Blue Square Conference South
Saturday 19 January 2008 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
half-time: 1-1 result: D1-1 attendance: 826

team: Evans, Simpson, Rollo (c), Coupe, Holland, Harris, McKay, Rogers, Walsh (Edwards 65), Gilroy (Partridge 82), S Jones (Prince 65). subs not used: G Jones, Paul.
man of the match: Matt Coupe
scorers: Gilroy (29)
bookings: none
officials: to follow

league position: 4th form: DWWDWD next match: Fisher (H)

Report taken from

After a couple of heady away-days which had seen Bath City rattle in eight goals, last Saturday's draw with Bromley offered something of a reality check. It also offered proof - not that City's management team or playing staff will need it - that home wins over sides lower down the Blue Square South table will not come easily as the race for play-off places hots up. An impressive crowd of 826 would not have been expecting to witness a thriller on a playing surface drenched by days of rain in the city. Indeed, they were lucky to have a game of football to watch at all and the fact the Twerton Park pitch was, not for the first time this season, able to stage a match while almost all others in the area were postponed is testament to the supporters' club's generous 7,000 donation towards the repairs and installation of drainage spikes in recent years and the tireless efforts of the groundsmen, directors Andrew Pierce and Phil Weaver.

An end-to-end first half that exceeded expectations saw on-fire striker Dave Gilroy add another goal to the hat-tricks he had scored on the previous two Saturdays to cancel out Nic McDonnell's route-one opener. But the half-time whistle halted the momentum of the contest and it never recovered, with increasingly heavy legs on both sides making for a non-eventful second period. And, in the end, both sides seemed pleased enough with a point, even though for City it meant dropping a place to fourth in the table rather than leapfrogging the inactive Eastbourne Borough into second spot. Bromley, with player-boss Simon Osborne - a veteran of more than 500 Football League matches - pulling the strings, looked a real threat to City's proud home record and became only the fourth team in the division to find the net at Twerton Park this season when McDonnell put them ahead on 13 minutes. There was a suspicion of offside about the goal as the striker collected a high, first-time punt forward from his captain, Ben Judge, but City's defence didn't play to the whistle and the normally dependable Chris Holland paid for his moment of hesitancy on the edge of the box as McDonnell beat him before rolling the ball past the helpless Paul Evans. The goal came against the run of play as City probed a Bromley defence that has been breached more than 40 times already this season without success in the early stages. Phillip Walsh, who kept his place despite the return of Darren Edwards from a ban, was the focus of much of City's attacking play but, although he won plenty in the air and had a strong penalty shout turned down, the goals that would provide a stronger case for an extended run in the team continue to elude him. Gilroy, however, is having no such problems finding the net and, following a neat exchange between Steve Jones and Jim Rollo on the left, he levelled matters on 29 minutes with his 16th goal of the campaign. Rollo's pass found the striker in space and his shot skidded off the wet turf and flew under the dive of Walker, who should have done better. The fact that City failed to collect maximum points was probably down to their failure to cash in on their superiority before the break. They forced four corners and won a couple of free-kicks in dangerous areas, but the absence of the injured Mark McKeever was again all too apparent as Justyn McKay, who also put a free header narrowly over, failed to find his range consistently.

The second half was scrappy from the start as City stood firm at the back without showing a cutting edge. Matt Coupe did more than anyone to ensure a potent Bromley attack were kept at bay, while Relish threw on Edwards and loan signing Luke Prince midway through the half to boost the attack. Prince was quiet, but did lay on a chance for Gilroy, who himself exited to make way for Scott Partridge. There was late drama at both ends, with Holland the central figure. The defender first had his blushes saved by the cool Sekani Simpson after missing his kick in front of his own goal before seeing a header from McKay's free-kick tipped over by Walker. It was Holland's injury-time strike that earned City a 1-1 draw back on the opening day of the campaign, but a winner on this occasion would have been rough justice on a Bromley side who were full value for the point they took back to the South East.