Posted by sean on February 15, 2012 at 9:47 pm in Bath City, Ventures Outside Of Bath with No Comments


Newport County 1-0 Bath City
Conference National
Tuesday 14th February 2012 – 19:45

With the return of The Champions League this week, came Bath City’s very own international fixture. A trip across the bridge to local neighbours Newport County. However, this wasn’t the first time they tried to play this match… Take #1 – Boxing Day. Postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Take #2 – 17th January. Called off again. Take #3 – 7th February. Game off. Take #4 – Valentine’s Day. Game on (unfortunately).

Due to Bath City’s notorious hooligan element (sarcasm) we were banned from entering Newport’s clubhouse, Bar Amber. A shame. Despite the drinks being poor, in previous seasons we have always received a warm welcome from the home fans and they sell decent, cheap food (I recommend the sausage and chips).

With time to kill, the 30-or-so fans who made the coach trip ventured to a nearby cricket club for food and drink. The venture took us over a stile and a muddy cricket pitch.

The choice of ciders in the cricket club were marginally better than the one on offer in Bar Amber last season (Blackthorn). Olde Dragon was the cider of choice. The logo looked like Olde English. The cider looked like Olde English. It even tasted like Olde English. However, I was told by a fellow supporter that as we were in Wales that it was most definitely Olde Dragon – a traditional Welsh cider (produced in Somerset).

Success comes to the city of Newport

Who said there's nothing to do in Newport?

The away end at Spytty Park has been switched to the opposite side of the ground. A massive temporary stand has been erected (hehehe). Impressive but I would hate to be there in the rain as it is uncovered. Mind you, the away end is at Twerton Park has no roof. I would also be a little worried if I was among a large group of supporters. Had the stand been filled with a thousand Luton Town fans, I would be concerned the lightweight scaffolding could collapse following some passionate goal celebrations.

FASCINATING FACT NO. 57: 3,000 tubes of Pritt Stick were used in the creation of the new statnd

Alas my concerns were in vain. Not only did we not bring 1000 fans (more like 50), we did not have any goal to celebrate. Bath City started the game well. The trouble being, we started the 6-0 massacre against Grimsby well. Like against Grimsby, despite the positive opening play, tons of possession and loads of corners, Newport scored. Typical of the game. Typical of our season.

The 40-something away fans ignoring the request

City fought back well and nearly scored. Lee Phillips forcing an excellent save from the Newport goalkeeper. The loose ball was picked up by Chris Shepherd who somehow managed to miss by inches. It really was one of those where it would have been easier to score than shoot wide.

The fans responded with a rendition of “The stripes are staying up!” before becoming less optimistic and more realistic by singing to home supporters “Down with the City! You’re going down with the City!” Perhaps the most depressing song of the night was following a terrible miss by Newport’s Gary Warren, where Bath City fans taunted the home defender with “You haven’t scored, you must be shit!” Embarrassing because that is the very same chant Weymouth supporters sang to us a few years ago when they were at their most beleaguered state.

The referee for the game was Stephen Bratt. Ring any bells? No? Really? Remember this? I didn’t forget and am sorry to report that the hooligan in me broke out “You’re a crap referee, Bratt!” I yelled at him when he came close to where I was stood “Hey Bratt! You’re crap!” Then I noticed a couple of Welsh policemen at the corner of the stand so shut up. Next time I’ll stick to writing letters on my blog. I’m not cut out for this hooligan lark.

As usual, my blog offers the highest quality match photos

Despite still losing, City continued to play well, but simply could not score. Certain fans cried out for a change for formation to good old “Four, four fucking two!” Clearly against 451. We have won playing 451 this season. We tried 442 in the early months and lost. It won’t help. The chant for 442 was almost as ridiculous as the shouts for Jamie Cook to come on.

The game was played out with no more goals. Joe Burnell nearly scored an impressive strike. Sadly, had it gone in the letters OG would be next to his name.

Overall, a game played by two poor sides. One who dominated, yet couldn’t score for shit (Bath City). One who took the chance they were given, but then chased the ball for the rest of the night. Both clubs could go down, but most likely one of them will be saved as Kettering, Darlington and Glasgow Rangers will go pop.

The match was typical of so many games this season – Bath City with most of the possession, yet doing nothing with it. So what’s gone wrong? I cannot fault the team for effort, all manner of formations have been tried, with 33 different players used; yet the team which did so well last year has been propping up the table for the vast majority of the season and look likely candidates for relegation.

Despite the poor season Bath City are having, one thing I will fight passionately for is the management. Adie Britton and his assistant, Lee ‘Archie’ Howells have performed miracles during their time at the club. With the resources available, Bath City had no right to win promotion in 2010. As for a mid-table finish the following season, that was just unbelievable.

If the worst were to happen, and Bath City went down, Adie and Archie would be the best team to get the club promoted again. One thing is for sure, if the club keep the faith in Adie, he will put things right. Of that I am certain.

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