Blue Square Conference South
Saturday 9 August 2008 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
half-time: 0-2 result: L0-4 attendance: 623

team: Evans, Simpson, Rollo (c), Coupe, Holland, Badman (S Jones 72), Hogg, Rogers, Edwards, Douglas (Paul 68), Gosling (Slocombe 22). subs not used: Cochlin, G Jones
man of the match: Lewis Hogg
scorers: none
bookings: Badman (48), Hogg (67), Paul (88), Rogers (90)
officials: S Daly (Staines), C Wicks (Reading), B Durie (Tewkesbury)

league position: 21st form: -----L next match: Maidenhead Utd (A)

Report taken from

Bath City made a nightmare start to the new Blue Square South campaign as unfancied Welling ran riot on the opening day of 2008-09 at Twerton Park. Midfielder Ryan Martin stole the show with a hat-trick for the visitors, who inflicted John Relish's heaviest defeat since taking over as City boss three years ago. Martin's second and third goals came direct from free-kicks and substitute Sol Pinnock hammered the final nail in the hosts' coffin by repeating the trick seven minutes from time. Yellow cards for Mark Badman, Lewis Hogg, Martin Paul and Scott Rogers completed a thoroughly miserable afternoon for City, who did little to convince the home contingent in a below-par crowd of 623 that they can be among the division's front-runners this season. With summer signing Ali Gibb sidelined and Dave Gilroy awaiting knee surgery, there were few surprises in the home line-up, with Stuart Douglas making his debut alongside Darren Edwards up front and Badman and Jamie Gosling returning to the black and white stripes in midfield after six and five years away respectively. Gosling was to last only 25 minutes, though, after suffering a back injury that makes him a major doubt for Tuesday night's trip to Maidenhead United. For the visitors, Charlie Sheringham, the son of former England striker Teddy, lined up in attack.

A bright start from City masked the horrors to come and Rogers had the first chance in only the second minute, prodding wide from the edge of the box after Chris Holland headed down a left-wing Jim Rollo free-kick. Visiting left-back Craig Braham-Barrett picked up Twerton Park's first booking of the season soon afterwards when he slid in late on Hogg. But the away side were ahead in the 14th minute after a mistake by Rollo. The City skipper missed his kick with his teammates committed to attack and allowed Ellis Green to steal in and run clear down the right. Green's cross evaded both Sheringham and strike partner Joe Healy in the centre, but fell kindly for Martin, who drove the ball into the roof of Paul Evans' net with the aid of a deflection. City's response was to win the first corner of the game and, after Welling failed to clear their lines, Edwards was presented with time and space eight yards out, but took a touch too many and saw his delayed shot blocked by a defender. Gosling also failed to make the most of a decent opening in the area before he was forced out of the action and replaced on the left flank by debutant Martin Slocombe. The substitute soon headed wide from Mark Badman's cross, before Hogg - City's stand-out performer - burst into the box from the right flank before a defender took his low centre off the toes of the lurking Douglas six yards out. While City enjoyed plenty of the first-half possession, Welling looked dangerous on the counter-attack and it took a well-timed challenge from Holland to halt Sheringham in the box before Evans punched clear unconvincingly under pressure from goalscorer Martin. Hogg saw a low shot from a 20-yard free-kick blocked by the Welling wall after a foul on Rogers before Douglas had the ball in the net, albeit long after the referee had blown for offside against strike partner Edwards. Rogers had a penalty shout waved away five minutes before the break after being flattened in the area by keeper Jamie Turner and the midfielder had another sight of goal when Douglas was tugged back by Tony Sinclair 20 yards out, but had his effort charged down after Hogg touched the resulting free-kick to him. Martin showed him the way in first-half stoppage time, side-footing a left-footed set-piece into the far corner of Evans' net from a similar distance after Holland fouled Healy the right of the area.

The first action of the second half saw Badman cautioned for a foul on the Welling left and the resulting free-kick was worked to Sonny Cobbs, who lifted a shot just wide of Evans' right post. City won two corners in quick succession, the first of which saw Braham-Barrett head away a looping Holland header from Hogg's delivery and the second falling eventually to Rogers, who drove well wide from the edge of the area. Rollo blazed a shot well over in the 53rd minute as his side continued to falter in front of goal and City's chances of a point all but evaporated on the hour as Martin completed his hat-trick. The visitors won a free-kick on the right of the area and the midfielder sent a low drive skidding past the wall and through Evans' legs to leave beleaguered City facing a damage-limitation exercise. City switched to a 4-3-3 formation, with Hogg joining the attack, but almost found themselves 4-0 down when dangerman Martin found himself in space on the left and centred for Healy, whose effort was smothered by Evans at the second attempt. Hogg's frustration got the better of him on 67 minutes when he was yellow carded for a foul just moments after receiving a warning from referee Stephen Daly. Paul joined the fray in place of the ineffective Douglas for the final 22 minutes before veteran Steve Jones came on for Badman. City were offered some respite when dangerman Martin left the field on 74 minutes, but his replacement, Seb Schoburgh, almost netted with his first touch but slipped at the decisive moment. Edwards headed a right-wing Hogg free-kick over the bar as the game became increasingly one-paced, with the visitors slowing down the play at every opportunity. And City's nightmare was complete in the 83rd minute when Slocombe conceded a free-kick on the right and, for the third time, the visitors made them pay. Substitute Pinnock, who had only been on the field for six minutes, stepped up and curled a terrific shot beyond Evans and into the top corner to seal City's first opening-day defeat in 12 years. With time running out, Slocombe finally forced Turner into a meaningful save before Paul flicked a header inches wide of the far post with the keeper stranded. Paul and Rogers became the third and fourth home players booked for fouls on Turner and Rob Quinn respectively before referee Mr Daly put the home fans out of their misery.