Blue Square Conference South
Saturday 16 August 2008 - Woodside Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Evans, G Jones, Rollo (c) (Slocombe 17), Coupe, Holland, S Jones, Hogg, Rogers, Edwards (Paul 79), Douglas (Carey-Bertram 67),
Simpson. subs not used: Badman, Cochlin.
|man of the match:
||Hogg (21), Edwards (60)
||R Kendall, J Wynne, G Wilson
|league position: 12th
||next match: Team Bath (H)
Report taken from
Bath City collected their first victory of the campaign thanks to a dominant display at Bishop's Stortford. Lewis Hogg ended City's early-season goal
drought with the opener from a free-kick midway through the first half and both Chris Holland and Steve Jones hit the hosts' woodwork before the interval.
John Relish's men doubled their lead just after the hour mark when Darren Edwards forced the ball home with the Stortford defence in disarray and the
result never looked in doubt after that. Former Forest Green Rovers striker Danny Carey-Bertram was added to the City bench after signing on the eve of the
match, taking the place of youngster Ashley Caldwell, but City were otherwise unchanged from the line-up that drew 0-0 at Maidenhead United in midweek.
City were making their second appearance at Stortford's Woodside Park in four months, having seen their play-off ambitions killed off with a 1-1 draw on
the Essex-Herts border on the final day of last season. But the opposition were much changed after losing a series of key players over the summer, most
notably Blue Square South's top scorer of 2007-08, Greg Pearson, to Burton Albion.
Close-season signing Stuart Douglas had barely had a sniff of a goal in his previous two City appearances, but almost opened the scoring in the sixth minute, seeing a fierce first-time effort parried by home keeper Nicky Eyre after Sekani Simpson flicked the ball into his path.
The striker then won a corner that led to Holland powering a header high and wide from Hogg's delivery, before crossing for Scott Rogers, who failed to get a proper connection on his header.
City had settled quickly, but were forced into an early change when captain Jim Rollo was left writhing in pain after a tackle by Idemudia Okijie and was helped from the field by physio Dave Lukins after a three-minute stoppage.
Rollo, who may now face a lay-off after appearing to damage his right ankle, was replaced at left-back by Martin Slocombe, with Matt Coupe taking the skipper's armband.
But the visitors continued in the ascendancy and took the lead in the 21st minute.
Edwards' tenacity led to a spell of pressure on the edge of the box in which Douglas and Holland both had efforts blocked. The ball was cleared only as far as Steve Jones, who was tripped by Okijie 20 yards out and Hogg, from the left of the area, curled an accurate low shot around the wall and past Eyre's despairing dive from the resulting free-kick.
Hogg then headed a far-post cross from Simpson at Eyre before Stortford had their first effort on target, Piers Wixon driving a 30-yard free-kick towards the top corner but seeing his shot picked out of the air by Paul Evans.
City went within a whisker of doubling their lead in the 34th minute. Hogg curled an inviting free-kick into the box from the left and Holland arrived unmarked, but saw his firm downward header cannon back off a post and into the arms of a grateful Eyre.
With Hogg and Simpson doing plenty of damage on the flanks, City stayed on the front foot and Douglas got underneath a header from Edwards' right-wing centre after meeting the ball six yards out.
Stortford responded five minutes before the break when striker Danny Harris worked a space for himself and angled a rising shot towards the City goal, but Evans produced a flying save to tip the ball over the bar.
But in first half stoppage time, City hit the woodwork again. Slocombe's left-wing cross was headed out to Steve Jones on the edge of the box and the veteran sent a ferocious volley against the Stortford bar under pressure from Liam Hopkins with keeper Eyre standing no chance whatsoever.
The home side were somewhat fortunate then to be just a goal behind at the break, but started the second period well and forced a couple of corners before Tom Champion headed Wixon's cross straight at Evans.
Harris was then inches away from connecting with Sam Taylor's deep free-kick from the right and Evans looked on gratefully as the ball drifted wide of his right post.
Champion was soon in action at the other end, flicking the ball behind for a corner with Douglas closing in after Holland headed Hogg's free-kick goalwards.
Stortford had just enjoyed their best spell of the game, but had the wind taken out of their sails when City got the second goal their first-half play deserved after Douglas won a corner on the right.
Hogg's low delivery seemed to deceive the home defence as Eyre and defender Paul Goodacre left it to each other, the latter succeeding only in prodding the ball to the lurking Edwards, who was presented with a gift from six yards out.
The striker's first goal of the season sparked a flurry from the visitors and he failed to beat Eyre with an attempted lob a minute later.
The increasingly overworked Stortford No 1 then beat away a vicious drive from Steve Jones after first Edwards and then Douglas failed to get shots in from the edge of the area. Douglas then made way for debutant Carey-Bertram, but made no secret of his displeasure as he left the field, heading straight to the dressing room while offering only a shake of his head to manager Relish.
Hogg unleashed a 25-yard effort in search of his second goal of the game but found Eyre was equal to it and City's new-found confidence going forward was epitomised by Gethin Jones, whose burst from the right-back position almost ended with a one-on-one chance after a neat exchange of passes on the edge of the box.
With City in total command and the points in the bag, Martin Paul was given a run-out in place of the hard-working Edwards and joined Carey-Bertram in a new-look strikeforce for the final 10 minutes.