Bath City v City

Home News Fixtures Team News City Open Forum Stat Attack Club Info Visitor's Information Terrace Trash Supporters Club Archive Links email.

We welcome all contributions to the T-Ender. Send by e-mail to the address above. 

The views expressed on these pages are not those of Gloucester City A.F.C., it's directors, or of any other company mentioned. Neither do they represent the official views of the Gloucester City Supporters Club or its committee.
While we make every effort to ensure information placed here is accurate we do not accept responsibility for errors that may occour. If you do find a mistake please let us know.

All pictures unless otherwise stated are the site's own.

Saturday 29th November 2003
Twerton Park 

Bath City v CITY  

FA Trophy 2nd Round

City's Team

After last season's glorious Trophy run City will be disappointed to see this season cut short in the 2nd Round, even away to higher division opposition. This was not one of our finest efforts and after a first half performance that deserved more we could not find an answer to Bath's tactical decisions and simply ran out of steam.

Gloucester had been hit by a string of injuries and the squad ravaged by a virus in the days before the match so it was a relief to see a familiar looking side take to the pitch, the only real tinkering seeing Tom Webb filling the problematic left-back position. Burns left himself on the bench, with Mustoe and Hoskins both passed fit after strains. Bath gave a warm welcome to their new player-boss Gary Owers after his appointment in the week. 

Smith causes Bath problems

The first few minutes saw the Tigers carry the fight to Bath who looked hesitant as from the kick-off Lee Smith was able to beat two before being closed down on the right wing. The bright start saw the yellow shirts pushing forward in numbers with Mustoe and Wilkinson creating a platform in midfield that meant Bath were unable to clear their lines. Centre-back Mike Trought looked vulnerable to Cox's pace and was caught out as the City striker slipped past him, forcing a corner. From Knight's set piece cross all the Bath players were watching Jeffries and Griffiths almost took advantage, stealing in to send a header just wide.  

The game was turned on it's head after ten minutes when the home team took the lead with their first meaningful attack. Lee Smith had got caught up field and Bath's Jim Rollo took advantage of the extra space to send over a low cross. The City defence looked entirely stranded and the squared ball found new Bath boss Gary Owers with time and space on the edge of the area to pick his spot and slot the ball past Matt Bath. The keeper seemed statuesque, but then perhaps he thought the defence in front of him was playing a party game and the music had stopped.

That goal sparked a frantic few minutes. Bath had scored against the run of play and Gloucester surged forward to make an almost instant response. Cox and Webb carried us forward and gain Bath found no answer to pace as they struggled to get in the way. The ball fell to Knight and his angled cross found Dave Wilkinson sneaking between two defenders where he nodded the ball downwards. It wasn't the most convincing of headers but the bounce from the ground seemed to deceive Mark Bryant in the Bath goal and he was left floundering on the ground as the ball gently hopped over him into the net. 

Wilkinson takes the congratulations after 
his header looped over the keeper

However City were on level terms for only a few minutes as the home team scored again to give the match three goals in four minutes. Bath left-back Alfie Carter seemed to have the better of Lee Smith as he went forward, although curiously he seemed nowhere near as quick when defending himself. He skipped past both Smith and Griffiths before sending over a sharp low cross from the by-line. The pass dissected our defence and with Jeffries seemingly helpless to intervene Dan Cleverley had space to ram the ball into the net.

At that point it seemed unlikely that this would be the last of the scoring, or indeed that at some point the Gloucester team wouldn't create more chances and eventually take advantage of at least a few of them. City built the pressure and Trought in particular was singled out as the weak link, City quickly realising he would win high balls but wasn't quick enough to deal with the combined pace of the City forwards. Clever play by Smith worked in Cox and he had two efforts, the first well stopped by Bryant and the follow-up poked away for a corner.

It wasn't too long before Webb exchanged passes with Neil Mustoe to send him in with a great chance to grab his first goal for City. However the keeper stood up well and beat his shot away with Cox unable to quite get a clean connection with the rebound as again the Bath defence were grateful to scramble clear. The Romans' keeper Mark Bryant may have been at fault for Wilkinson's goal but he redeemed himself with an incredible leap to deny Lee Smith from six yards as he volleyed Tom Webb's cross towards the inside of the far post. The save triggered another scramble with Cox again denied space to shoot only by some desperate defending.

However the second half was very different and disappointing for the travelling supporters. Having dominated the attacking play City now looked like a stuttering version of their previous selves, and the best of their play came early on in the second half. Cox was again the most willing to carry the fight to the home side, but his early runs were frustrated and Bath were looking more and more confident as they made every effort to close the game down with City's most dangerous runners now being effectively marked. The home team didn't seem overly concerned with mounting attacks of their own, but then again why would they need to ?

Webb sees his path to goal closed down

City's chances were even further reduced as Owers showed some promising tactical nous, pushing on an extra defender and leaving Cox effectively shackled by two markers. Gloucester had lost their main outlet, and with Smith also closely marked, City were now closed out of the match and seemed to have few ideas on how to create space or opportunities. The only real opportunity of the second half when Mustoe picked up the ball and sprayed a fantastic diagonal pass the width of the pitch and into the path of Lee Smith. He picked the ball up at pace and immediately beat one man before closing in on goal. His shot was accurate but again the keeper proved equal to it, punching clear and dashing City's hopes. 

City suddenly seemed devoid of ideas and unusually flat, even lacking in spirit. Perhaps the lack of space was simply too frustrating, or perhaps the virus from earlier in the week was taking its toll on our side's energy levels. Perhaps Bath's pressing game was even more effective than I'm giving credit for. Whatever reason the difference from the first half was marked. Even the normally reliable Mustoe was losing the ball as short passes went astray, Wilko was caught in possession, Smith couldn't get past his man and sub Adam Hemming struggled to keep the ball in play for a second touch. The defence seemed reluctant to respond to the change in the opposition tactics and Thompson stayed back when he could have made an extra man further up the pitch. Hosky slumped into anonymity. Burns threw both himself and Bayliss on, but the boss had little extra to offer with no-one in space, and Baylo barely touched the ball before the match was over. 

Given the amount of Bath time wasting and lengthy stops in play it seemed incredible that the referee managed to blow the final whistle a few minutes prematurely, but he did. Perhaps he'd simply had enough and couldn't see a way for Gloucester to get back into the game. it would have been hard to argue with him. Some will argue that a departure from the Trophy will help us concentrate on our league campaign, but we may miss the confidence boost a good Trophy performance could give. Whatever the impact in the long run it re-emphasis that we must learn how to adapt our play when Plan A hits a brick wall, and the game also shows we have to be more ruthless at taking our chances.

* DML Western Gresley Rovers pulled off the shock of the FA Trophy second round with a 3-2 win over Hinckley United, second placed in the DML Premier. 
Back in the DML Western several league games were playing, but City dropped just one league place to 11th. Cirencester overwhelmed second placed Rugby United with an impressive 3-0 home win, while Bromsgrove beat Sutton Coldfield 2-1 in the clash of third and fourth. City's next league opponents Ilkeston beat Mangotsfield 4-2 at Cossham Street with striker Chris Freestone grabbing all four.

Lost 1-2
(HT: 1-2)





Mustoe none

(for 11; 76)

(for 2; 88)



Hemming (for 9; 59)

Something to say about this report? - Visit the City Open Forum

Match Reports

City Index