It’s been a while since I have posted about local football here in Bath. Work and other things have got in the way this season, but after finally getting down to watch Bath City yesterday I thought I’d give my thoughts on the game.
Bath City 2-2 Concord Rangers
Looking at the table from afar you’d have said this result is 2 points dropped against a team at the wrong end of the table. However if you were at the game then it was a point gained. Concord played the ball around the pitch well and had pace to worry the City backline; forcing MOTM Max O’Leary to pull off some great saves.
At half time, with the score at one all thanks to a goal from Andy Watkins, Gary Owers rightly decided to make a change. Concord had two tall defenders at the back with only Marvin Morgan challenging them, so on comes Nick McCootie up front to help out. Billy Murphy also joined the fray with Dan Ball and Nabby Diallo going off; reshuffling the back line.
This to me was an unusual move with City looking to match Concord at the back in height. Now City in recent seasons have always looked better playing the ball on the deck and with creative players in the team like Frankie Artus, loanee Ryan Broom and indeed Diallo this may have yielded a different result. However I could see what he was trying to do, unfortunately it was Concord who came out at the half time more fired up.
Concord continued to get forward and use the ball well in the second half. McCootie battled hard but in a deeper role and Broom kept this full back on his toes all afternoon but Concord were still comfortable at the back. Their two tall centre backs dominated aerial possession which gave the rest of their team time to get back and block any follow up shots.
Concord took the lead with around 15 minutes remaining with an unmarked header from a swift break away. The back four needs some work on in training with Owers still trying to find Jack Batten’s best position. The centre back played at right back for the first half and centre back in the second with George Rigg dropping back to right back in the second half. Manny Monthe switched to left back in the second half and managed to get forward well in the closing 20 minutes.
This didn’t look like a second bottom team in terms of quality and they played with great commitment to keep thwarting City’s attack in the final third.
Therefore Monthe’s 93rd minute equaliser was a relief to many of the 479 fans in attendance, but City must show something more in the next few games. Otherwise it will be a long hard season in mid-table or lower.
My personal choice for a starting eleven in the next game would be a 4-1-3-2; O’Leary, Rigg, Ball, Batten, Monthe, Hemmings, Artus, Murphy, Diallo, Watkins and Morgan – Hemmings would sit in front of the back four and when Monthe or Rigg gets forward he would slot into a back four with Ball or Batten going to left or right back. Artus and Murphy would break up the play feeding the ball to Diallo to roam forward. I’m not a big believer in just having one up front in this league and so Morgan would be the target man flicking on for Watkins – then when one of them tires McCootie or Josh Hutchinson would be fresh to run at a second half defence.
Then again I’m not a manager and I have every faith that this City team will come good under Owers; this game would have taught him a lot about his team and the formations available.
Larkhall Athletic 1-5 Salisbury City
Southern League Div One
Larkhall have managed to get two of their toughest opponents out of the way in the space of a week. The Larks travelled to Hereford in midweek, going down 2-1 in front of over 2000 people. Groundhopper Adam Thurston managed to hitch a ride with the team and reported on his experience at Hereford – I think he likes it there!
Then on Saturday it was time for Salisbury to visit Plain Ham. An unfortunate own goal settled down Salisbury on 13 minutes and they added a second around ten minutes later. Joe Raynes did pull one back keeping the score at 2-1 at half time. However Salisbury were too strong in the second half and went on to score three more and see the game out.
This leaves the Larks in mid-table and the relatively new management duo of Geraint Bater and Neil Arndale looking at two cup games in the next two weeks.
Best of luck to the Larks in these games with WSM coming to Bath on Tuesday 8th.
Longwell Green 1-2 Odd Down
Western Premier League
Longwell Green Community Stadium
Reining champions Odd Down find themselves 19 points off the top after their win over Longwell Green. Ray Johnson was always going to have a hard second season after winning the league and not being able to go up. Some of the club’s players would have wanted to test themselves at a higher level and at this level they are able to leave easily with clubs only offering monthly contracts.
However Odd Down do have two games in hand on Bristol Manor Farm, which could cut the lead down significantly with two wins. There is still a lot of football left to play and everyone at the club will be striving for another strong season.
It was good to notice Tom Summerhill getting this senior chance this season for Longwell Green. He was one of the standout players from the Waitrose charity games a few years ago. So best of luck to Tom and Longwell Green as they battle to stay in the division this season.
Warminster Town 1-2 Keynsham Town
Western League Div One
In contrast to Longwell Green who look to have a long hard season ahead of them Keynsham are flying high at the moment. The committee have stuck by their manager Chris King for near two years now and their faith has been repaid with the K’s joint top of the league.
Sam Duggan put the K’s ahead going into the break and Pat Davidson scored his 56th career goal for the club to seal the victory in the second half.
The club can now look forward to a Somerset Premier Cup game as they host Hengrove at the AJN Stadium on Tuesday 8th – might even have a chance to catch that one after work with a 7.45 ko.