Posted by sean on January 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm in Bath City with 1 Comment

Bath City 1-1 Braintree Town
Conference National
Saturday 6th January 2012 – 15:00

When I set myself a target to blog about every Bath City games I attend, I knew it would be a challenge. Away games are easy; with opposition supporters, new football grounds and the state of service station toilets all providing ample blog-worthy material.

Home matches are a little trickier to write up on a regular basis. Only so many times can you blog about the club shop, which doubles up as a pet food stall at the Twerton market. While everyone loves to read about dogs at football matches, unless the animal does something amazing like invade the pitch and bite the opposition manager, blogging about how it barked a lot can get a bit boring.

Therefore, as yesterday’s match against Braintree Town was played out, I started to think about events within the game which could make a blog for the game worthwhile.

The sight of Bladud the Pig entering the family stand, filled with some 200 school children, and conducting them in a rendition of “Come on City!” did raise a smile. While Bladud was in the family side, he wasn’t able to annoy me on the terrace.

Bladud boars yet another fans.. boars/bores - do you see what I did there?

Braintree’s Sean Marks getting booked for moaning like, as my old maths teacher from school would put it, “an old woman”, before subsequently being booked was hilarious in comparison to the BBC sitcom, My Family, yet marginally funny compared to normal events in everyday life.

Then there was Bath City’s goal, in just the 5th minute of the game. Sean Canham was the scorer. His second game back for the club and his second goal. That’s some form, Sean. Keep this up and we may just stay up. From where I was stood, the goal did have a touch of offside about it, which is why I did not celebrate until I was certain the linesman wasn’t going to raise his flag and disallow the fine, but slightly dubious effort.

As readers of my blog will know, I don’t do match reports. If you want one of those, may I direct you to Kelston Koppite’s excellent summary on the Bath City forum. Therefore I would be hopeless at reciting in detail how City would continue to dominate the remainder of the match, Marley Watkins chipping the goalkeeper, yet hitting the post; while Marc Canham and Lewis Hogg all missing excellent chances themselves.

What was I going to blog about? Surely something would happen during the match. At half time, it was announced a Braintree fan had won 2nd prize in the match day raffle. £25 was his reward, which he very generously donated back to Bath City – a very kind gesture, which should be applauded.

As the match drew to a close, I was still struggling for events for the blog. At that point, however, any thoughts of updating Sean’s Stories had long been forgotten. I was counting the seconds until fulltime, when the game would end and 3 deserved points would be collected. Bath City were climbing the metaphorical league-table ladder and almost had their finger tips on the step marked “You are now leaving the Relegation Zone”. Sure we were a long way from the sign “Mid-table Mediocrity welcomes careful drivers”, but it was a start.

Then an event happened which gave me reason to write today’s blog. Had this incident not taken place, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog now. I wouldn’t have spent part of my Sunday morning writing this tosh, instead I’d probably be watching the Hollyoaks omnibus on Channel 4+1 – ok, that’s a lie, I haven’t reached those depths yet.

With the game deep into injury time, referee Wayne Barratt, that’s WAYNE BARRATT, awarded Braintree a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. I was a bit annoyed by this, mainly as Braintree had been falling on the edge of the box throughout the afternoon. However, the heart rate was still at a moderate pace, as all the set pieces Braintree had taken that afternoon had been poor.

The free kick was taken, with both Bath City and Braintree players trying to win the ball. Everything’s normal. Then the referee, Wayne Barratt (remember that name, folks), blew his whistle. Like the 955 other fans in the ground, along with the players, managers, coaching staff, linesman, stewards, Bladud the Pig and the barking pet dog, I assumed this was for a foul on Bath City keeper, Jason Matthews. The free kick would then be taken, ref blows for fulltime, we all go home happy, thanks very much. I was wrong. Wayne Barratt pointed to the penalty spot, awarding Braintree a spot kick.

What the penalty was for, I do not know. No Braintree player appealed it. They looked as surprised as anyone when it was awarded, although probably not as enraged as I was. The penalty was taken and saved by Jason Matthews – a would-be hero, if it weren’t for the fact he was unable to keep hold of the ball, which fell to the feet of a Braintree player who scored the equaliser.

I was stunned, disappointed, but above all furious. I have watched a lot of football, some of which has left me upset and angry, but I can honestly say that I have never felt so furious after a match than I did yesterday. If the game had been played in Italy, Wayne Barratt would have been accused of fixing the game, his error was that farcical. Much as I would love to believe Barratt is a match-fixer, I sadly cannot – thankfully.

The only explanation I can give is that Wayne Barratt, earlier in the game, had realised his error in allowing Bath City’s possible offside goal to stand, so therefore made amends by giving Braintree a penalty for absolutely nothing, so late in the game that it pretty much guaranteed a draw. This is still unacceptable and is, in a way, match-fixing. I have since read reports of a Braintree player telling Barratt that he was not fouled and the penalty should not stand. If this is true, that Braintree player should be commended for sportsmanship, while Wayne Barratt sacked.

Post-match replays also suggest that no Braintree player was fouled in the lead up to the penalty being awarded. 2 points officially stolen by Wayne Barratt.

Sorry for the rather downbeat end to this blog. I generally do try to keep them light hearted, but when you are cheated (and there is no other word for it) out of two points, there is little to laugh about.

One Response to The Great 2-Points Robbery

  1. apache09

    January 8, 2012 - 2:06 pm

    Good post. As a home and away fan of Corby Town at con north i can relate to your article. The standard of refs at the conference national level is horrendeous. They are unfit, bottle decisions, cower to intimidation (either from players, management or crowd) and generally put in piss poor performances week in week out.

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