Blue Square Conference South
Saturday 26 January 2008 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
half-time: 0-0 result: L0-1 attendance: 733

team: Evans, Simpson, Rollo (c), Coupe, Holland, Harris, Rogers (Hogg 62), McKay, Walsh (Edwards 45), Gilroy, S Jones (Prince 62). subs not used: Partridge, McKeever.
man of the match: Adie Harris
scorers: none
bookings: Rollo (57), Evans (77), Holland (80), Harris (90)
officials: D Rock (Hatfield), S Wales (Tewkesbury), T Blanch (Cheltenham)

league position: 4th form: WWDWDL next match: Thurrock (A)

Report taken from

The irony couldn't have escaped the loyal band of 100 or so Bath City fans who forked out an extra 10 to help the club's push for Blue Square Premier football last Saturday.On a day when the board served notice of their ambitions by opening up a 'Promotion Turnstile' to help swell John Relish's playing budget for the final three months of the season, the fourth-placed hosts looked anything but play-off contenders. City turned in probably their worst home performance of the season and, although nobody would have dreamed of asking for their generous pre-match donation back at the final whistle, you couldn't have blamed them for wanting to.

And, after collecting just a point from back-to-back home matches against sides on the fringes of the top five, City are now looking anxiously over their shoulders at the chasing pack when two wins would have kept their pursuers at arm's length. And, on last Saturday's evidence, Fisher look likely to have a major say in the promotion race as the sharp end of the season approaches. They bossed the contest from the start, never looked content to settle for a point on a ground where only one away team - Basingstoke - had emerged with a league victory in the previous 13 months, and could afford the luxury of a missed penalty before departing with their sixth win on the trot under their belts. A look at the home bench - Luke Prince, Darren Edwards, Lewis Hogg, Scott Partridge and Mark McKeever - made you wonder just why City needed extra funds to enhance the squad, particularly with Gethin Jones and Jason Wood to come back into the equation after injury and suspension respectively. Relish resisted the temptation to tinker, with Hogg back from a ban, and kept faith with the starting XI that had won 4-0 at Sutton and drawn 1-1 with Bromley on the two previous Saturdays, but the side was sorely lacking width and creativity in midfield. That handed a youthful Fisher the initiative from the start and they always looked the likelier side to emerge on top, even without the services of Andre McCollin, the scorer of four goals against Sutton the week before, and the loss of striker Jeff Goulding - a Leyton Orient target - to concussion after Matt Coupe caught him with a high boot in the seventh minute. In their absence, Wesley Thomas showed just why Luton were interested in signing him last summer as he proved a thorn in City's side all afternoon and went as close as anyone to breaking the deadlock in the first half with a shot just wide of the far post in the fourth minute. City, meanwhile, looked toothless going forward as Phillip Walsh failed to hit the heights he had touched in his previous two appearances and made way for Edwards for the start of the second half.

Despite the switch, it was a similar story after the interval as Fisher capitalised on an error-strewn City performance to pin the hosts back for long spells. Frustration crept in and Jim Rollo became the first of four City players booked when Kenny Beaney made a meal of the skipper's foul on him just before the hour mark. Beaney leapt to his feet and mocked the enraged home fans on the popular side after seeing Rollo collect a yellow card from referee David Rock and that set the tone for a tempestuous final third of the match, which saw a couple of flashpoints and cautions for Chris Holland, Evans and Adie Harris, as well as three Fisher players. But Hogg again managed to avoid punishment after returning to action from his third suspension of the season as part of a double substitution which saw Prince also introduced and the ineffective Steve Jones and Scott Rogers make way. The move should have added some attacking zeal to the City midfield four, but the hosts were left to breathe a sigh of relief two minutes later as Sekani Simpson was caught out by Thomas and upended the striker as he entered the area, only for substitute Gavin Tomlin to crash the resulting spot-kick against the top of the bar and over. Fisher kept the pressure on and, after Evans advanced quickly to stop Luke Hickie with his legs, he himself mis-timed a challenge inside the box, upending the ubiquitous Thomas as he veered away from goal. This time, Thomas took responsibility himself and coolly rolled his penalty to Evans' left, sending the South African the wrong way. City had a couple of late chances to get out of jail, but Hogg skewed a shot high into the air from 18 yards out before Gilroy's header from an inswinging Prince cross was palmed on to the top of the net by Overland with four minutes to go. The final whistle saw the visitors celebrate wildly while Relish reacted angrily to a critical remark from a home supporter behind the dugout. Given City's record over the past couple of years, the manager could have expected better treatment and recent history suggests his group of players have the character to bounce back from the setback quickly.