Posted by sean on March 18, 2012 at 11:24 am in Bath City with No Comments

Bath City 2-1 Lincoln City
Conference National
Saturday 17th March 2012 – 15:00

Bath City didn’t have a game last weekend, so this Saturday would spell an entire fortnight since I had attended a football match. City did however play a midweek fixture, which I was unable to attend. The reasons for this being a combination of work commitments, no transportation and down-right common sense. The game was in Barrow – I believe somewhere near Scotland – certainly far, far away from Somerset.

Along with sitting miserably at the bottom of the league, City can boast the unfortunate record of no away wins this season. In fact our last away victory came the previous season, ironically at Barrow. I was at that game. Seems like a dream now.

Come kick off time on the night of the Barrow match, I listened in on the old wireless* to hear how the lads would perform against their Scottish counterparts.

* Wireless internet was used to stream commentary from the BBC Radio Bristol website.

As I attend most Bath City games, I am not used to this listening to games on the internet lark and I had clearly made a mistake that evening in trying to do so. I suspect that I started listening to commentary for another match. The team which commentator Andrew Kerslake kept referring to as “City” beat Barrow 1-0. So either Bath City claimed their first away win of the season, or I did something badly wrong. I suspect the latter.

Back to this weekend’s game. Bath City would take on another former Football League heavyweight – the mighty Lincoln City – although this season, not so mighty. After being relegated from League Two last May, Lincoln have struggled to adjust to life in the most demanding league in the world – The Blue Square Bet Premier – and sit just one place above the relegation zone.

The Bath City players had spent part of last week at Cheltenham Races, watching horses run about while no doubt drinking copious amounts of Guinness. While at Cheltenham, they no doubt picked up some tips from the horses, as following the referee’s whistle, City were out of the starting gates and heading towards first hurdle (the goal) like whippets (sorry, I couldn’t think of any decent horse analogies).

After just one minute, that’s right ONE minute, Bath City scored. Jamie Cook finding the back of the net for the first time in a league game. Although it wasn’t a goal. Disallowed. The referee had blown for a penalty seconds earlier, following a foul on Marley Watkins. Luckily, Marc Canham stepped up and converted the spot kick, so with TWO minutes gone, Bath City were winning!

I don’t know a lot about horse racing. I am aware that horses race each other and John McCririck from Celebrity Big Brother talks about them. I know the jockeys are very small. I also know that there are often unexpected shocks and surprises involved. Whatever shocks may have happened at Cheltenham last week, can’t have been as great as the one which saw Bath City score a second goal, putting them 2-0 up after four minutes. Bloody hell, if we carry on like this, we’re going to win 45-0! That would put our goal difference to a massive +7!

Lincoln wore their away kit. A green and white hooped shirt. Very similar to that of Bath City’s rivals from years gone by, Yeovil Town. Perhaps the sight of that awful kit inspired City to go for the kill. Maybe Guinness really is good for you and it did the players some good. Or perhaps Lincoln were just dog shit. A bit of everything I think.

Lincoln did improve as the game went on. But not by much. Sadly, the rest of the game didn’t live up to the excitement of the first four minutes. I was amused by their centre back, Josh Gowling, for sporting a very brave Sideshow Bob style haircut.

Lincoln City brought an admirable away following, together with some excellent flags. In a week which saw Wigan Athletic take little over 150 fans to a Premier League fixture, I was yet again impressed with the support and dedication shown by non-league followers. Unfortunately Lincoln also brought a drum, although going 2-0 down to a part time outfit in just four minutes did silence the Ringo Starr wannabe for the rest of the afternoon.

Piss poor attempt at a photo of away fans with crappy camera phone

The away end at Twerton Park is uncovered. So when it started to piss down with rain, the unfortunate travelling supporters would have become soaked. If it’s consolation to any Imps fans reading this, I too remained out in the rain for the entire match and got drenched. The reminder of the game was spent praying City would hang onto their lead, while hoping the persistent rain stayed out of my pocket and away from my iPhone.

Despite winning 2-0, the Twerton Park Moaners were still present and vocal as ever. “Bring back Phillips!” one shouted in the direction of the dugout, before starting an offensive rant about Jamie Cook. Another would shout instructions onto the pitch “Attack!”, “Defend!” as if he was playing FIFA Soccer on his PlayStation. When Adie Britton does finally leave his position as Bath City manager, the club would be insane not to appoint one of these wannabe managers – their knowledge of the game and tactical awareness is second to none, as they have demonstrated for years.

The worst match shot ever

As the rain continued to pour from the skies, a reinvigorated Lincoln put the City defence under heavy pressure. Balls were being cleared off lines, there were shots at goals from all angles and tackles flying in. Total football. Except it wasn’t really that good. This was a non-league relegation battle.

Lincoln did score to make the final 10 minutes or so rather nerve-wrecking, but in all honestly, rarely looked like getting a second goal – which is quite a statement considering City have shipped 71 all season.

In the dying stages of the game an idiotic Jake Sheridan, hoofed the ball with the force only an angry mule could deliver, into a nearby terrace. His actions were no doubt out of anger and frustration, but were totally careless. Had the ball, which was kicked at close range to the fans, hit a supporter a nasty injury would have been caused. Sheridan may play like a donkey and share the name of Hyacinth Bucket’s posh son it doesn’t give him an excuse to behave in that manner.

The referee showed Sheridan a yellow card for being a tit and played out the remaining minutes of the game, before blowing the fulltime whistle. Another 3 points. Still bottom of the league. Still probably going down, but a very fun afternoon – despite getting very wet!

It was, however a very pleasing performance from the Bath City players and encouraging on the back of our (alleged) victory at Barrow. I’m now off to write to The Conference to ask if we can start the season at the beginning of March.

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