Blue Square Conference South
Wednesday 18 March 2009 - Spytty Park - kick off 7.45pm
||P Evans, Rollo (c), Slocombe (Gibb 60), Coupe, Holland, Connolly, Hogg, Rogers, Edwards, Douglas (Klein-Davies 72), Badman
(Simpson 34). subs not used: R Evans, Gilroy.
|man of the match:
||Douglas (14,18,62), Edwards (56)
||Rollo (17), Douglas (59)
||R Ganfield (Weston SM), A Fricker (Peasdown), S Oakey (Cheltenham)
|league position: 8th
||next match: Basingstoke (H)
Report taken from
Stuart Douglas was the hat-trick hero as Bath City won on the road for the first time since New Year's Day - and in real style.
The in-form striker took full advantage of some woeful Newport defending to take his tally to five goals in two games.
Darren Edwards also got on the scoresheet as City recorded their third win at Newport Stadium in a year.
City boss Adie Britton went into the game with the same 11 which had started in Saturday's win against Havant & Waterlooville, while The Exiles had a couple of familiar faces up front - albeit in unfamiliar postions.
Paul Cochlin - a centre half who spent three months with City at the start of the season but failed to settle - was called into action as an emergency striker, having scored in that role in his two previous games.
He was joined in attack by midfielder Sam Foley, who enjoyed a productive loan spell at Twerton Park at the tail end of the last campaign.
But the central figure in the opening exchanges was referee Ron Ganfield, who awarded City a soft-looking penalty after 14 minutes.
A glorious chance looked to have gone begging when Douglas - put clear by Darren Edwards' flick from Paul Evans' long kick - failed to control the bouncing ball, allowing Kevin Stephens to get back and clear.
However, Douglas went down under the defender's challenge and the referee immediately blew and pointed to the spot.
Douglas saw his spot-kick saved by Glyn Thompson but followed up to prod home the loose ball and give City the lead.
The home fans were enraged but City did not care - considering the contentious penalties given against them in recent weeks, it seems that luck is finally starting to even itself out.
There was a bit more good fortune in the 17th minute when the visitors failed to clear their lines and allowed the ball to drop to Danny Rose, whose arrowed drive flew just milimetres past the far post.
But there was nothing fortunate about City's second goal a minute later, Douglas again using his pace to get behind the static Exiles defence before coolly slotting the ball past the advancing keeper.
It was the striker's fourth goal in two games and he almost completed his hat-trick in the 25th minute after winning - a tad theatrically - a free-kick on the right. However, the subsequent delivery did not quite drop for him in the six-yard box and the ball was scrambled clear.
The Exiles were looking hesitant in defence, unlike City who produced some important headers and blocks to deny the home side a route back into the game.
City were forced to make a change after 34 minutes when Mark Badman hobbled off to be replaced by Sekani Simpson.
But that did not knock the visitors out of their stride and Douglas again went close a couple of minutes later when he chested down Edwards' long throw before hitting a shot on the turn just over the near post.
There was a scare at the other end when, in similar circumstances, Cochlin collected a throw and was allowed to shoot from outside the box but it went narrowly wide with Evans well beaten.
Kevin Cooper also saw a low cross fizz across the six-yard box in injury time but City were full value for their interval lead.
City's dominance continued into the second period, with the Exiles defence - sorely lacking Cochlin's influence - having a torrid time.
They looked particularly vulnerable in the air and City prayed on that to grab a deserved third goal in the 56th minute. A deep free-kick was won by Chris Holland and, as his header dropped, he reacted quickest to volley goalwards. Thompson somehow parried the effort with a stunning reflex save but Edwards was on hand to tap home at the far post.
And it got even better for the visitors six minutes later when Douglas completed his hat-trick. The direct approach paid off again, with Evans' long kick being flicked on by Edwards. Douglas was second favourite for the ball but as Aaron Cook dallied, the striker pounced and fired into the far corner.
Douglas went close to adding to his tally before being replaced in the 72nd minute to a standing ovation from the travelling fans and generous applause from some of the home fans, mixed with boos from those who felt he had gone to ground too easily for the penalty.
To complete a thoroughly satisfying evening for City, boss Britton was able to give subsitutes Ali Gibb and Josh Klein-Davies good run-outs as the visitors cruised through the closing stages.
Indeed, Klein-Davies almost put the icing on the cake in injury-time when he raced clear of the shambolic Exiles defence but put his shot into the side-netting.