Posted by sean on April 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm in Bath City with No Comments


Bath City 1-4 Fleetwood Town
Conference National
Saturday 31st March 2012 – 15:00

The football season is drawing to a close. As is Bath City’s two year stay in the Blue Square Bet Premier. Even the most optimistic of supporters will surely now admit that relegation is imminent. In fact, City’s place in the bottom four could be confirmed as early as Tuesday.

There are just five matches remaining this season. Five matches I suggest Bath City fans enjoy. Enjoy the quality of football on offer (from the opposition at least). Enjoy visiting the away grounds – Tamworth, Darlington and Alfreton (OK, enjoy the pubs near those grounds). Most of all enjoy supporting your local club.

Following your local side is miles better than being a fan of a Premier League club you have no connection with; where you are dependent upon on Jeff Stelling, Five Live and Ford ‘Super Sunday’ for your updates. Following a “ professional” club, you are nobody. The players and club do not know who you are or in fact care. You may as well be dead (how morbid). Being a fan of a non-league club you are known, appreciated and respected (apart from the odd Bath City fan).

Now that passion-felt, rubbish introduction is all over, I’ll start on yesterday’s match. Fleetwood Town against Bath City. Top against bottom. A team who wipes their arse with money, up against a side who survives financially on pennies found behind the sofa. However this was no David against Goliath. More a case of Poor David against Rich David. Fleetwood are top of the league and winning loads of football matches. Fair play to them. They’re no Goliath though. They’re not a big club. Not like York, Wrexham or Luton. They’re your average bloke down the pub who has won the lottery. Fleetwood are another Crawley Town, expect without a convicted criminal for a manager.

Fleetwood fans travelled in their numbers, as you would expect for a team top of the league. Their supporters were introduced to Bladud the Pig – Bath City’s mascot. Their reaction to a pig in a toga was unoriginal and crude. However, I would be a liar if I too did not think “What the fucking hell is that” at the sight of the smiling swine draped in a bed sheet.

The first three minutes of the match were played in Fleetwood’s half. “We’re gonna piss all over this tin pot club” I thought. That was until Fleetwood’s star striker, James Vardy, ran past the Popular Side terrace, taking on the entire Bath City defence, and was unlucky not to score.

“They’ll be made to pay for that mistake” I tried to convince myself. Alan Alger, the PR Manager for Blue Square Bet, was in the crowd. His previous visit to Twerton Park was the Play Off Final against Woking. Could Alan be our lucky charm? Put it this way, if Bath City had beaten Fleetwood, Alan would be locked in Twerton Park and made to wear the Bladud pig costume at every home game in a bid to get us winning again. Luckily for Mr. Alger, Vardy scored shortly after his miss. A great goal.

After their opening goal, Vardy and Fleetwood fought for a second. Controversy erupted when a Fleetwood player appeared to commit handball in the Bath City penalty area. The referee gave a corner. The linesman gave a goal kick. Mayhem.

When you witness your team losing every week and concede 4 goals at home, there isn’t a lot to laugh about. However, when Fleetwood’s Jamie McGuire missed a tap in that Sandra Redknapp (or even Darren Bent) would score, there were laughs all round; although McGuire appeared to blame his miss on everyone from Bladud the pig to Harry Hill. Everybody apart from himself.

I couldn’t help but notice Fleetwood’s Number 5. The joy of squad numbers, something we’ll be without next season, allowed me to find out that he is Steve McNulty. When I first spotted McNulty, I thought an away fan had invaded the pitch. Is he seriously a footballer? He was rather rotund. I suppose I should learn to become accustomed to overweight footballers. Every opposition team in the Conference South will have at least one next season.

While City tried to defend like beavers and keep the scoreline respectable, Fleetwood continued their attack and made it 2-0 with a low strike from Peter Cavanagh. It was a typical defender’s goal. The kind Chris Holland used to score for us. How I miss him. Come back next season, Dutch. Please.

A little later, the Number 5 went off the pitch. The referee had spotted blood on his shirt. I suspect it was ketchup from a cheeky hot dog he had grabbed from the burger bar.

The second half was a better display by Bath City. They managed to cause Fleetwood a few problems. Just as City thought they had started to get into the game, Fleetwood made a substitution. Richard Brodie – on loan from Crawley Town. Brodie had signed from York City in 2010 for an extortionate £300,000. That’s right. Not three hundred quid. Not even three grand. Three hundred thousand pounds. This is non-league! Things are going crazy. As Brodie strolled onto the pitch, trailing his knuckles across the turf, Bath City manager, Adie Britton, held his head in his hands – no doubt as perplexed as I was how non-league clubs can spend whatever they wish on a single player. Sadly they can and Bath City are way out of their depth in this league financially.

Following the substitution, Fleetwood went 3 up. An own goal by Bath City defender, Andy Gallinagh. His second OG of the season. That’s not to say he’s a bad player. He’s one of my favourite. As the song goes “We all dream of a team of Gallinaghs” – even if he does like putting the ball into his own net.

Brodie made it 4-0 to kill off the game. Proving not only is he the evolutionary link between man and monkey, but also a pretty decent goal scorer. City did get a goal back themselves. Adam Connolly ensuring the league leaders would not keep a clean sheet and annoying all those Fleetwood and Bath City fans who bet money on ‘Fleetwood to win to nil’. Serves them right. I didn’t do that bet. Nope. No way. Honest guv’.

Brodie’s day out in Bath wasn’t over. After an altercation with City defender, Gethin Jones, he threw himself to the ground in audacious attempt to get Geth sent off. There is a word for that. Cheat. There is also another word beginning with C to describe Brodie, but this is a family blog, so I won’t mention it. Brodie’s dive won him a yellow card by the referee as well as an Oscar nomination for his acting skills.

The game ended 4-1 to Fleetwood. Despite the heavy defeat and the inevitable end to their time in the Conference National, Bath City players left to applause from the home crowd. Richard Brodie left to jeers and boos from fans, displeased with his cheating. I would like to say that Brodie conducted himself in a dignified manner and went straight back to the dressing room to reflect upon his behaviour. He didn’t. He argued with the fans. Moron.

Fleetwood were the best team I have seen this season and will be worthy champions. I fully expect them to do well next season in League Two. I would prefer a more established team like Wrexham, Luton or York, to have won the league, as I like to see clubs generate money from the fans themselves, as they pay to go through the turnstiles every week. However, I am not naive enough to be unaware that big-spending clubs with wealthy owners is the way football operates nowadays.

If Newport beat York on Tuesday, Bath will be relegated. While I would like York to win to aid their promotion bid, I would rather we be relegated on Tuesday, without kicking a ball; as opposed to by Tamworth or Forest Green during our games next weekend. That would be more painful, despite unexpected.

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