Somerset Premier Cup 1st Round
Wednesday 6 October 2010 - Recreation Ground - kick off 7.30pm
||result: D2-2 aet
|(City lost 4-3 on penalties)
||Borhy, A Reid (Bicknell), Mitchell, Rosser (Moxham), Rieck, Hart, Baber, Mackie, D Edwards (c) (Blakeman), Collins, Lenihan.
subs not used: Elms.
|man of the match:
||Click here to vote
||Blakeman (84, 93)
||R Corp, A Jenkins, A Penwell
|league position: n/a
||next match: Eastbourne Bor (H)
Report taken from www.bathcityfc.com
The venue for Bath City’s opening Somerset Cup fixture was held at The Southfields, as Radstock hoped to use their home advantage to cause an upset. City were lacking some key players due to a combination of injuries and a hectic recent match schedule, which meant that some of their academy players were given a chance to impress. Despite the tough game the younger players faced monday night against Newport County, they all put in one hundred percent and should be proud of their performances.
The match turned out to be quite the epic battle as, in classic cup fashion, it went the full distance whereby penalties decided the fate of which team would progress to round two, allowing for individual players to be crowned heroes or zeros in a split second, depending on their ability to cope with the pressure. After an evenly matched first half, it was Radstock who took the lead on 53 minutes as Latham lashed the ball into the roof of City’s net from 8 yards out. Some good tactical changes later led to City substitute, Blakeman, starting a revival. Just six minutes before full time, he reacted quickly in the box to tuck away a badly dealt with corner that somehow dropped to his feet at point blank range. This goal gave The Romans some added enthusiasm which soon paid off after Blakeman again found the net when he was played in to face Radstock keeper one on one. This was only three minutes in to extra time and the feeling in the stands was that Bath would push on for a couple more. Surprisingly, this wasn’t to be the case as Radstock started the second half of extra time brighter than the away team and soon created an opportunity for captain, Bryant, to tuck away as he was presented with a deep cross from the right flank that simply required a tap in. It was Radstock who came out on top after some extremely cool penalties and an unfortunate miss at the end by City’s Bicknell – Radstock won 4-3 on penalties.
The first half was by no means a non-event as both teams could have easily scored a couple each, but to go into the second half on level terms was a fair reflection on the gameplay. From the off, it was apparent that Radstock had the physical edge over Bath – simply due to the difference in age and size of a lot of the players. This was especially visible in the form of Radstock strikers Latham and Plummer who really put themselves about and shook up the City back line.
Mid-way into the first half, Plummer had a couple of very good chances to convert some fantastic deliveries from Pawley and Hancock, respectively. Very similar in both instances, Plummer rose well to the crosses from the right wing, only 8 yards out but his textbook headers were both directed straight at City keeper, Borhy, who did well to keep hold of the ball on both occasions.
City’s defence performed well to keep The Miners at bay. Callum Hart looked fantastic at centre-half, really commanding the defence and always making the right decision. It took a great tackle from Hart to prevent Pawley getting his shot away as he was played in to the City box. He would have been clean through if it weren’t for a tremendously well-timed sliding challenge to put the ball out for a corner.
Whilst Radstock bossed the midfield with pure strength, they couldn’t quite handle the speed and trickiness that was possessed in abundance by some of City’s younger players. In particular, Posser and Collins really frustrated Radstock players with their nimble skill, creating some great passing movement but the final ball never seemed to quite reach Darren Edwards as accurately as he would have liked. Regular first team player, Mackie, lived up to his reputation and so nearly scored a stunning individual effort. Perhaps Bath’s finest opportunity in the first half, Hector received the ball to feet on the left wing from a Borhy throw and charged his way through four Radstock players, due to some neat foot work. He eventually set himself up for a shot inside the home team’s box around 12 yards out, but it seemed he may have realised just how special this goal was going to be, as he fluffed his lines and skewed the shot wide with his standing foot.
The second half started with a bang – a Collins right wing cross, just two minutes in, was delivered to Edwards sprinting in to the box. The ball was a few inches behind the striker so he had to attempt a difficult technique from eight yards to try and get the shot on target; a great effort, he just couldn’t quite manage to keep the shot down as it flew over the bar by about a foot. This promising start to the half for The Romans was sharply and abruptly ended, however.
Radstock’s Tom Hamilton wreaked havoc down the right flank, using his pace to get himself in to great crossing positions time after time, which eventually paid off. A low Hamilton cross didn’t leave Latham with a lot to do, as he received the ball just outside the six yard box. On 53 minutes Latham confidently finished this move by blasting the ball over Borhy’s head, leaving the number one with absolutely no chance.
Subsequent to this, City struggled to creat any convincing chances as the final ball was often not up to standard. Posser played fellow academy team mate Collins in behind The Miners’ back line on one occasion, but Collins wanted to much time on the ball and was eventually tackled by solid Metcalfe who put the ball out for a
corner that was eventually cleared.
Just as City fans around Southfields bagan biting their nails, Lenihan took a left-side, in-swinging corner that had plenty of curl on it that caused some real problems for Radstock number one, Stevens, who struggled to distinguish between his defender’s head and the ball, punching both – just to make sure – leading to another City corner. Lenihan then played a virtually identical ball in to the box on 87 minutes, causing a similar situation to before, as both confusion and indecision by Radstock players allowed the ball to drop in the box for Blakeman to smash in. The substitute had only been on thirteen minutes after he replaced the tiresome legs of Edwards and made a very direct impact on the game as he levelled the scoring to take the game to extra time.
Bath City looked to be the favourites after 90 minutes was up, even more so after their impressive start to extra time. Caught sleeping, the Radstock defence allowed Baber to pick out a run from goal scorer, Blakeman, who latched on to the pass and had only the keeper to beat. On target, his initial shot from 16 yards was fired straight at Stevens, who literally couldn’t handle the speed of the shot, thus parrying the ball back to the super-sub’s feet for him to slot the ball away past a consequently out of position Stevens.
Radstock players, understandably, did not appreciate this and focussed on using their physical advantage to upset the City team, leading to a few crunching tackles and a yellow card for Bryant. This tactic seemed to work – taking nothing away from the quality of Radstock’s second goal – as the second half of extra time featured a City team that lacked the composure and confidence they displayed earlier in the match. Some sustained Radstock pressure led to a pinpoint right flank cross from goalscorer, Pawley, to play Bryant in at the far post after he hade made a fantastic attacking run from left-back position. The captain finished the move tidily and levelled the game at 2-2, after 107 minutes played. Though the game was still very much still alive, at this point neither side fancied conceding a late knock-out goal so some defensive play from both sides saw out the 120 minutes of football to progress to penalties.
Bath City were the first to take a spot-kick, led by Hector Mackie. The first five penalties were of a siblime standard, as each player blasted the ball to the left of the goal, leaving the keepers with no chance whatsoever (Mackie, Metcalfe, Rieck, Cowler, Lenihan, – respectively). Cocky Pawley then stepped up to level the penalty scoring at 3-3 by slyly chipping the ball down the centre of the goal as Borhy dived to the striker’s left. Blakeman, who had affected the game so positively, unfortunately failed to convert his penalty – he should have followed the trend and shotleft – as Stevens guessed the right way and pushed the ball clear. Radstock took the lead following another unstoppable penalty, this time from Flowers, who went left – things looked bleak for The Romans. It was Ben Bicknell who took City’s final penalty, knowing that if he missed the game was over. This pressure clearly got to him as he blazed the ball over the bar leading to wild Radstock celebrations.
Though Bath lost, many positives came out of this evenly contested match. City’s youngsters will take a lot from this experience and hopefully build on it, as they demonstrated real character to come back and play good football for that length of time. Perhaps if City’s team had a few more first team players involved they may have won this game, but the opportunity to let some lesser experienced players have a chance to shine is vital to ensure the future of the club’s success.