Blue Square South
Saturday 20 September 2008 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Evans, Simpson, Rollo (c), Coupe, Cochlin, Connolly, S Jones (Gosling 70), Badman, Edwards (Carey-Bertram 75), Gilory, Slocombe (Douglas 81).
subs not used: Paul, Caldwell.
|man of the match:
||C Miller (Kettering), B Durie (Tewkesbury), D McEllin (Somewhere)
|league position: 15th
||next match: Clevedon (FAC) (H)
Report taken from
Danny Carey-Bertram’s last-minute leveller rescued a point for Bath City against high-flying Eastleigh at Twerton Park. The substitute’s first goal for the
club came when he converted Dave Gilroy’s low cross from close range. It staved off a third home defeat of the season and cancelled out Jamie Brown’s
22nd-minute header, which looked set to earn the away side all three points until three substitutions turned the tide in City’s favour. Carey-Bertram,
Jamie Gosling and Stuart Douglas – making their respective returns from injury – entered the fray in the final 20 minutes and gave City an attacking
impetus they had lacked for the majority of the afternoon. Douglas, in particular, looked lively against one of his former clubs after two weeks on the
sidelines with a hamstring problem and there are signs that manager John Relish’s early-season injury woes at last appear to be abating.
Lewis Hogg's suspension and Chris Holland's knee injury saw the pair drop out of the City starting line-up beaten 3-1 at Hampton & Richmond a week earlier.
A reorganisation of the back-line saw City revert back to a four-man defence, with Paul Cochlin partnering Matt Coupe in the centre, Jim Rollo moving back to the left and Sekani Simpson recalled on the right.
Steve Jones was deployed on the right side of midfield after three games on the bench, with Martin Slocombe pushed into a more advanced role on the opposite flank and Adam Connolly and Mark Badman retaining their places in the middle.
Gilroy, who scored a hat-trick the last time the sides met - a thrilling 4-4 draw in January, partnered Darren Edwards up front and Relish was able to include all five of his strikers in the matchday squad for the first time, with Martin Paul joining Douglas and Carey-Bertram on the bench.
Midfielder Scott Rogers was ruled out with a tight hamstring.
Gilroy, starting only his second game since undergoing knee surgery, was presented with a great opportunity to open the scoring from the game's first corner in the third minute.
Slocombe's left-wing delivery was met at the far post by Cochlin, but Gilroy could only divert a weak header into Jason Matthews' arms from inside the six-yard box.
The visitors quickly won a brace of corners at the other end, the first coming after Paul Evans palmed behind Brown’s back-header at his near post.
Physical frontman Brown then escaped any punishment at all after appearing to catch Coupe with a late challenge, but it was City who enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges.
New signing Connolly ran into trouble after a threatening burst to the edge of the box, before Gilroy was closed out by a combination of Matthews and Luke Byles after being found by Badman's precise pass.
But the hosts were behind midway through the half when Tony Taggart sent over a cross from the right and Brown got in between Jones and Simpson at the far post to direct a header towards the top corner. The striker's effort lacked much power, but left Evans rooted to the spot as it looped into the net almost in slow motion.
The goal gave the high-flying away side a shot in the arm and they started to dominate, with ex-Lewes man Matt Groves heading wide after another piece of trickery from Taggart on the right.
Gilroy looked City's best attacking outlet and latched on to Simpson's ball over the top just before the half-hour mark, but his cross towards Edwards was deflected into Matthews' clutches by Andy Harris.
Eastleigh, however, were in the ascendancy and Matt Bodkin had a fierce shot blocked by Cochlin after a spell of pressure that included two corners, the first coming after a mix-up between the former Newport County man and Simpson inside the box.
Groves then muscled clear of the defence on the edge of the box before seeing a shot parried by Evans and the dangerous Taggart created an even better chance for himself a minute before the break, cutting inside from the right and playing a one-two with Brown before shooting wide with only the City keeper to beat.
The half-time whistle could not come soon enough for the hosts, but they were forced back at the start of the second period too.
Taggart powered a header over the top from Trevor Challis' left-wing centre and the visitors took their corner tally to nine thanks to clearing headers from Cochlin, Coupe and Connolly.
The third of those was punched away by Evans and saw Gilroy skip clear of Harris inside his own half before racing down the left. He found strike partner Edwards in the box, but Anthony Riviere recovered his ground and deflected the frontman's shot into the side-netting with an outstretched leg.
The resulting corner from Slocombe yielded another chance as Matthews spilled the ball to Gilroy, but last season's leading marksman could not find the target with his header, putting it just past the angle of post and bar.
Goalmouth action was scarce as Eastleigh went into their shells and the City management sent on Gosling for the out-of-position Jones in the 70th minute in a bid to add an attacking thrust to their midfield. Goalscorer Brown left the field at the same time as the visitors introduced James Baker.
Four minutes later, after Eastleigh's Peter Adeniyi became the first player cautioned after a foul on Slocombe, Carey-Bertram replaced the tiring Edwards alongside Gilroy.
And Douglas joined the pair in a three-pronged strikeforce for the final nine minutes, replacing Slocombe as Relish used his last – and most telling - throw of the dice.
The move almost paid instant dividends as Douglas won possession, allowing Connolly to drive forward before laying the ball off to Carey-Bertram on the left. His driven cross found Gosling, who badly miscued his finish from 12 yards and sent the ball spinning over the bar.
With plenty of players committed forward, City started to look a consistent threat for the first time in more than an hour.
Douglas then harassed Byles into a rushed clearance and Cochlin's side-footed effort from the edge of the area drifted just past Matthews' right post.
And they salvaged a point when the ball fell to Gilroy inside the area after a cross from the left and he worked a space to drive a cross into the goalmouth, where Carey-Bertram was on hand to apply the final touch.
The equaliser came on 90 minutes, but six more of injury time followed, although neither side came close to a winner.
In fact, there was more action on the sidelines than the pitch, with Eastleigh manager Iain Baird sent off by referee Chris Miller for some choice words to the match officials.