Bathcity Football Club

Bath City deserved more than solitary point for withstanding

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Jerry Gill felt his Bath City side deserved more than the solitary point they picked up against Concord Rangers for their gallant first-half endeavours.

The Romans were firmly on the back-foot for the opening 15-or-so minutes at Twerton Park, battling against not only an in-form Rangers, but howling wind and face-first waves of pouring rain.

Such were the Essex outfit backed up by the gale blowing into the Bath End, any attempted long ball or clearance came right back at the City defence.

But the hosts endured that spell, kept their sheet clean and set about regaining ground in the battle of two high-flying National League South teams.

Having fought off Concord’s best, the Romans came back out and took the lead almost immediately the second half starting through Sean Rigg.

From that point the game stagnated but Concord would draw level ten minutes from time when Sam Blackman skewed the ball home.

“I’m genuinely disappointed for the lads,” Gill said. “I thought the first half was a dogged display, the wind was really blowing down here.

“They had to really dig in and defend, lots of long balls into the box, lots of heading, lots of clearances.

“It’s really difficult to get out as well, because you’re trying to turn it a little bit and get us up the pitch, but the wind was so strong we just couldn’t get out and came under a lot of pressure.

“To go in at half-time 0-0, we were really pleased with that. We felt as if we’d be on the front foot second half going down the hill, which we really like.”

Sadly for City, the wind was less of a factor at the change of ends, though they would nevertheless go in front through Rigg.

The second period was an all-round improvement, yet Concord still somehow found the leveller.

Gill continued: “We scored a good goal, got ourselves ahead and then we’ve looked really comfortable in the game.

“I thought we deserved to win the game, certainly on the first half display when we were dogged.

“Then unfortunately we’ve conceded a poor goal for us. There was no pressure on the ball, it’s come through a number of bodies and then hit the player on the shin, I think, and gone in.

“But Concord are a good side. They’ve been in really good form, and we haven’t lost the game.

“I’m just a little bit disappointed for the players because they put everything into it and you can’t fault their effort.

“We’ve just come away with the point and it feels like two points dropped.”

The kind of weather witnessed at Twerton Park is nothing new for the English winter, and Gill knows full well that his team may need to mix it up depending on the conditions.

“I was saying to the staff at half-time, and to Ryan Clarke, we need to be something different and see a different side to us, certainly this time of year because the pitches aren’t going to be as good; although the pitch was very good, actually,” he said.

“The weather turns a bit – it’s raining, it’s windy – and we can’t always be that team that is going to play total football.

“I thought the second half we had some lovely spells in possession, we created little bits and bobs.

“I challenged them to get ten shots in second half and we didn’t quite do that; that’s my only little bit of a gripe, we didn’t test their keeper enough second half.

“The challenge is to get three points Tuesday, go out, front-foot stuff. Four points from two will be a good return for us, even though the league is so tight still.”

It was a tricky afternoon for the back four in particular, also coming up against the physical presence of former Bristol Rovers striker Wall.

Gill said their performance was a show of character from Jack Batten, Robbie Cundy and Co.

“They’re forming a good partnership,” the Romans chief said. “I’ve spoken about that before with Strakes [Anthony Straker] and Michee [Efete] as well, and Ryan Clarke, who’s pulled off a great save second half as well, a reaction save.

“These boys are good characters, have good attitudes, and they had to first half. If we didn’t have that maybe last year we might have crumbled under that pressure.

“They’re a real physical presence; Wall up the top does a great job for them, and they’ve scored a lot of goals.

“We’re disappointed we’ve dropped two points, but we’ll never be despondent about it because if you look at the all-round performance, that was okay out there in tough conditions.”

Gill promoted Tom Smith back to the starting line-up after his impressive cameo in the FA Trophy win at Horsham, and with James Morton injured following a training ground knock at parent club Bristol City.

On Smith, Gill said: “I’ve said before that he hasn’t quite got the form he’s had with us previously and it’s been difficult for him, because he’s at Cheltenham and training away from the first-team squad, so it’s probably difficult for a young player to deal with that.

“He trains with us Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and I thought his performance today and at Horsham was warranting of a start today.

“We lost James Morton Friday to an innocuous challenge, blocking a ball at Bristol City in training and his ankle’s come up.

“We put a team out there and Tom was one of the lads that’s worked ever so hard today.

“He didn’t quite get enough shots away for me, because that’s his strength, but he’s trying to get back to the form that we know Tom Smith has got.”

This Tuesday the Romans play host to Billericay Town, a club in apparent disarray with rumours of an immiment sale by controversial owner Glenn Tamplin.

The Essex side have lost a string of players in the past week, including top scorer Jake Robinson.

But Gill warned reading too much into their off-field woes.

“Billericay have got a big squad with some very good players and we all know about it,” he said.

“Whatever ever goes on internally at Billericay is Billericay’s business, no-one else. So many people have told me today little stories about what’s happened there.

“At the end of the day they’re football players and there’ll be 11 coming out here on Tuesday night looking to win a football match. All the politics will go out the window.

“I know Dean [Brennan, manager] really well from his time at Hemel. He’s a great lad and I hope for him as well that things are okay behind the scenes, because he’s a good coach and a good manager, and they’re good people.

“Tuesday will be a challenge. It’ll be up against a very, very good team. Whatever team he puts out I know they will be organised, they’ve got some flair, they like to pass the ball and will have some pace about them as well.

“They’re at the right end of the league as well, so we won’t underestimate Billericay for sure.

“If the boys come with the same attitude and the same preparation we’ll have a good opportunity of winning that game.”

The BIllericay match kicks off at the slightly earlier time of 7.30pm to allow travelling fans to catch the last train back to London.

source: https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/bath-city-concord-jerry-gill-2309272

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