Thursday 9 July 2009 - The Corinium Stadium - kick off 7.45pm
||Dunn, Simpson (Rollo (c) 45), Allward (Halliday 45), Coupe (Holland 45), Jones (O'Hara 45), Browning (Caldwell 45),
Jombarti (Cole 45), Badman (Evans 45), Douglas (Edwards 45), Cornwall (Taylor 45), Hogg (c). subs not used: Stewart
|man of the match:
||J Ferris, R Collins, C Wring
|league position: n/a
||next match: Hayes & Yeading (H)
City opened their 2009 pre-season with a trip to Gloucestershire to face Zamaretto League South & West Division side Cirencester Town, using the game to field a number of trialists alongside the more familiar faces. In total their fielded 20 players, with just Lewis Hogg and goalkeeper Owen Dunn playing the whole 90 minutes. The latter – who made a handful of appearances for City back in the 2007-08 season and more recently had been on the books of Team Bath – was required as new signing Ryan Robinson is likely to be missing until early September following a back operation and usual stand-in Steve Perrin was unavailable. Also missing from the squad was Mike Perrott (work commitments) and Adam Connolly (ankle). However, their absence was more than covered by seven players who were trying to earn a contract with the club. The most well known name amongst these was former Bristol Rovers and Bournemouth midfielder Marcus Browning. The 38-year old spent the last two seasons with crisis club Weymouth and is currently in discussion with them over paying off the final year of his contract. Another two familiar names to local football fans were ex-Chippenham Town duo Kevin Halliday and Aaron Cornwall, the latter having played for another club in financial trouble last season, Halesowen Town. Joining these three were another former Halesowen player, full-back Jack Allward, Jonjo O’Hara, a Bradford City youth player who is now studying at Bath University, local striker Jamie Taylor and Taunton Town wide player Luke Cole.
City began the game with Browning, Allward and Cornwall in the starting XI, alongside new signing Sido Jombarti. The rest of the line-up was more familiar, although Hogg taking the captains armband was an unusual sight. The early exchanges were of little consequence, just one run and cross by Cornwall interesting the small crowd. However, from their first venture forward the home side took the lead on 13 minutes. A high cross into the six yard box by Boon should have been dealt with by Dunn but he spilled the ball to give Thompson a simple header from close range. City looked most threatening down the right flank with Jombarti and Sekani Simpson combining well at times, and it was from a cross by the latter than City levelled on 19 minutes. Again the centre should have been claimed by Centurions keeper Matt Bath but he spilled it allowing Cornwall to knock toward goal where a defender could only help it in to the roof of the net. City continued to see the majority of possession but on the heavily grassed pitch they struggled to move the ball at pace and stretch the opposition. Cornwall’s movement was promising and Jombarti and Hogg switched flank in an attempt to vary the attack. Stuart Douglas had the ball in the net midway through the half, although not before a linesman’s flag had been aloft for several seconds. The half should have ended with City going ahead, a deep cross picking out Jombarti but he could only direct a header wide of the post.
The interval saw the rest of the trialists introduced alongside captain Jim Rollo, player of the season Chris Holland and forward Darren Edwards, although he look well short of fitness after his knee injury. Before this new look line-up had settled Cirencester regained the lead. A neat turn and pass by Griffin sent Brown clear and he confidently flicked the ball past Dunn. Taylor was looking full of running and Cole produced a few neat turns and flicks but rarely looked capable of testing Bath in the host’s goal. Bath-born Taylor saw one effort charged down and then blazed over when well placed, which was about as good as it got for City. Midway through the half the home side made a number of changes but City could not take advantage of this disruption. With about seven minutes remaining they were almost gifted an equaliser when a weak clearance by the replacement keeper was blocked by Taylor, but he fired too close to the retreating shot-stopper and the danger passed. A couple of late corners also failed to produce a goal, leaving City to reflect on a largely underwhelming start to their summer campaign.