Blue Square Conference South
Saturday 12 January 2008 - Gander Green Lane - kick off 3.00pm
half-time: 3-0 result: W4-0 attendance: 598

team: Evans, Simpson, Rollo (c), Coupe, Holland, Harris, Rogers, McKay (Wood 71), Walsh, Gilroy (Paul 75), S Jones. subs not used: G Jones, Howells, Dunn.
man of the match: Dave Gilroy
scorers: Gilroy (22,41,70 pen), Holland (42)
bookings: Harris (62), Paul (83)
officials: to follow

league position: 3rd form: dDWWDW next match: Hampton & Rich (A)

Report taken from

It was a day where everything fell into place for Bath City as they delivered a ruthless performance to once again underline their credentials as realistic Blue Square South promotion contenders. On the one hand, there was a sense of deja vu as a Dave Gilroy hat-trick and a Chris Holland effort made up a four-goal tally away from home for the second successive Saturday. But that was where the similarity with the previous weekend's dramatic 4-4 draw at Eastleigh ended as struggling Sutton were restricted to a solitary clear-cut chance by a City back-line back to their miserly best. While it has to be said that the hosts are one of the poorest sides City have faced this season, the visitors had plenty of ready-made excuses up their sleeves had they slipped up in the wide expanses of Sutton's Gander Green Lane ground. The withdrawal of Scott Partridge on the eve of the match, combined with the midweek exit of Paul Keddle, Mark McKeever's rib injury and bans for Lewis Hogg and Darren Edwards meant manager John Relish was down to just 13 members of his recognised first-team squad. A look at the bench, which included Gethin Jones, dropped after a poor performance at Eastleigh and injured in the warm-up, Jason Wood, sent off in the same game, record-hunting veteran Martin Paul, coach Lee Howells and young keeper Owen Dunn, showed how just how tightly Relish's hands were tied on the selection front. A good run under new boss Ernie Howe had also seen Sutton move off the bottom of the table after propping up the division for the best part of four months, but they were put firmly in their place by a City team determined to prove their crazy 90 minutes in Hampshire a week earlier was a one-off.

Gilroy again grabbed the plaudits with an expertly-taken treble which took his tally for the season to 15. But the contribution of recalled strike partner Phillip Walsh should not be underestimated as he won a huge percentage of headers and held the ball up superbly to give City the chance to swarm forward in numbers in the first half. With pretty football impossible on a heavy, bumpy surface, Walsh's role as targetman was crucial to City's approach and he delivered a display that will make his manager think twice before reverting back to the Gilroy-Edwards combination that has been his preferred option this season. The pair both had chances in an even start before City keeper Paul Evans made his one and only save of the afternoon to keep out Jason Henry's fierce volley from point-blank range in the 12th minute. After that, City took charge and Gilroy was denied by keeper Phil Wilson as he raced through one-on-one before producing an exquisite lob to put his side ahead midway through the half after Walsh flicked Matt Coupe's long free-kick into his path. The goal deflated Sutton and they were left to contemplate a damage limitation exercise at the break as City netted twice in the space of a minute late in the half. Justyn McKay, who impressed all afternoon, was the architect on both occasions, firing in a free-kick from almost 25 yards that Wilson could only palm onto the inside of his post, giving Holland the chance to apply finishing touch on the goalline. City seized possession straight from the restart and Gilroy capitalised on some non-existent defending to collect McKay's pass and slot the ball underneath the helpless Wilson. The half-time whistle halted City's rampant charge and they were on the back foot early in the second period as Sutton pushed three up front.

But the defence, boosted by the return of Sekani Simpson on the right, stood firm despite some skilful play from Henry and Warren McBean and Evans remained untroubled. The hosts' spirit was crushed with 20 minutes to go when Gilroy, as he had at Eastleigh, converted a penalty to complete his second treble in as many games and his third away from Twerton Park this season after Scott Rogers was fouled by Liam Wright inside the box. After that, it was a case of how many City might win by and the stage seemed set for Paul to score his 113th City goal and move clear of Paul Randall as the club's greatest goalscorer since Charlie Fleming. He had a 15-minute window of opportunity after replacing Gilroy, but will have to wait until another day as he ended a rare league outing with just a booking to show for his efforts. But while a landmark goal for Paul would have crowned a perfect afternoon for City's travelling army - some of whom saw their side lose 6-1 at Sutton in the FA Trophy back in 1994 - they could have few complaints as they headed West with three more points in the bag. Once again their side had showed their ability to bounce back quickly from an off-day and, with normal service returning at the back and the goals flowing at the other end, City will clearly take some shifting from the play-off place they currently occupy.