Wednesday 6 July 2016 - The Ridings - kick off 7.30pm
||Phillips, Bowman (Elcock 74), Ball (c), Batten, Monthe (Hemmings HT), Rigg (Last 74), Artus (Gordon HT), Murphy, Fleetwood (Jackson HT), McCootie (Hutchinson HT), Watkins (Hunter HT). subs not used: Bolton, Bole, Evans.
|man of the match:
||Andy Watkins (1st) Marlon Jackson (2nd)
|league position: n/a
||next match: Bristol Rovers (H)
Report taken from
Bath City could not repeat the emphatic victory over Partick Thistle as their second pre-season friendly ended in stalemate against a committed Chipping Sodbury Town outfit.
The Romans went ahead with little more than two minutes in the clock through Jack Batten, before Dave Sims levelled before the quarter-hour.
Although they dominated for the remainder of the contest, a combination of poor finishing before the break and desperate Sodbury blocks after it prevented a second.
Mystery absentee Dan Bowman finally returned to the squad for the first time this pre-season – shifting George Rigg into central midfield alongside Frankie Artus and Billy Murphy.
Trialist Manny Monthe retained his starting berth from the Partick game, while Gary Owers also ran the rule over ex-Bristol City striker Marlon Jackson, who came on for the second half.
As expected, it was the Romans that came out and dominated the opening exchanges, and they went in front before Sodbury had barely touched the ball.
Murphy, whose set-pieces were a threat throughout, sent in a low, sweeping corner that found a way through for Batten, who turned home from eight yards.
That pattern of play continued as Monthe flicked a Murphy cross just wide of the post and Andy Watkins finished off a passing move, only to have his goal chalked off by the linesman's flag.
Another strong spell of tidy City football allowed Dan Bowman to swing a left-footed cross deep for Watkins, whose shot was patted down comfortably by the Sodbury keeper,
But the hosts found a leveller when a corner was flicked to the back post. The waiting James Mackie's stooping header cracked back off the crossbar and fell for Sims to convert following up.
City's class often showed compared to their Western League hosts. At one point Frankie Artus turned a delightful pass down the left-hand channel for Watkins to run onto and cross narrowly ahead of a hungry Stuart Fleetwood.
Then, despite calls from Owers to get the right-footed George Rigg on a free-kick from the left, Billy Murphy stepped up and swung over a ball that Batten nodded over the top.
Plucky Sodbury almost found themselves in behind when Sims attempted an intricate through ball for Mackie that Phillips was out sharply to slide in and grab.
More decent passing failed to find a final ball, with George Rigg scything a 25-yard drive narrowly over.
A hustling Fleetwood outmuscled Mike Beacham, but was just about seen off by Dale Emery, before he, Dan Ball and Rigg had a triplet of successive shots kept out by the keeper and his scrambling defence.
City almost went behind when a rare forward foray from the hosts earned a corner, from which Emery was left with acres of space on the penalty spot but headed over.
But the Romans should have been back in front by the break as they opened up a prime opportunity that went to waste.
Good work from Fleetwood set McCootie away in the box to check inside his man and blaze way past the angle of post and bar from close in.
There was one more chance before the break when McCootie was unable to get a Bowman cross out from under his feet and instead cut back for Watkins, who connected poorly with a jab that bobbled into the keeper's clutches.
Sodbury almost shocked City on the return to the pitch when Joe White flicked a header on for substitute Chris Foyle to drive into Phillips' arms.
The visitors made a series of changes themselves, including a completely reveamped frontline that featured new trialist Jackson, who soon found space for a cut-back that evaded any of the red City shirts up top.
Another of those subs, Josh Hutchinson, weaved his way forward on the left and sent in a cross that was fired goalwards by both Shaquille Hunter and Eilan Gordon, each blocked out.
Home keeper Hale also punched away a Murphy cross under the pressure – the loose ball fired into a defender by Batten.
Gordon returned the favour by dinking a delicate centre from the left, only for the keeper to somehow push out a close-range Gordon header with his fingertips, before saving another daisy-cutting effort from the substitute minutes later.
Jackson had his first chance when he latched onto a cheeky dinked free-kick from Murphy, with Hale tipping his over-the-shoulder volley into the side netting.
He soon had another opportunity blocked on the line at point-black range after Hunter squeezed his way down the byline and cut-back.
The luckless Romans front four continued to run the hard yards throughout the closing stages, but a string of blocks from the Sodbury defenders kept their goal unbreached for a second time.