Saturday 16 July 2016 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Phillips, Rigg (Monthe HT), Ball (c), Batten, Huth (Williams 57), Marshall, Murphy, Fleetwood (Hall 61), McCootie (Hutchinson 57), Watkins, Hunter (Elcock HT). subs not used: none
|man of the match:
||R Hulme, A Hobbs, J Bonnick
|league position: n/a
||next match: Shortwood United (A)
Report taken from
Two late goals were all that could separate Bath City from Football League Cheltenham Town.
Just as they showed in midweek against Bristol Rovers, the Romans looked in reasonable control defensively for the majority of the game, only for the final ten minutes to get away from them.
However, there was still a lack of opportunities carved out at the other end as all too often they appeared rough around the edges.
It was Danny Wright and Asa Hall that grabbed the Cheltenham goals – the second from a corner, which has proved an issue for the Romans throughout their pre-season campaign to date.
There was no place in the squad for either Frankie Artus or Dan Bowman, while Chas Hemmings was scratched for Shaquille Hunter after the warm-up.
Paraguay international Ronald Huth found himself in the starting line-up, as Manny Monthe dropped to the bench after three consecutive starts.
An early chance for City went by when Jack Batten failed to get a clean touch on a Billy Murphy corner to the near post, while both Stuart Fleetwood and Shaquille Hunter found themselves in good positions early on, but were unable to find the clinical final ball.
That was largely the story of how it went at both ends. Even Steve Phillips made a couple of errors, starting out with a dire punch that went unpunished.
He then sliced a clearance out to Dan Holman, who cut inside Jack Batten and fired a shot into the covering defence.
At the other end, the Romans tried something a little different.
From a free-kick 45 yards out, Billy Murphy tapped the ball off for McCootie, who suddenly sprung to life from pretending to fiddle with his shinpads.
He pushed a touch on and attempted to catch out keeper Rhys Lovett – a late replacement pre-match – only to blaze his shot into the Bristol End.
Harry Pell had the chance to run onto a skewed Huth header, but fired over, and was then shut down attempting to dash onto an intricate through ball after McCootie had given away possession.
Hunter – who drifted in and out of the opening period – had a shot blocked for the Romans, before Holman cleverly nicked away from two defenders and drove over from 35 yards.
There was another mistake from Phillips when he dashed out to grab a hooked Jack Barthram cross, completely missed and watched as Amari Morgan-Smith was unable to keep his header the right side of the bar.
Morgan-Smith then turned provider when he hustled onto a high ball over the top and cut back for Holman to hit way over.
Gary Johnson made six changes to his Robins line-up at the interval and they came out strong to open the second period.
Within moments of the restart, James Rowe struck the wall with a free-kick before fellow sub Wright had his central, six-yard volley blocked at pointblank range by Dan Ball.
Monthe entered the fray for City at the break and found himself in a rare position deep in Cheltenham territory.
He almost made the most of it, poaching the ball from a defender and drawing a full-stretch save from Lovett.
There was more Cheltenham stretching at the other end when Billy Waters lurched for an Andreas Komodikis centre and jabbed wide.
Komodikis had a chance of his own when a cross flicked off the head of Ball and fell his way, but the Romans defence were on hand to keep Phillips' goal unbreached.
Substitute Josh Hutchinson – who signed on permanently during the week – battled Barthram for a stray ball at the touchline and eventually won a free-kick.
Though Billy Murphy's dead-ball was cleared, City recycled possession as Marshall sent in a ball that narrowly evaded Jack Batten.
Phillips was backed up by his defence when he whiffed on another cross with Komodikis lurking, but the visitors eventually went in front when Rowe lifted a ball over the flat-footed defence and Wright in turn lobbed the keeper.
Good work between Jordan Williams and Andy Watkins almost had sub Callum Hall in behind, only for his control to let him down, before Cheltenham killed off the game in stoppage time.
This time it came from a corner, as Rowe bent the ball onto Hall's head for his second assist of the day.