Blue Square South Play-Off Semi-Final 1st Leg
Tuesday 27 April 2010 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
|| Robinson, Jombati, Rollo (c), Coupe, Jones, Connolly (Mackie 76), Simpson, Badman, Edwards (Evans 89), Mohamed, Hogg.
subs not used: Douglas, Bartlett, Perrin.
|man of the match:
||Mohamed (pen 60), Mackie (87)
||Coupe (57), Hogg (73)
||I J Crouch, D Ricketts, C Mann
|league position: n/a
||next match: Chelmsford City (A)
Report taken from
Bath City have given themselves a magnificent chance of reaching the play-off final after beating Chelmsford City 2-0 at Twerton Park tonight.
It was a result which had looked highly unlikely at half-time after an opening period where they were put under the cosh by a strong visiting side.
However, Ryan Robinson made three excellent saves and Adam Connolly produced an outstanding goalline clearance to keep Chelmsford at bay.
And the game turned in City's favour when they were awarded a controversial penalty on the hour mark which Kaid Mohamed coolly converted.
Mark Badman and Ricky Modeste were both sent off following an altercation before sub Hector Mackie sent the City fans into dreamland when he doubled the lead with just three minutes to go.
It means City have a two-goal lead to defend when they head to Melbourne Park on Saturday (3pm) for the second leg of this play-off semi-final.
Adie Britton made just one change to the team which started against St Albans City on Saturday, Lewis Hogg returning from suspension to replace Scott Bartlett.
However, he was unable to call on the experience of Chris Holland after the defender failed to recover from a knee infection.
Chelmsford did have an injury boost, though, as captain Dave Rainford was passed fit to take his place in the visitors' starting XI.
And it took him less than a minute to show what threat he can pose from midfield as he fired in a low shot which went just wide.
Mohamed had City's first shot in the fourth minute after creating some space on the edge of the box before hitting the ball into the side netting.
However, it was the visitors who made the stronger start and they forced a couple of early corners which posed a problem to keeper Robinson, who was clearly still struggling with a groin injury which has hampered his mobility and kicking in the past two games.
That did not stop him making a fine save in the 12th minute to deny Ricky Holmes, who had seized on a sliced clearance by Jim Rollo. Had the mistake proved costly, it would have been a cruel way to mark the skipper's 400th appearance in City colours.
Visiting keeper Ashley Harrison had to make his first save of note in the 16th minute to touch Mohamed's low shot around the post after the striker had cut inside past Steve Ward.
City boss Britton made a tactical change in an attempt to make the contest more even, switching from a 3-5-2 formation to 4-1-3-2 with Rollo moving a few yards forward to sit in front of the back four.
But it was Chelmsford who remained the dominant team and Robinson had to make another fine save with his feet after the ball had fallen kindly for Oliver Berquez ten yards out.
The home side found themselves under sustained pressure, not helped by giving possession away cheaply on a few occasions, and when they did get the ball forward Darren Edwards was too often in an offside position.
Fortunately City were looking fairly solid in defence and Matt Coupe made a good block to deflect another Berquez shot over the bar as Chelmsford pushed for the opening goal.
The visitors picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and Robinson was called into action again in the 50th minute to thwart Warren McBean, who was allowed to run in on goal following a slip by Rollo.
And they went even closer in the 54th minute when Ben Martin met Ricky Holmes' corner with a powerful header which seemed destined for the back of the net until it was acrobatically volleyed off the line by Adam Connolly.
However, it was City who took the lead on the hour mark - with a helping hand from the assistant referee.
Sekani Simpson found himself quickly closed down by three Chelmsford players on the halfway line so he hoofed the ball down the channel where Edwards managed to just get to it before Steve Ward. The striker and defender bumped into each other but both stayed on their feet, so there was widespread surprise when the linesman signalled for a foul.
However, that soon turned to joy when the home fans realised he had flagged for a foul on Edwards and referee Ian Crouch pointed to the spot.
Ward was booked for his protests before Mohamed stepped up to calmly put his penalty kick to Harrison's left as the keeper dived to the right.
The goal seemed to knock Chelmsford out of their stride but it needed a crucial interception from Sido Jombati to prevent McBean heading home from Holmes' inviting cross in the 70th minute.
That prompted a fresh spell of pressure from the visitors and they were screaming for a penalty when Matt Lock's long-range strike took a deflection off a City defender on its way though for a corner.
The first substitution of the night came in the 76th minute when Britton sent on Mackie for the out-of-sorts Connolly.
However, both teams were reduced to ten men in the 80th minute. Red cards are a regular feature in matches between these two sides, with City having a player sent off in each of the last four games against Chelmsford.
And it was Badman's turn to see red when his challenge on Modeste sparked a furious reaction from the visiting player, who headbutted the City midfielder. He was instantly sent off by Mr Crouch but the red card was also flourished in the direction of Badman, who could perhaps count himself unlucky as the original tackle seemed worthy of a yellow card at the very most.
There was another altercation in the 83rd minute when Holmes burst into the box and went down under a challenge from Jombati. Home keeper Robinson was incensed and confronted the Chelmsford winger, saying he had dived. Mr Crouch agreed and booked Holmes for simulation.
The visitors were not happy and their mood got worse in the 87th minute when City doubled their lead. Edwards fed Mohamed in the corner and he turned a defender before rolling the ball back to Mackie, whose well-struck shot from the edge of the box found the bottom corner of the net.
There was five minutes of added time for City to see out but they did so comfortably and the final whistle was greeted with delight by the home fans in the 1,425-strong crowd.