FA Cup 1st Round
Saturday 7 November 2009 - Blundell Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Robinson, Jombati, Rollo (c), Jones, Holland, Connolly, Simpson, Badman, Edwards (Douglas 75), Mohamed (Perrott 66), Hogg.
subs not used: Perrin, Coupe, Pelecaci, Browning, Evans.
|man of the match:
||Holland (31), Edwards (52)
||P Quinn, H Greenwood, J Whiteley
|league position: n/a
||next match: Staines Town (A)
Report taken from
When Adie Britton confidently stated at the start of this season that this was Bath City's most talented squad for years, a few eyebrows may have been raised on the terraces.
Those doubts continued to grow as injuries took hold and City found themselves closer to the relegation zone than their intended target of the play-offs.
But ask any of the 216 City supporters fortunate enough to be at Blundell Park to see their heroic team completely outplay Football League opposition and they will tell you, Adie was right.
Okay, they were up against a poor side utterly devoid of confidence but Grimsby Town still play two divisions higher than City and, as Bishops Cleeve and AFC Totton showed earlier in this run, that is not an easy gap to bridge.
City made it look easy on Saturday. They were outstanding in all areas of the park and perhaps the only shock about this result was that the margin of victory was not more emphatic.
For this was no lucky win, where the underdogs hang on for dear life before snatching a goal on the break. This upset was as deserved as any you are likely to see.
Britton had sent his players into their biggest cup game for five years saying he believed they would win and that it was important they had that same belief in their abilities.
They clearly did. For not one second did the visitors look overawed and the only time they found themselves under any serious pressure was in the closing minutes when Grimsby's full-time training and extra fitness began to have some effect.
Up until then City had dominated proceedings and created by far the better chances, although the first opening of note went to Barry Conlon, who put a free header over the bar from Jammal Shahin's deep cross.
That was perhaps the only occasion that the Mariners striker got away from Chris Holland, who was at the heart of an outstanding defensive display from the back four.
They were ably supported by Ryan Robinson, who was again mightily impressive as he came off his line quickly and authoritatively to mop up any threat from Grimsby's long-ball approach.
The fact that the hosts had to resort to such tactics was mainly due to the midfield dominance of Adam Connolly and Mark Badman, who were at their destructive best as they refused to let the higher-league side get a grip on the game.
The dynamic duo were the driving force behind this famous victory, covering every inch of the field and snapping into tackles to break up play before pushing forward to support the strikers whenever possible.
If Connolly and Badman provided the crunch, then it was Lewis Hogg who supplied the creativity. Playing off the left of midfield but popping up on the right and in the centre, Hogg posed a constant threat to the Grimsby defence with his strong running and clever passing.
He also put in some tremendous set-piece deliveries, the pick of the bunch being the whipped free-kick which was headed home in trademark fashion by Holland to give City the lead.
The goal came during a sustained spell of pressure from the visitors, which included a glorious chance for Darren Edwards from Badman's incisive pass.
Keeper Nick Colgan raced off his line to block that effort but there was nothing he could do to prevent the striker doubling City's lead seven minutes into the second half.
Edwards is clearly enjoying this cup run, having already scored five times in the three previous matches, but this goal was the best yet, not only because it was a fine strike but because it summed up everything good about City's game.
Quick passing in the build-up saw the ball moved from right to left but just as the attack appeared to have broken down, Connolly regained possession with a tenacious tackle.
The ball broke to Edwards on the edge of the box and the striker, showing great confidence, hit it instantly before Colgan could set himself, which meant the keeper probably would have been beaten without the slight deflection the shot took.
It was also fitting that the goal should come in front of the vocal City supporters. Just as the players raised their game on the field, so did the fans off it and they fully deserved their round of applause from their generous Grimsby counterparts.
Kaid Mohamed and substitute Stuart Douglas had chances to extend the winning margin but two goals were enough to secure one of the greatest wins in Bath City's history.