Blue Square Conference South
Saturday 6 September 2008 - Westleigh Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Evans, G Jones (Cochlin 76), Slocombe, Coupe, Holland, Rollo (c), Hogg, Rogers, Paul (S Jones 30), Douglas (Edwards 9), Badman. subs not used: ?
|man of the match:
||Rogers (27), Hogg (46), Badman (72)
||L Venamore (Maidstone), A Roberts, D Sotomorin
|league position: 13th
||next match: Team Bath (SS) (A)
Report taken from
Bath City produced a tremendous defensive effort to maintain their unbeaten away record at pre-season Blue Square South title favourites Havant & Waterlooville.
The big-spending Hawks, FA Cup heroes last season, had won three on the trot going into their fixture with City, who emerged with a highly-creditable result despite their already stretched squad suffering a triple blow during the contest.
Strikers Stuart Douglas and Martin Paul suffered hamstring and groin injuries respectively in the first half and had to be substituted and Lewis Hogg's disciplinary problems continued as he was sent off with 18 minutes to go.
But Havant, despite enjoying plenty of posession, were restricted to a handful of clear-cut chances by a City back-line led superbly by Matt Coupe. When they did break through, they found returning keeper Paul Evans in imperious form.
And the match finished with both sides down to 10 men after Havant defender Jamie Collins also saw red in the closing stages after clashing with City substitute Darren Edwards.
Boss John Relish opted to leave the match-day duties to assistant Adie Britton and coach Lee Howells, watching the game from the stand and spending pre-match and half-time among the crowd rather than in the dressing room.
There were three changes to the City side beaten 1-0 at home by Hayes & Yeading in midweek.
Martin Slocombe was handed his first start for the club on the left of a five-man midfield, with Mark Badman back in the XI for the first time since the opening day. Steve Jones made way for the former Chippenham man and captain Jim Rollo took the No 6 shirt, forming a central defensive trio alongside Coupe and Chris Holland, while Sekani Simpson was sidelined by a hamstring problem.
Evans returned to the City goal after a three-match absence in which Steve Perrin starred.
Havant's Brett Poate, who scored in last season's 1-1 draw at Twerton Park, threatened in the second minute with a low, left-footed effort that whistled past Evans' left post.
Britton and Howells were forced to make an early change when Douglas pulled up with a hamstring strain and Edwards, only just back in the squad after two weeks out with an ankle injury, took his place.
The hosts made most of the early running on a sodden surface and Poate produced three dangerous inswinging corners from the right that City, and Evans in particular, did well to clear.
City, playing into a stiff wind, threatened for the first time when Gethin Jones arrowed over a cross from the left and home keeper Kevin Scriven punched it clear with Edwards waiting to connect.
But the visitors were handed yet another setback just before the half hour when Paul went down in pain and had to be replaced. Steve Jones stepped off the bench and joined the midfield, with Hogg joining Edwards in attack.
Hogg had just had City's first effort on target with a 30-yard free-kick straight at Scriven, but their forays into the Havant half were brief.
Scott Rogers collected the game's first booking for handball before Collins had a curling effort towards the top corner plucked out of the air by Evans.
Ex-Lewes centre-back Ian Simpemba then saw a shot deflected over the top and the dangerous Poate rifled a 20-yards strike into Evans' midriff before the City keeper did well to claim Matt Gray's deep free-kick into the box.
The hosts adopted a shoot-on-sight policy throughout, but nearly paid the price for not capitalising on their spell in the ascendancy four minutes before the break.
Badman's low centre from the right evaded the Havant back line and fell to Edwards, but the substitute seemed to be caught by surprise. He could not get enough power on his shot and Scriven got down to his right to make the save on his line.
Rogers, meanwhile, was wearing referee Lee Venamore's patience thin and, after a near miss on Gary Holloway, caught Craig Watkins on the halfway line with a late tackle and earned a lengthy lecture from the Maidstone official.
The resulting free-kick from Poate was brought down by Luke Nightingale in the area and he centred for Gray to crash a volley over the top.
Hogg took just 42 seconds of the second half to follow Rogers into Mr Venamore's book, picking up a needless caution for dissent that was to prove very costly 27 minutes later.
City began the period promisingly, though, and Scriven fielded efforts from Edwards and Holland without being seriously tested by either.
But Havant still looked dangerous whenever they pressed, despite the efforts of the excellent Coupe at the heart of the City defence. Simpemba laid the ball off for Collins to drill a shot inches wide with Evans rooted to the spot before Rollo sliced Gray's cross from the right over his own crossbar.
The hosts forced their eighth corner of the afternoon in the 64th minute when Evans tipped over Jay Conroy's steepling ball into the box, but City broke quickly as Slocombe released Hogg on the left. Hogg beat Scriven to the ball, but, as he shaped to cross to the unmarked Edwards with the keeper still well outside his box, Collins nicked the ball off his toes and won a throw-in.
Havant then went close twice in the space of three minutes, first when Holland whipped the ball off Nightingale's toes as he prepared to finish off Watkins cross and then when Evans produced a superb save low down to keep out the unmarked Watkins' header from an inviting Gray centre.
With 18 minutes to go, City's task became tougher when Hogg was dismissed against Havant for the second time in six months. The makeshift striker clattered into Scriven as he chased a hopeless cause into the box and Mr Venamore waited for him to receive treatment from physio Dave Lukins before brandishing a second yellow card.
The furious City man had to be separated from the referee and led from the field by Lukins and made a rude gesture towards the home fans in the main stand as he exited for the dressing room.
Evans kept out Gray's fierce shot at his near post with his feet before the match was reduced to a 10-a-side contest with seven minutes to go.
Badman's foul on Collins earned the midfielder a yellow card and sparked a melee in which the Havant player clashed with Edwards. The overworked Mr Venamore consulted his assistants before producing his red card for the second time in 10 minutes, this time in Collins' direction for an alleged head-butt on the City forward even though there seemed to be minimal contact between the pair.
Edwards suddenly became public enemy number one with the home contingent but had a great chance to make himself even more unpopular in this particular part of Hampshire with three minutes left.
Evans' long ball saw the substitute break clear of the Havant defence, but he looked a tired figure as he failed to lift his effort over the advancing Scriven, who managed to palm it behind.
Gray's piledriver at the other end, like most of his many efforts, failed to hit the target and City kept the visitors out in almost five minutes of stoppage time to make it two wins and two draws on the road so far this term.