Blue Square Conference South
Tuesday 7 April 2009 - Twerton Park - kick off 7.45pm
||P Evans, G Jones, Rollo (c), Coupe, Holland, Badman, Simpson (Gibb 85), Rogers (Connolly 82), Edwards (Douglas 80), Gilroy,
Hogg. subs not used: Klein-Davies, S Jones.
|man of the match:
||Hogg (31), G Jones (42)
||L Swabey (Plymouth)
|league position: 7th
||next match: Team Bath (H)
Report taken from
Bath City tossed away a two-goal lead for the second Tuesday night running as their hopes of finishing in the top five of Blue Square South all but bit the dust.
Adie Britton’s men appeared to be cruising for victory at the break thanks to goals from Lewis Hogg and Gethin Jones but three defensive lapses in the second half saw them suffer an unlikely defeat at the hands of an ordinary Bishop's Stortford side.
James Lindie cashed in twice to bring the visitors level and Danny Green’s solo strike ended City’s six-match unbeaten run.
The defeat – which came in front of just 310 fans – leaves City 11 points shy of fifth-placed Chelmsford City with just four games to play.
Their only hope of a play-off place now lies in the hands of the Conference management, who will make their verdict on the facilities of all member clubs at a ground grading meeting on Thursday. Should any of the leading sides fail to meet the league’s requirements for promotion, then a top-seven finish might be enough to extend the season.
City boss Adie Britton named an unchanged starting line-up following Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Braintree Town, with Stuart Douglas and Adam Connolly returning to the bench after injury at the expense of Martin Slocombe and Ashley Caldwell.
Hogg’s block tackle on Matt Jones created the hosts’ first opening on 10 minutes. Mark Badman picked up the loose ball and advanced to the edge of the area but first he and then Hogg failed to get shots away as the visiting defence crowded them out.
A barren spell that yielded one fruitless Stortford corner followed but the home crowd were awoken from their slumber just before the half hour when Gethin Jones’ dangerous inswinging cross from the right was missed by Darren Edwards, who attempted a diving header at the far post.
City took the lead on 31 minutes thanks to their first shot of the evening. Sekani Simpson burst down the right flank and fired in a low cross that visiting captain Paul Goodacre could only clear as far as Hogg, who created space for himself before smashing a venomous shot into the roof of Nicky Eyre’s net from 15 yards out.
It could have been 2-0 five minutes later when Hogg’s right-wing corner – City’s first of the night – was nodded down to Edwards by Chris Holland but the striker sent his close-range volley high over the bar.
City had a let off when Mark Wright’s shot was blocked by his own team-mate, Danny Harris, with the ball looking destined for the corner of Paul Evans’ net.
From the resulting attack, City won a free-kick on the right and Hogg’s delivery was met by Holland, whose header was tipped onto the post by the Eyre at full stretch. The prostrate Stortford keeper then recovered to push the ball away from the lurking Gilroy, who looked set to pounce a yard out.
But the respite was brief for the visitors as City doubled their lead three minutes before the break following another Hogg set-piece. The midfielder’s corner from the right fell to Scott Rogers on the edge of the box and his scuffed shot fell kindly for Gethin Jones, who turned well before shooting into the top corner despite Eyre managing to get a hand to his effort.
City looked in total command as the half ended but made a sloppy start to the second half and saw their lead halved within six minutes of the restart. Wright warmed Evans’ palms with a free-kick from distance before Holland misjudged his header back to the keeper and Lindie took full advantage with a confident finish.
The game became open and Harris saw a cross go into the side-netting for the visitors after another mistake by Holland.
City had a couple of efforts from outside the area in quick succession as they looked to reinforce their hold on proceedings, Rogers’ shot being held by Eyre before Edwards fired wide of the target.
But City saw their advantage disappear midway through the half when Holland and Coupe left Green’s long throw from the right to one another, substitute Roy Essandoh helped the ball on and Lindie stole in to nod it over the advancing Evans and into the net.
The visitors were in the ascendancy all of a sudden and Evans survived a penalty appeal when he clattered into the back of Harris from another Green throw. The resulting corner was met by Grant Cooper at the far post but Hogg got in the way to deflect his fierce shot behind.
City countered and Dave Gilroy was inches away from adding to his tally for the season, sending a first-time shot just wide of the near post from Edwards’ low right-wing centre.
Jim Rollo’s deep cross from the left then caused concern for the Stortford defence and the ball skidded off Marlon Paterson’s head and just past the far post for a corner that came to nothing.
But Stortford’s comeback was complete with 15 minutes to go as Green turned from provider to goalscorer. The visitors’ best player had plenty of work to do when he collected a loose ball with a wall of black and white shirts in front of him, but he waltzed past them all with ease before flicking the ball past Evans and into the corner of the net.
Lindle was then denied a hat-trick by Evans after Rory Hill broke quickly from midfield, the keeper doing enough to turn the forward’s shot behind, before Essandoh rattled the bar with a looping header from Gree’s left-wing free-kick.
Britton introduced Douglas, Connolly and Ali Gibb for Edwards, Rogers and Simpson as time ticked away and saw his side press for an equaliser in the final moments.
Gilroy squandered their two best chances, though, firing over with Gibb free to his right before crossing tamely into Eyre’s arms after breaking free on the byline.