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Saturday 20 January 2007
British Gas Business Southern League Premier
(match 23)
at Meadow Park, Gloucester
BGB Southern League logo

New Tigers Badge: no-one knows why...

Gloucester City


Bath City

Bath stripes

HT (0-1)

City home kitBath City away kit
D.Edwards (18), S.Rogers (47), M.McKeever (48), P.Walsh (89).
C.Thompson ©
J.Rollo ©
D.Clarke (for 7, 83)
(for 11, HT) A.Wilson
(for 5, 53) J.Tustain
M.Coupe (for 4, 43)
(for 3, HT) T.Hamblin
P.Walsh (for 10, 76)
City: J.Welsh (foul trip 25)
Bath: none
Dismissals: none

T-Ender City MotM: Jody Bevan deserves it more than most just for his programme interview. Lyndon Tomkins - did well in the first half.

grass trim rule

Gloucester City were comprehensively taken apart by the title favourites at Meadow Park, but while the result will surprise no-one the nature of the defeat will do little to convince the fans that rotten home form and disastrous defending won't yet see our side forced to scrap again for SLP survival. Bath looked solid and well organised, but had to show little more than that as the Tigers repeatedly played a significant part in allowing the Somerset side to cruise to a comfortable 4-0 away win. While Bath can look forward to tightening their grip on the Southern League title City's players should take notice of the increasing anger of their fans at the lack of courage being shown on the pitch.

There were few signs of just how bad the pasting would be as in the opening stages City actually defended fairly well and with Lyndon Tomkins returning to league action we looked a lot more stable. While the Bath side were putting together all the attacking moves we were working hard in midfield and the defence was managing to hold a high line that gave us time to scamper back and get in those vital tackles. Lyndon made a great block to stop McKeever in full flow, and from the resulting corner Matt Bath made a fine save to tip Chris Holland's thumping header over the bar. Even Welsh, as a makeshift defender, looked the part as he got back to make a great stretching tackle that robbed the shiney headed Scott Partridge in full flow.

That defensive wall soon started to flake though, and Bath's opening goal came after a series of calamitous errors saw us fail to clear our lines. First Thommo and Mustoe left the ball to each other and then couldn't get back as Bath seized on the error. Welsh did well to close off the danger but then shinned his clearance straight back to an opponent. as the next wave came Noakes seemed to have covered off the pass but sliced his clearance for a corner when he could have kept the damage to a throw in. From the corner Holland again showed his strength in the air to win the ball and from close range Darren Edwards provided a decisive flick header to carry the ball into the net.

Briefly City showed some spirit and fought their way back into the contest. Paul Stonehouse was the main outlet with some room to get forward on the left flank and firing in a couple of low grubber shots that at least gave the opposition goalkeeper something to think about. After a brief lull in proceedings Jimmy Cox almost found a way through, wriggling clear and firing in a low cross shot that just eluded the stretched legs of Webb and then Welsh. Those moments may have given some hope, but there was a reminder of reality in the last stages of the first half as Bath pounded around the edge of our area causing all sorts of problems. Only a fantastic saving header from a stretching Lyndon Tomkins flicked a Scott Partridge cross beyond the waiting Mark McKeever. Matt Bath then took centre stage with a fantastic double save, reaching first a low cross shot and then getting to the loose ball to smother Lewis Hogg's follow-up.

After a difficult first half there were even faint hopes that with City now targeting the T-End goal the players might be inspired to a highly credible draw. Any hopes of a second half revival were dashed as the home team seemed to have been slipped a sedative in their half-time cuppa. The visitors took full advantage with a quick brace that finished the match off. Stonehouse was easily brushed aside by Hogg and his low cross found the City defence missing in action with Scott Rogers able to amble in unchallenged to stroke the ball past Matt Bath. Worse was to come as McKeever scored on his return to Meadow Park with the City players still reeling and more interested in the post-goal inquest than the match re-starting in front of them. Hogg again found room to cross and although Partridge's first effort smacked against the post McKeever was first to reach the rebound with our defence once again too slow to get back.

The match may have been all over but what disappointed the home fans was that the team seemed to curl up and die. The remainder of the game was an awful soulless affair with our players sadly resigned to their fate and rather than showing defiance just wanting it all to be over.We were second to everything in midfield and Bath seemed to noticeably also take their foot off the pedal seeing this as a job well done and a game already won. The visiting fans seemed to share the general malaise, quiet and disinterested. It makes you wonder how these clubs end up like this - you can only imagine how utterly unbearable we'd be if our side was marching to the title.

The only player really earning their keep now was Matt Bath who was forced into making a string of fine saves to avoid what could easily have turned into an utter rout. He made a couple of good blocks but the best was a full length dive to tip a full-blooded McKeever 25 yard drive around the post. That only set up the final goal as City made a complete hash of the resulting corner. With our defenders immobile and rooted to the spot a short corner ended in a deep cross which found sub Phil Walsh with all the room in the world to tap in at the far post.

At least it was very nearly over, and the final whistle brought a mixture of booing and disgruntled sad mumbling from the hacked off punters trooping off the T-End. You don't necessarily mind losing, but this half-hearted surrender was never going to be enough response to a local derby defeat. Never mind getting even, we never even got angry.


grass trim rule
T-Ender Match Snaps
Bath save vs Bath City.
Matt Bath shows his best reflexes to tip over Chris Holland's header early in the first half.
Wilko vs Bath
Rainbow over Meadow Park
Wilko gets a clattering as City make a rare forward venture.
Meadow Park proved to have an easy pot of gold for the Romans to nick

Team Selection:
The main changes saw loan signing Paul Stonehouse return for a second spell borrowed from Forest Green, perhaps a surprising place to strengthen the squad with Aaron Wilson dropping to the bench. With Lyndon Tomkins back Chris Thompson started at right-back, but Tom Hamblin was left on the bench with sometime forward Jason Welsh in the defence.
TBBM Said:

"If you're just going to stand there and watch you should be paying to get in like the rest of us."

Tactics Board:
Unfortunately this was one of those games where the blizzard of changes appeared to unsettle the team rather than help them get back in the match. Welsh was quickly shifted back up front as Jimmy Cox struggled to hold on to the ball against a solid looking Bath defence. At half-time City went on the offensive with a reshuffle that saw Hamblin and Wilson sent on as we tried to strengthen at the back and add some pace into the attack. Within moments the defence looked all at sea and at 3-0 down the match was over. Unfortunately the arrival of Joe Tustain never looked like it would remotely trouble the league leaders, and it was a long slow death for a demoralised City team.
Anorak Corner:
City have now failed to win in eight home matches in all competitions. That's our worst run of home games at Meadow Park, equalling a record set between February and April 1993, although in that spell we drew more than we lost.
T-Ender Verdict

There can have been few City fans who were surprised to lose this game, against the pre-season title favourities who finally seem to be delivering on those expectations. What will hurt and anger the T-End faithful is the lack of grit, the lack of fight and the lack of spirit. When the second goal went in the white flag went up. There was no attempt to rally, no attempt to get even. There was no anger, no pride. The second half was an exercise in despair - the fourth goal saw our players as much obstacle as a load of cones on a training pitch. The fact that this is far from the first time this side has simply folded without a whimper makes the situation genuinely urgent and the need for drastic action begins to edge closer. We cannot continue to ship goals at such a terrifying rate, especially at home, without facing the very serious prospect of relegation. Make no mistake - other struggling teams are starting to improve and we need to respond before it's too late.

Highlights Elsewhere:

This might have been Bath City's fourth straight win but they're having problems shaking off the student tenants Team Bath who kept up the pace with a last gasp winner from Steve Abbott. Our interest though is more focused on the other end of the table and there will be a few jitters as some of the bottom sides are showing signs of revival. Corby Town recorded a third straight win with a 3-2 defeat of Merthyr thanks to a winner from a Kevin Byrne overhead kick. Cheshunt are also showing signs of life with a 4-2 home win over Stamford moving them to within five points. Bizarre goings on at Chippenham where boss Darren Perrin has been suspended by the club and replaced with assistant and former City favourite Adie Mings - the players seem happy enough as they chalked up a good 3-0 win over Hitchin.

Other Match Reports:


Further Reading:

BGB Southern League Premier Results & Website
BGB Southern League Table

Referee: L.Blackwood (Walsall) City League Pos: 17th (-2) City Form: LLLDDW

Ref Watch:

5 - several random offside decisions, but assistants most to blame.

Attendance: 568    
Conditions: squally heavy showers
Lorry Score:


Match Report:
by t-towel

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