going to get any better. This is the standard, sorry.
Welling United 1-1 Bath City
Saturday 18th August 2012 – 15:00
What is the best way to start the new football season? Bearing in mind this is a football season following relegation the previous year. Answer: NOT stuck on a coach, gridlocked on the M25 in temperatures hotter than Africa. That was the price the loyal supporters still following Bath City paid to watch their team at Welling United this weekend. That and £22 coach fare, £10 Supporters Club Membership and £12 admittance to the ground. The spiralling cost of modern day football.
When the coach eventually pulled up and parked on the main road outside Welling’s Park View Road ground, there was no time to go hunting for a pub. It was a case of head towards the clubhouse, pray that they selling decent cider and are showing the Leeds game.
Alas, there was no Sky Sports or good cider. Just Bulmers. Even Mansfield Town sold Thatcher’s Gold. I reluctantly agreed to have a pint and my mood was slightly raised when I found out it was only £2 a bottle. I supped my lukewarm fake-cider, while sharing a table with a Welling old-boy, who told me of his side’s successful preseason campaign and disappointing play off final defeat to their bitter rivals, Dartford (scum, scum, scum).
A single team sheet arrived at the bar, to which dozens of supporters crowded around, as if it was the holy-grail, all trying to get their grubby hands on it. There was excitement when Bath City’s new signing, Kurtis Guthrie was listed on the bench. Apparently Guthrie spent some time at Park View Road. When I asked a Welling fan about his performance, the home supporter replied “He moved on”. Yup, we’ve had lots of those at Bath City. Most of those are at Paulton Rovers these days.
City showed off their new yellow and blue kit, while Welling wore their fancy new red shirt. This caused minor confusion amongst many Bath City fans, well me, as Welling’s home shirt looked almost identical to our away strip from last season.
The game kicked off and the fans from each side swapped ends, walking past the main stand to get behind the opposition goal and wind up the goalkeeper. Unsegregated grounds. One of the few perks of relegation.
Welling started well and forced our goalkeeper, Glyn Garner, to make a save on the line. Luckily for us Bath City fans, Welling’s goalie was not quite as good, as new City signing, Aaron Brown, beat what seemed like every single outfield player, before lobbing the hapless keeper who tipped the ball into his own net. If you doubt my somewhat hazy recollection, the highlights are here.
As the goal was scored, the keeper slumped to the floor and City fans ran from the terraces to
console mock the butter-fingered player, who would, for the remainder of the match, be referred to as “dodgy keeper” whenever he went anywhere near the ball.
Towards the end of the first half, a Welling player fell to the ground. Either he had been shot by a nearby sniper, or he wanted a rest. Some fans, clearly very concerned for the player’s wellbeing, sang the Casualty theme tune as a physio ran onto the pitch to treat the stricken patient.
During half time, word got around that Liverpool were losing at West Brom and even more breaking news, Frome Town were beating AFC Totton. Unbelievable, Jeff.
The second half was mostly spent watching Welling attack the Bath City goal at the other end of the pitch. It was somewhat reminiscent of last season at times, although admittedly City did appear a lot more organised. Unlike last season, manager Adie Britton made a tactical substitution, in the process changing the formation to “four-four-f**king-two”. Even more incredible was when veteran striker, Charlie Griffin, was substituted for youth team player, Noah Keats. “Impressive, is that” would no doubt be the words of Yoda if he were a Bath City fan.
Not so impressive was our defending when Welling managed to equalise. A scramble in the box after some good attacking play from the home side. Déjà vu, anyone?
The remainder of the game was an onslaught on the City goal. I watched in fear, not really knowing what was going on (due to standing at the opposite end of the pitch), dreading the cheer of the home crowd as the jumped to celebrate a winner.
City did manage to push for a second goal themselves, Guthrie causing his former club a few problems and creating chances that unfortunately no Bath City striker was able to get on the end of.
The game ended 1-1. A fair result, although slightly disappointing considering we were leading at one point.
Heading back to the coach, I was incredibly thirsty. No doubt a combination of standing in the hot sun and drinking fake-cider. A can of ice cold Coca Cola was ordered from the burger van. A woman, dripping with sweat and scrubbing a deep fat fryer looked at me slightly annoyed for having the cheek to buy a drink after the match had finished. She took a pound from me and handed over a tin of Pepsi which felt hotter than a cup of tea. Eugh…
Bath City 1-3 Burnley
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.
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.
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).
On this website, you’ll find me blogging (almost) daily about everyday life, living in Bath, working with computers, and the occasional bit of football stuff thrown in.
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