Blue Square Conference South
Saturday 22 September 2007 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Evans, Simpson, Rollo (c) (Keddle 65), G Jones, Holland, Harris (Coupe 60), S Jones, Rogers, Edwards, Gilroy (Walsh 58),
McKeever. subs not used: Paul.
|man of the match:
||Gilroy (pen 22), Edwards (50), Harris (56)
||K Johnson (Weston Super Mare), C Wicks (Reading), S Maynard (Reading)
|league position: 3rd
||next match: Truro City (FAC) (A)
Report taken from
Bath City eased to victory over ten-man St Albans City at Twerton Park to move two points closer to the Blue Square South summit.
The early dismissal of visiting centre-back Gary Elphick for a professional foul on striker Dave Gilroy set the tone for the afternoon and John Relish's men are unlikely to enjoy a more comfortable 90 minutes all season.
After that, it was only a matter of time before they went in front and Gilroy duly obliged from the penalty spot midway through the first half, netting his fourth goal of the week.
When the outstanding Darren Edwards made it 2-0 five minutes into the second half there looked to be no way back for struggling St Albans, and Adie Harris gleefully hammered home a third soon afterwards to render the final half-hour little more than a procession.
The result keeps City in third spot, but they are now only three points behind new leaders Lewes after Eastbourne Borough were held to a 1-1 draw at Hayes & Yeading.
St Albans, meanwhile, continue to struggle in the aftermath of relegation from the Conference National and on this evidence it is hard to believe there were two divisions between the Hertfordshire side and City last season.
Their confidence was already shot to pieces by a 5-0 midweek home hiding at the hands of Thurrock when Elphick saw red in the fifth minute for hauling down Gilroy as he homed in on goal.
Weston-super-Mare official Kevin Johnson rightly dismissed the experienced former Brighton and Rushden defender and St Albans were left with a sense of deja vu after keeper Nick Eyre's early red card in the defeat to Thurrock three days earlier.
Scott Rogers lashed the resulting 25-yard free-kick wide of Eyre's right-hand post, but it was not long before City were handed a wake-up call at the other end.
St Albans captain Lee Clarke, playing as a lone striker following Elphick's sending-off, thought he had given his side a tenth-minute lead with a glancing header, but turned to see the assistant referee's flag raised for offside.
From then on it was all City, with Chris Holland looking typically dangerous from a string of Mark McKeever set-pieces in the first half.
Holland saw the first of four first-half headers on goal fly over the bar 60 seconds after Clarke's effort and went even closer in the 17th minute as Eyre scrambled across his goal to tip the former TeamBath defender's effort over the bar.
It came as no surprise when the hosts took the lead in the 22nd minute.
McKeever lifted the ball forwards and Edwards' clever flick played in Gilroy, who went down under a challenge from Hasim Deen as he chased the ball near the byline.
Mr Johnson pointed to the spot and Gilroy stepped up confidently to send Eyre the wrong way with a side-footed effort into the bottom-left corner.
Holland sent another header wide of the target from a left-wing McKeever free-kick, before Mark Beard saved the visitors when he cut out a low Sekani Simpson cross that seemed destined for Scott Rogers.
Simpson was starting on City's right flank in the absence of the suspended Lewis Hogg, with Steve Jones coming into the side at right-back.
St Albans almost grabbed an unlikely leveller before the break when Scott Cousins' free-kick clipped off the home wall and was fumbled over the bar by the under-worked Evans, who looked relieved to see the ball drop out of play for a corner.
Gilroy went desperately close to doubling his tally when he raced on to another Edwards lay-off. He lifted the ball over the advancing Eyre, who managed to get a touch to the shot and deflect it inches wide of the far post with the home crowd rising to preparing celebrate the striker's second goal of the afternoon.
Gilroy was clearly troubling the away side and Chris Seeby was cautioned for chopping him down before the break, with Alex Bolt following him into Mr Johnson's notebook for an even later challenge on Holland.
Any hope St Albans might have had of coming back ended within 11 minutes of the restart.
Edwards, whose link-up play was a feature of a professional City performance, started and finished the move for his side's second goal.
He released strike partner Gilroy on the right and, although the ex-Bristol Rovers man's cross to McKeever looked under-hit, the winger still managed to force Seeby into a mistake.
McKeever's subsequent challenge on keeper Eyre saw the ball break loose and Edwards had the simple task of prodding the ball into an unguarded net for his fourth goal of the season.
Eyre completed a week to forget on 56 minutes when he picked up a back-pass six yards out under little pressure from the home attack.
Although St Albans packed their goalline, there was enough space for Harris to ram home his second goal in eight days after Rogers touched the free-kick to him.
Boss Relish then made three substitutions in quick succession. Gilroy and Harris were replaced by Phil Walsh and Matt Coupe due in order to guard against their respective hamstring and back problems, while Paul Keddle came on for Jim Rollo.
The tempo dropped noticeably for the final 20 minutes, with substitute Danny Morgan looking dangerous for the visitors.
Walsh might have added a fourth for City from a McKeever centre, but delayed his shot and allowed Deen to make the block, with Simpson blasting his follow-up effort out of the ground.
Edwards' trickery posed questions for the St Albans defence until the final whistle, but his efforts to add a second goal to his tally were snuffed out first by Seeby and then by Deen in the closing minutes.