Robins draw level in scorching conditions at Bath City's Twerton Park.Cheltenham Town and Bath City played out a 1-1 draw here at Twerton Park this afternoon in hot conditions.
A first half goal for Bath winger Ross Stearn handed the hosts a deserved lead but a Matt Richards spot kick in the second half handed Cheltenham a leveller and a draw in what was an enjoyable game.
It was a good work-out for Mark Yates' side against a competitive Bath side who also look in good shape ahead of the new season. Bristol City and Steve Cotterill are up next for Cheltenham Town.
A strong side was sent to Twerton Park after a hard week training down in Exeter with new signings Matt Tayor and Koby Arthur both starting for the Robins from the off in a Cheltenham side shaped in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Scorching heat and humid conditions perhaps suggested this wasn't going to be too much of an energetic affair but the Robins controlled possession well early on and looked confident on the ball.
The first chance of the game however fell to the hosts and it was the right winger Ross Stearn who sliced an effort wide of goal following solid build-up play from the Bath central midfielders. That chance was quickly followed up by Cheltenham's first shot on goal but Byron Harrison's ambitious long-range effort was high over the bar.
Mark Yates will have been pleased with ball retention during this half but in truth it was Bath who were the more threatening side in front of goal and the Robins needed both Jason Taylor and Troy Brown to make important blocks on the 26th minute to deny their opponents a lead.
Terry Gornell had a number of chances in this half to make an impact and perhaps even take the lead for Cheltenham but his shots were tame and wide as he continued to search for a first goal of pre-season.
Still Bath came and threatened with Slocombe enjoying some success on the left against Lee Vaughan but his driven effort just past the half hour mark slammed into the side netting.
That warning shot went unnoticed by the Robins and they were soon punished but not before Koby Arthur saw a thumping shot rise over the bar after good work from Paul Black on the left wing.
Cheltenham's punishment and Bath's reward came on 38 minutes when former Robins Frankie Artus found Stearn on the right with a searching pass and the winger's effort was dragged past Trevor Carson in the goal to hand Bath a deserved lead. Stearn, who had missed a sitter earlier in the half from close range, had made amends and was starting to stretch the uncomfortable Robins.
Bath started the second half well with Stearn pulling a header wide of goal early on but the Robins did settle quickly with the appearance of Steve Elliott, Joe Curtis and Omari Sterling-James having a positive impact at the break.
An early effort from Koby Arthur after a good pass from the trialist Joe Curtis was comfortably saved by Mellor in the Bath goal and he was on hand again to make another save from the shot of Terry Gornell following strong work from Sterling-James on the left wing.
An Andy Gallinagh foul on Sterling-James handed Matt Richards a chance to hit the target from afar with a freekick but the midfielder's effort was over the bar and off target.
The presence of Sterling-James on the left wing was causing Bath problems and his link-up play with Koby Arthur presented Gornell with a chance in front of goal but it was well blocked by the Bath defence.
Our hosts were tiring in the extreme heat and a succession of Cheltenham substitutions were only adding to their problems. Fresh legs seemed to be doing the trick for Cheltenham and it was the substitute Joe Hanks who won a penalty from the foul of Gallinagh. Matt Richards, the traditional penalty taker for the Robins, stepped up and his shot down the throat of the goal was enough to pull his side level.
Bath came close to re-taking their lead minutes later when Pratt's header from an Artus freekick shaved the post but Cheltenham breathed a sigh of relief.
There was a defensive blow for Cheltenham on 84 minutes when Jack Deaman had to be removed from action after going over on his ankle. The young defender looked in pain and he was replaced by Craig Braham-Barrett.
A half-chance for Steve Elliott became the final chance of the game with both teams playing out a 1-1 draw on the full time whistle in an enjoyable pre-season friendly.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-2-3-1): Carson (GK); Vaughan, Brown (Elliott 46), M Taylor (Deaman 59 (Braham-Barrett 84)), Black; J Taylor (Hanks 70), Richards; Haworth (Curtis 46), Gornell (Bingham 65), Arthur (Kotwica 65); Harrison (Sterling-James 46)
SUBS NOT USED: Jones (GK), Dale
BATH CITY (4-3-3): Mellor (GK); Bowman, Gallinagh (c), Ball (Keary 79), Slocombe; Addlesbury (Evans 83), Artus, Kington (Simpson 70); Stearn (Allen 70), Pratt, Watkins (Hemmings 59)
SUBS NOT USED: Rollo