Bath City 1-1 Cardiff City
12th July 2014
On a gloriously sunny summers day Bath City played host to Championship side Cardiff City. The players and management from Cardiff were all smiles and posed for photographs and gave autographs for Cardiff and Bath fans alike before the game. However it wasn’t the Championship new boys that were the ones smiling at the end of the 90 minutes as Bath managed a 1-1 draw. A fine strike from Jo Inge Berget put the visitors ahead on 65 minutes but on 77 minutes trialist Zac Evans levelled the score with a instinctive finish with his first touch of coming on.
It was the visitors that started the game brightly only to find Jason Mellor in fine form; comfortably taking any balls coming his way via a shot, through ball or cross. The best chance for Cardiff in the first half fell to the former Manchester Utd striker Macheda from a break away. The quick striker got through on goal but blasted his effort past Mellor but only on to the corner of the goal frame on 18 minutes. Bath were slowly finding their feet against their strong opposition and Andy Watkins was played through on 31 minutes only for Simon Moore, in goal for Cardiff, to block the shot.
Bath then went close again just 8 minutes later when last season’s top goal scorer, David Pratt, headed just over. A moment later in Bath’s next attack Ross Stearn has a long shot which goes just wide of the post. Stearn than had a moment to brag about in the bar when he jinxed the ball past another former United player Fabio only for his shot to go out for a corner. So it was all square at half time at 0-0. Now this is where the difference of the two teams was apparent. Cardiff used 10 substitutes by only leaving on Moore in goal, with just sub goal keeper, Joe Lewis left on the bench.
Cardiff came out at the break with fresh legs and almost immediately Mellor had to produce a fine save. Then Cardiff went even closer hitting the side netting from a Burgstaller strike on 52 minutes. There was a good chance for Bath following a loose pass, and a slip in defence, allowing Stearn to take a long shot but it was well saved by Moore. Mellor then saved well on 60 minutes from Jo Inge Berget who found space on the edge of the box. Two minutes later Stearn got on to a flick on from the tiring Phil Walsh, who had 10 minutes up front after playing centre back, but Moore pulled off his best save of the game.
Brave Bath finally conceded though on 65 minutes when Jo Inge Berget engineered himself space for a shot on the edge of the box; which flew inside the near post to beat the diving Mellor. On 70 minutes the Cardiff management decided to take off Kévin Théophile-Catherine who wasn’t moving very well, and with only a keeper on the bench, were forced to play the last 20 minutes with ten men. Watkins then broke free of the back four a few minutes later but the defence got back just in time to make the block.
77 minutes saw Bath get the goal that their attacking opportunities deserved. New signing Chaz Hemmings made his presence felt by winning the ball back from the Cardiff centre back inside the 6 yard box. He then had the sense to pull the ball back to young striker Jordan Ricketts who squared it into the middle, past Moore, with trialist Zac Evans on hand to bang the ball home with his first touch after coming on. Mellor still needed to be alert and thwarted another decent Cardiff attack punching a Declan John cross away from Adam Le Fondre with just a few minutes left. Ricketts then had the chance to win it for Bath right on 90 minutes when Hemmings played him through but Moore held his nerve to save well with the game finishing 1-1.
A really tough work out for Bath in a game which would have surprised this strong Cardiff side. The crowd was a healthy 1032 which will help with the drop out of Salisbury from the league as that fixture would have generated about the same amount of money. Best of luck to Cardiff in their season back down in the Championship, it could be a promotion season for both clubs come the end of 2014/15.