Posted by sean on January 15, 2012 at 12:52 pm in Bath City with No Comments

Bath City 1-0 Basingstoke Town
FA Trophy – Round 2
Saturday 14th January 2012 – 15:00

It seems a long time since Bath City were knocked out of the FA Cup by Dagenham and Redbridge. The Daggers scoring an offside goal, which saw them progress to the next round and beating Walsall. Next week they will play Millwall in a 3rd round replay, the winners of that awarded with a home tie against Southampton. By rights it should be Bath City travelling to The New Den this week. Probably. OK, probably not.

Despite being out of the FA Cup, there is still the FA Trophy. Not as prestige, but certainly not to be sniffed at either. If The FA Cup was Cinderella, the FA Trophy, along with the FA Vase, are would be its two ugly sisters. Not as glamorous, but still get to go to The Ball, or in this case Wembley Stadium for the final. “Who plays the role of the evil stepmother?” I hear you all shout. That would have to be Dennis Strudwick, of course.

Bath City’s record in the FA Trophy has been shocking to say the least. For a team which has spent almost its entire history in the top 3 steps of non-league football, there is no success to speak of whatsoever. There is more chance of Bath City winning the FA Cup than the Trophy, they are that jinxed in the competition.

Things have to change at some point though, and with the visit of Conference South side, Basingstoke Town to Fortress Twerton, it is surely perfectly reasonable for fans to book their place in the next round before a ball is even kicked, right. I mean, any lower league team must be rubbish, right? Bugger.

Conference South side, Basingstoke brought with them Conference South style football. That is not a criticism of them, just a reminder of what we can expect should we be relegated. Dogged defending, brutes in defence and a lot of hoof-ball.

City could and probably should have been 1-0 up in the opening few minutes. Scott Murray missing an excellent chance after making one of his now trademark runs down the right wing. The 600-odd home fans in the ground tasted blood and sensed a large victory. Basingstoke had other ideas though and put up a real fight, giving City a lot of problems.

City took the lead in the 23rd minute. Alex Russell putting in an excellent cross for Sean Canham to head in an well-worked goal. “Goooooal! 1-0 City! We’re going to win this tinpot trophy!” Unfortunately, the excitement and magic of the FA Trophy meant I totally forgot to take any photos of the game. Therefore, here is an artist’s impression of the goal.

Basingstoke have been doing well in their league and were not prepared to let one goal stop them in their fight for FA Trophy success. They continued to match City on the pitch and at times it was hard to tell which team was from the higher division.

It was a poor game of football. A Manchester United fan stood behind me – an old work colleague, who has not ventured into Twerton Park for years. Clearly the magic of the FA Trophy tearing him away from his armchair and Sky+ box – although more likely because there were no televised games that afternoon. Clearly thinking he was watching his beloved Lancashire club, he berated the Bath City players “Shoot! Pass it wide! Tackle! Get the manager a bottle of whiskey!” before realising Nani was in fact not playing and asking me if I “watch this rubbish every week?” Loser.

Despite being a disappointing game, both sides did create chances; Scott Murray trying his best to score for City, while super goalkeeper and non-league legend, Jason Matthews, performing heroics to prevent Basingstoke from scoring. Again, I couldn’t get a photo of superman in action, so here’s a drawing in felt tip.

The game finished 1-0. Bath City into the (tin)pot for the next round of this tinpot competition. Feeling considerably more calm than I did a week ago, I went for a post-match drink in the clubhouse. The regular bar, Charlies, was closed due to renovation so the club’s second bar, Randall’s was used. As well as holding countless weddings, Randall’s has hosted such names as Eric Cantona, Robert Carlyle and most famous of all, The Wurzels.

With no Sky Sports in Randall’s, a DVD player was hooked up to a TV and played highlights from the 2010-11 season on a loop. My God we were good back then – the best Bath City team I have ever seen. Along with other City fans, I was disappointed to see the club had increased the price of Thatchers Gold cider to an extortionate £3.30 a pint. This caused almost as much outrage as referee Wayne Barratt’s cheating  last week. Whoever made that decision, clearly took the GOLD part of the cider’s name literally, charging prices as if the drink were real bullion.

Worth its weight in gold

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