Blue Square Conference South
Saturday 23 February 2008 - Clarence Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Evans, Simpson, Rollo (c), Coupe (G Jones 56), Holland, McKay, Hogg, Rogers, Gilroy (Edwards 76), Partridge, Prince (Wood 64).
subs not used: S Jones, Harris.
|man of the match:
||Gilroy (46), Edwards (87)
||Holland (51), Rogers (90)
||S Feerick, A Aylott, G Viccars
|league position: 4th
||next match: Hayes & Yeading (A)
Report taken from
As goal of the season contenders go, Darren Edwards' late winner at St Albans last Saturday is hardly likely to figure highly in the reckoning when the awards are handed out in May.A shot that barely crossed the line - delivered while the substitute was on his backside in a crowded goalmouth - settled an encounter that could have gone either way and was not one that will live long in the memory.
But while the highlights reel that follows 2007-08 will feature other, more spectacular efforts, more prominently, Edwards' effort was worth its weight in gold, breaking as it did his own duck for the new year and delivering a victory that may prove priceless in a Blue Square South play-off race that looks increasingly close to call.
If Bath City needed any reminding of the step up in class they made at the start of the campaign, they got it in the leafy surroundings of St Albans' Clarence Park.
Twelve months ago, City were routinely steamrollering sides with records as bad as Saturday's hosts on their way to the Southern Premier Division crown.
But nothing can be taken for granted this time around and the dividing line between success and failure is wafer-thin.
Although City travelled home with an expected - and just about deserved - victory in the bag to take them past the 50-point mark for the season and back into fourth place in the table, they were still made to sweat to the last of five minutes of stoppage time by a side that has seen two managers depart and 50 different names appear on its teamsheet since August.
At half-time, a rare St Albans victory looked on the cards as they led through a goal from their best player, Paul Hakim, but City showed the fighting spirit that has served them so well this term to turn the game on its head and keep their play-off push on track.
City survived an early spell of pressure from the hosts, but fell behind when Chris Holland misjudged a long punt forward from Ryan Frater and Hakim nipped in behind him to smash the ball past Paul Evans from the edge of the box.
But St Albans, predictably given the number in their goals-against column, never looked confident at the back and City finished the half on top, with Holland having a goal disallowed, Scott Partridge seeing a goal-bound effort blocked by Frater and Scott Rogers' deflected 25-yard drive whistling just wide.
And the visiting fans did not have to wait long - just 48 seconds to be precise - to see their side back on level terms once the second half began.
Rogers' hopeful ball forward caught the St Albans defence cold and Partridge helped the ball on to strike partner Gilroy, who seemed to lose his balance yet still managed to twist and hook a shot over the stranded Nick Eyre and into the net for his first goal in five games.
The goal might have knocked the wind out of the hosts' sails completely, but they tried to press City back and took their corner count to nine, although Evans' exemplary handling denied them a sniff from set-pieces.
Perhaps the key moment of the contest arrived with 11 minutes left.
Evans raced out to meet Wasiu Akanni Sunday on the edge of the box and the ball squirmed loose and bounced towards the City net.
Sekani Simpson mopped up the danger inside his own six-yard box with the St Albans strikeforce waiting to add the final touch and, seconds later, Gilroy made way for Edwards.
It was a surprise move as Gilroy had looked more threatening than Partridge and the baffled top-scorer made his displeasure apparent to the City management team as he left the field to take his seat in the dugout.
But the switch paid dividends with three minutes to go and the match seemingly heading for a draw neither side would have welcomed.
The tigerish Lewis Hogg forced a corner on the right, which was swung over by Justyn McKay and headed goalwards by substitute Gethin Jones.
Eyre made the save, but the ball broke loose and Edwards, lying on the floor, managed to stab it over the line at the second attempt in a frantic scramble.
It was far from pretty, but it clinched an important victory and one the visiting contingent had the chance to celebrate twice in a bizarre finale that saw referee Sean Feerick appear to all and sundry to blow for full-time before allowing play to continue for a further two minutes.