Saturday 23 July 2016 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Phillips, Mitchell (Bowman HT), Ball (c) (Hall 71), Batten, Monthe, Artus, Hutchinson (Diallo 52), Marshall (Gordon 52), Fleetwood (McCootie 52), Morgan (Watkins 52 (Elcock 85)), Hunter (Kotwica HT). subs not used: none
|man of the match:
||J Ainscow, A Locker, S Fudge
|league position: n/a
||next match: Bristol City (H)
Report taken from
Bath City snatched a draw from a young Oxford United side in well-fought pre-season encounter.
The stronger side in the first half, the Romans could not make the most of their possession bar a couple of presentable openings.
Oxford came out brighter after the break and took the lead when James Roberts produced a tidy finish having been set in behind.
Looking for a route back, City hit the crossbar through Eilan Gordon before Andy Watkins produced a fine piece of skill and similarly cool finish to earn the draw.
After being drafted in and impressing at Shortwood United in midweek, Pierce Mitchell was given a start at right-back for City, with George Rigg – seen working with the also absent Chas Hemmings pre-match – and Billy Murphy missing out.
Marvin Morgan partnered Stuart Fleetwood up top, with Josh Hutchinson and Shaquille Hunter filling the wide positions.
Frankie Artus returned from injury, with Dan Bowman back on the bench alongside Naby Diallo, the former Roman who spent last season at Dover in the National League top flight.
Former Cheltenham Town midfielder Zack Kotwica also found his way onto Gary Owers' bench.
Within minutes of the game getting under way City almost gave themselves trouble as Steve Phillips only just reached a Manny Monthe backpass ahead of a charging Oxford forward.
But by and large it was the hosts that had the better of the play – creating clear-cut chances the main problem once again.
Jack Batten was one of their top performers in all aspects, his performance epotomised when he won the ball, skinned an Oxford man and lofted a perfect ball over the top for Hunter.
The trialling winger got to it on the byline and attempted to bamboozle his defender, only to be dispossessed.
Oxford had a goal ruled out for offside when Roberts got in behind and lofted his shot Phillips.
Morgan got his first sight of goal when he flicked a header on for Fleetwood, who in turn played a first-time ball round the corner for his strike partner.
The former Plymouth Argyle man got to the ball at a tight angle and drew a save from the feet of Oxford stopper Jack Stevens, with Fleetwood instinctively dinking the rebound across the box, but none of his team-mates were lurking.
Stevens was back in action to make a sharp save when Fleetwood's left-wing, near-post corner found the head of Batten for the best opportunity either side created in the first period.
City continued to probe – Hunter almost setting Fleetwood away with an intricate through ball – but it was the visitors who had the final chance of the half.
Artus sold Mitchell short with a square ball that Jonny Giles swiftly latched on to. He had the defence backing off and fired in a shot that Phillips comfortably dealt with, despite having Roberts dashing down the left.
The visitors were twice frustrated as two penalty shouts were turned down, but City had the first shot on goal as Morgan was clipped 25 yards out and Fleetwood's curling free-kick was thwarted by a diving Stevens.
Giles almost found himself in behind but could not rein in awkward cross from the left that popped up nicely for Phillips.
However, the City custodian would be beaten on 66 minutes when Roberts ran onto a through ball and coolly slipped his finish into the far post.
Almost immediately Watkins drew a low save from Stevens with a difficult chance from a narrow angle as the Romans looked for an equaliser.
Substitute Gordon then darted in from the right wing and attempted to play McCootie in behind, only for the frontman to be blocked off by two Oxford defenders.
Another jag inside from Gordon saw him unleash a curling shot that Stevens tipped onto his crossbar before the Romans got level when Watkins baffled a defender with a Cruyff turn and found the bottom corner.
The strong finish continued for the hosts when Nick McCootie and Gordon worked the ball into the box for Watkins, who was upended but denied a penalty.