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Shaftesbury (0)0 Bath City (0)1

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Post by Kelston Koppite Sat Sep 18, 2021 11:19 pm

Bath City had to show great patience as a solitary late goal from substitute Omar Holness was sufficient to overcome a spirited display from Wessex Premier League Shaftesbury FC at Cockrams Stadium.  The Dorset side, who ply their trade three tiers below the National League South, made life extremely difficult for their visitors and held out until eight minutes from time before they finally succumbed to the mounting pressure.

In the early stages City began to dominate the share of possession, a pattern that persisted throughout the game.  The first opening came in the 6th minute when Mo Touray cut inside from the right, and his shot from 20 yards was directed wide of Alex Cull’s far post. With the away side on top there was little opportunity for Shaftesbury to push forward, and Bath provided the next attempt at goal on 15 minutes.  Jack Batten played a long ball into the feet of Touray, whose curling effort from the edge of the area was pushed round the post by the diving Cull.

Whilst the hosts were largely pinned inside their own half, they remained well drilled in defence and clear openings were at a premium.  Shaftesbury were unfortunate to lose the services of Mali Benjamin in the 22nd minute following a challenge with Ben Gerring, the midfielder eventually being stretchered from the field of play after receiving lengthy treatment.

Cody Cooke sent a low shot narrowly wide of Cull’s post in the 27th minute and, five minutes later, the same player saw his header saved by the home stopper following a cross from the left by Elliott Frear.  Another Frear cross after 39 minutes was nodded back across goal by Eddie Jones and Cooke’s header was once again saved by Cull.

Frear was causing problems down the left and his cross three minutes before the break was punched out by Cull.  The loose ball fell to Tom Smith on the edge of the box, but he lifted his effort over the target.  A partially cleared Frear corner also found Smith 25 yards out, but his volley was well over the crossbar.

The final action of the half occurred at the other end of the pitch when Micky Finch saw debutant City keeper Archie Matthews off his line, but his speculative clipped effort from distance drifted well over the bar to safety.

Shaftesbury commenced the second half with more attacking intent, but City soon regained control of the midfield areas. Touray found Frear in space on the left and his low cross flew across the face of Cull’s goalmouth without anyone being able to apply a telling touch.

Omar Holness replaced Cooke on the hour mark as the visitors sought to use Touray’s pace in a more advanced role.  The substitute almost made an impact within five minutes when his overhead kick was turned over the bar by the athletically leaping Cull. Holness then headed over the bar from the resulting corner.

City continued to push forward and the home defence was gradually coming under increasing pressure with Jones and Frear providing the width.  Touray won a free kick 25 yards from goal in the 77th minute, but Smith’s dead ball effort was again too high to trouble Cull.

The Somerset side were almost caught out on 80 minutes when Shaftesbury broke away, only for Jamie Wilson to shoot too close to Matthews, allowing the keeper to hold on comfortably.  This proved costly for the hosts as, within two minutes, City finally made their overall superiority pay following a move of real quality.  Jones exchanged passes with Alex Fletcher down the right and delivered an inviting cross into the danger area, where Holness rose highest to plant a thumping header past Cull.  

The hosts had little left in the tank to mount a concerted fightback and Bath looked the more likely to add to the scoreline.  Indeed, Cull did well to keep out Fletcher’s 86th minute flicked header after Gerring had nodded Frear’s deep cross back into the six-yard box.

The remainder of the game passed without undue alarm and the large number of travelling supporters were able to reflect on a mission accomplished.  Shaftesbury, who can rightly be proud of their efforts, were a tough nut to crack, they were very well organised and played some neat football without ever unduly troubling the City rearguard.  To their credit, Jerry Gill’s men did well not to become frustrated, and their perseverance eventually paid dividends.

Shaftesbury:  Alex Cull, Jordan Foot, Brad Hill, Billy Maybury, Luke Winsper, Mali Benjamin, Louis Kellaway, Nick Swann, Cam Beard, Jamie Wilson, Micky Finch.  Subs: Harry Wilkinson, Ash Pope, Jaden Medcraff, Joe Wickham, Max Frampton.

Bath City:  Archie Matthews, Joe Raynes, Ben Gerring, Jack Batten, Eddie Jones, Tom Smith, Mo Touray, Josh Owers, Elliott Frear, Alex Fletcher, Cody Cooke (Omar Holness, 60 mins).  Subs not Used:  Will Fuller, Ryan Harley, Lloyd James, Tom Richards.

Referee:  Mr. Matthew Fletcher

Att:  610


Last edited by Kelston Koppite on Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Colin Voutt Sun Sep 19, 2021 8:28 am

Thank you once again Kev.

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Post by tovid Sun Sep 19, 2021 9:18 am

I thought we were going to be undone by their breakaway - they had three on two. I wasn't sure whether it was a shot in the end or a return pass that was too close to the goalie. Either way we got away with it.
Other than that it was total one way traffic but we left our shooting boots at home, and several times there was no one on the end of Frears enticing balls into the box.
I think the general emotion at the end was relief.
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Post by comrade powell Sun Sep 19, 2021 10:33 am

Great report and fully agree with Tovid’s summary. Really impressed with the setup at Shaftesbury and their team’s performance yesterday. Had our attitude not been spot on we could have gone the same way as Oxford and Tonbridge against lower level opponents. I hope their injured player recovers quickly.
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Post by Luton Roman Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:49 am

Club Facebook report says crowd of 610 v Kevin's 894. Looked to be a fair number of City fans there.

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Post by Kelston Koppite Sun Sep 19, 2021 12:13 pm

Luton Roman wrote:Club Facebook report says crowd of 610 v Kevin's 894. Looked to be a fair number of City fans there.

I thought that was what was given out over the 'tannoy'. The sound quality wasn't too special so 894 could well have been the winning half time raffle ticket winning number! I must admit that I was surprised the crowd was that big, so the lower figure of 610 could well be correct.
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Post by Beau Nash Sun Sep 19, 2021 12:44 pm

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Post by stillmanjunior Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:36 pm

I was told 610 and that looked about right.

I was in early so don’t know if there was any issues with them dealing with the big crowd but they seemed to organise things like parking well, found their staff very friendly before, during and after. Sometimes you get this sense people think you’re big time for turning up with media people but nothing of the sort there.

As for the game I thought we should have been a bit better in possession at times but on another day we could have scored more and it’s a different story. Once we scored I couldn’t see them levelling. One of their centre backs was immense and the other that went off was filling in, usually plays on the wing. Hope he’s ok soon.
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Post by comrade powell Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:37 pm

Kelston Koppite wrote:
Luton Roman wrote:Club Facebook report says crowd of 610 v Kevin's 894. Looked to be a fair number of City fans there.

I thought that was what was given out over the 'tannoy'.  The sound quality wasn't too special so 894 could well have been the winning half time raffle ticket winning number!  I must admit that I was surprised the crowd was that big, so the lower figure of 610 could well be correct.  

I agree - I'd be surprised if the crowd was nearly 900 (although I'm usually around 200 out in my estimations of crowds at TP!)
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Post by Kelston Koppite Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:31 pm

I have amended the attendance in my report to 610 based on all the feedback.  This seems a much more realistic figure.
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Post by Luton Roman Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:47 pm

Kelston Koppite wrote:I have amended the attendance in my report to 610 based on all the feedback.  This seems a much more realistic figure.

I do like the idea it could be the prize winning raffle no., think of the confusion at games !

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Post by comrade powell Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:56 pm

The quality of the tannoy was really the only thing amateurish about their setup. I only noticed one very small speaker attached to the clubhouse behind the goal. Probably sufficient for their normal attendances but totally inadequate yesterday. The poor announcer probably realised he wouldn’t be heard unless he shouted and this simply distorted his voice and made things worse.

But he wasn’t nearly as painful on the ears as our friend at Braintree last week! 👉👿👈
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Post by LB Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:56 pm

Excellent report as always, and pretty sure 894 was the winning half time draw ticket!

I think that has to go down as 'job done' - I am sure many of us are old enough to remember disasters at similar places.

I was intrigued by the goalkeeping situation. Have to assume that when Jerry signed Will Fuller and put him on a contract the intention was that he would be cover for Ryan. Then as soon as Ryan is going to be out for a while we bring in a loan keeper who goes straight into the team with Fuller back on the bench.

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Post by threeday week Sun Sep 19, 2021 5:15 pm

A point i was going to make LB, Fuller must be and justifiably so pretty well pissed off why sign the guy if he is not considered good enough to cover for Clarkey. Also I first watched Bath city in 1986 have been a season ticket holder for 20 + years but if the redevelopment goes ahead and I'm still around if they install a synthetic pitch I'm afraid I will not be going to TP football is meant to be played on grass 🌱

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Post by stillmanjunior Sun Sep 19, 2021 5:24 pm

It's a tricky conundrum really. We've gone for a sub keeper for say 99% of matches under Jerry, last week it was Wilkinson. So it means we always want backup in case someone falls ill overnight or worse still in the warm-up, or is sent off early, you name it.

So with Clarke not around for a month we need cover on the bench. A FL side isn't going to loan us a keeper to sit and watch us for a month as it's pointless for them. Presumably our academy keeper isn't ready to potentially be thrown into the first team so it was thought better to give someone who has had some NL and FL experience to play, and let Wilkinson develop elsewhere rather than watch us.

We did the same two years ago - Clarke got injured, Wiles-Richards went in goal for a game then James Pardington did two before Clarke was back. Harvey then had the odd couple of games when needed and did fine. I expect Fuller will play in the SPC and if needed to step in last minute he showed last week after a nervy start that he could.

As for the surface, with a third of our away games now on 3G it gets to the point where you don't notice much difference. I prefer grass personally but I expect this facility is a good cash asset for Shaftesbury and many other clubs, so that's why they have it in place.
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Post by Steve Whites Missus Sun Sep 19, 2021 6:03 pm

The 3G pitches smell like a visit to Bathford Tyres, but back onto the subject…. we all seemed surprised by the Holness for Cooke substitution then all proved totally wrong when he got the winner :-)

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Post by LB Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:45 pm

I must admit I prefer the smell of mown grass to warm rubber, but to be honest once the game got under way I forgot all about the surface. If there is eventually an artificial pitch at Twerton it won't stop me going to games, but I know it is a very emotive subject.

I take Mark's point about the goalkeeping situation, but it I think it is a bit different with Fuller than when Ryan was injured before leaving only Harvey. Fuller played in the region of 200 games in the Welsh Premier League I believe as well as some European games while Harvey was only 17. I suppose there is a similar situation with midfielders as well at the moment - yesterday loanee Josh Owers was in the starting line up while four who are under contract were on the bench.

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Post by comrade powell Sun Sep 19, 2021 10:27 pm

There is certainly a wide range in the quality of the 3G pitches we’ve played on in recent seasons. Yesterday’s didn’t seem great but was not as bad as Oxford’s or the dreadful surface we suffered at Hendon. The best I’ve come across is Maidstone’s where you quickly forget that the match isn’t being played on a decent grass pitch.

Presumably you get what you pay for but I understand that the pitches need regular maintenance and overuse should be avoided. The appeal of it bringing in much income for clubs during the week presumably means that some are cutting corners.
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Post by stillmanjunior Sun Sep 19, 2021 10:38 pm

First one we played on was Maidstone and it was awful, since then they had it relayed and it was much better.

Oxford and Hendon poor. Eastbourne was one of the better ones.
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Post by Luton Roman Mon Sep 20, 2021 12:17 pm

Surely the issue with 4g pitches is the income stream it generates? I'd rather watch an ambitious City club on a 4g pitch than a City team in the Southern League on grass if that was a choice.

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