Blue Square Conference South
Saturday 25 April 2009 - Ship Lane - kick off 3.00pm
||P Evans (c), G Jones, Rollo (Slocombe 83), Coupe, Holland, S Jones (Rogers 64), Simpson, Badman, Hogg, Gilroy, Connolly.
subs not used: Caldwell, Marsh-Brown, Gibb.
|man of the match:
||P Evans (89)
||W Linden, C Hicks, P Burton
|league position: 8th
||next match: next season
Report taken from
Bath City's hopes of finishing higher than last season were dashed as they lost to third-from-bottom Thurrock.
Adie Britton's men went into the last game of the season knowing their outside hopes of finishing in the play-offs had been ended by Hampton & Richmond Borough's favourable ground grading.
But with both Maidenhead United and Welling United suffering home defeats, victory would have been enough to give City a sixth-placed finish.
However, it was not to be as second-half goals from Che Stadhart and Tehokounte Malik condemned them to defeat and meant they had to settle for eighth place, a repeat of last season's final placing.
And the season ended on a sorry note as keeper Paul Evans - making his last appearance for the club before emigrating to Australia - was harshly sent off in the closing couple of minutes.
City had to go into the match with just Dave Gilroy up front after Stuart Douglas's car broke down en route to Ship Lane, leaving him stranded on the motorway. Darren Edwards travelled with the squad but his knee injury prevented him from taking a place on the bench.
Keeper Evans was giving a rousing reception by the travelling fans but almost blighted his final appearance in the first couple of minutes, flapping at a deep free-kick and then pushing the ball straight to Thurrock striker Malik before his defence eventually cleared the danger.
But City also made some good openings during an eventful start to the game, with Lee Flynn being forced to clear off the line as Gethin Jones tried to force the ball home from a corner.
Matt Coupe headed narrowly wide from another flag-kick and Lewis Hogg almost caught keeper Joe Woolley off guard with a clever looping header from the edge of the box.
The game was being played at a decent pace, although the atrocious playing surface - mostly sand - meant the quality on show did not match the effort.
Indeed, after the initial flurry of chances, it took until midway through the first half for the next couple of openings to arrive, both from free-kicks on the edge of the box.
At one end, Gilroy couldn't quite divert the ball on target after Hogg's set piece had been headed on by Chris Holland.
Then, moments later at the other end, Thurrock skipper Flynn decided to drill his free-kick at goal and drew a good save from Evans, who tipped the rising drive over the bar.
The home side's best chance of a goal looked like coming from a set piece and towering defender Rob Swaine twice forced Evans into blocks from back-to-back corners, with Holland also doing his bit to clear the first header from inside the six-yard box.
Thurrock had to make a change to their forward line in the 42nd minute, with the injured David Bryant being replaced by Stadhart.
But it was City who thought they had taken the lead just before half-time when Sekani Simpson flicked on for Hogg, who confidently slotted past Woolley but had already been flagged offside.
The second half was only 60 seconds old before play was brought to a halt again, Holland needing lengthy treatment on an ankle injury which left him moving gingerly as he returned to the pitch.
And that may have played a factor in the opening goal as he was outpaced by Stadhart when a long ball was pumped forward. However, there still appeared to be little danger as the ball bounced through to Evans but the City keeper let it drop through his hands and Stadhart was on hand to nod it into the net from a couple of yards out.
It was a bizarre way to break the deadlock and seemed to surprise both sets of players, particularly City's who lost their way a bit.
Malik almost doubled the lead when he muscled Steve Jones off the ball before firing narrowly wide from 18 yards.
However, the giant striker was on target from much closer range in the 61st minute, firing home at the near post after Harlee Dean had been allowed to come in off the right wing and get past two defenders to the byline before cutting the ball back.
City boss Adie Britton made his first change of the afternoon soon after, taking off Steve Jones and sending on Scott Rogers for his last game for the club before a summer move to Newport County.
The change failed to spark a City revival but it did not bother the vocal travelling fans, some of whom embarked on a conga around the ground to provide some entertainment as the match fizzled out.
There was only one more moment of note in the closing half-hour and sadly it involved Evans seeing red in the 89th minute after being adjudged to have brought down an offside-looking Malik when he was through on goal.
If there was any contact it was minimal but referee Wes Linden had no hesitation in showing the card - not a fitting way to end an excellent City career for the giant South African.