City were held to a goalless draw, but learnt lessons as they took on Bath City at Twerton Park.
With the Grecians taking to the field for their third pre-season game of the summer, Gary Caldwell changed up his style from the previous two games. This time around fielding a 60/30 minute split, with Joe O’Connor and Pedro Borges playing the first 30 minutes, who were then replaced by Alex Hartridge and Jack Aitchison. All other starters played the first 60 and then the changes ran. Making the squad for the first time since his signing was Dion Rankine, followed by trialist Tom Carroll.
It was a slow start to the game for both sides as neither was able to really get the ball under control, with the only shouts coming from players on either side asking for fouls in each of their defensive thirds.
With 10 minutes on the clock, the Romans almost took the lead, with a fantastic corner into the box, it found the head of Ben Morgan, but his bullet header was cleared off the line by his own player. Waiting on the edge was a fellow Bath player, but his strike was deflected away and behind for another corner.
City’s first chance of the game didn’t come until the 23rd minute, a beautifully sprayed pass from Sweeney, found Caprice overlapping and in behind the Bath defence but his attempted cross to Cox was gathered up by Wright.
As planned at the start of the game, the Grecians made a double change in the 33rd minute with Borges and O’Connor replaced by Aitchison and Hartridge, with Gary giving all players a chance to shine in pre-season.
The game was approaching the final ten minutes of the first half and the Grecians were starting to get a foothold in the game, and seeing a lot more of the ball, with the only downside being they hadn’t troubled the Romans keeper.
Bath once again found space in behind the City defence and it was Hayfield who was opening up down the right-hand side, but with two of his teammates in the box, he was only able to find the feet of Sweeney, who cleared it behind for another Bath corner.
It was Sweeney to the rescue once again as Bath launched another attack on the City goal. A quick free kick into the box was aimed towards multiple Bath players, but it was the head of City’s Irishman who stopped the home side taking the lead.
Half time saw the arrival of new signing Dion Rankine, who came on in place of Caprice, with this being the first time City fans saw their new boy in action.
City started the second half much brighter than the first half and it was Rankine who was straight into the action. His tricky footwork opened up space on the right-hand side, allowing him to cut inside onto his weaker left foot, but from close range a Bath defender put his head in the way and the ball deflected behind.
A free kick was awarded to City early on in the second half and up stepped dead ball specialist Cole, who sent the ball dipping and swerving towards the goal, but keeper Wright matched the effort with a world class save as he tipped the ball over the bar.
Rankine tried his luck once again, this time from around the 35-yard mark, a corner from the right was headed out to the Chelsea loanee and after taking it under control he let loose, but his effort sailed just over the bar.
With the second half fast approaching the 60th minute mark, Rankine this time was attempting to turn provider. Picking up the ball on the right hand, it was step over after step over with the ball being laid back to Scott, but his effort was deflected wide.
The 62nd minute saw City make eight changes with Billington, Diabate, Mitchell, Kite, Carroll, Beardmore and Nombe enter the field of play in place of Sweeney, Aimson, Harper, Trevitt, Cole, Scott and Cox.
The best chance of the game fell to trialist Tom Carroll as Nombe was able to use his speed and strength to get in behind the Bath defence but his cut back bounced at the wrong moment for Carroll as he got his foot under the ball and sent it over the bar from close range.
It was another chance from range for City, this time it was Kite who found space around the 30-yard mark, but his curling effort curled to far wide of the goal, and behind for a goal kick.
With the game approaching its end, City were pushing with intent to secure a winning goal, Nombe aiming to turn provider turned the Bath City left back inside out and his ball into the box found Kite, however, his effort was smothered by Bath defenders.
That was that for City as the game in North Somerset ended up no goals scored for either side.
The next game for City is on Tuesday July 18th as they take on Taunton Town at the Cygnet Health Care Stadium.
City First Half: Woods, Caprice (Rankine), Sweeney (Billington), Aimson © (Diabate), O’Connor (Hartridge), Harper (Mitchell), Trevitt (Kite), Cole (Carroll), Borges (Aitchison), Scott (Beardmore), Cox (Nombe)
Bath City: Wright, Raynes, Greenslade, Batten, Parselle ©, Hayfield, Cooke, Smith, Frear, Russe, Morgan
Subs: Dyer, Trialist A, Trialist B, Trialist C, Lines