Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 30 October 2010 - Kenilworth Road - kick off 3.00pm
||Robinson, J Edwards, Jombati, Rollo (c), Jones (Burnell 45), Webb, Connolly, Canham, Watkins (Phillips 42), Russell, Mohamed (Murray 82). subs not used: Harris, D Edwards.
|man of the match:
||S Bratt, M Wilkes, J Clark
|league position: 21st
||next match: Altrincham (H)
Report taken from
A spirited second-half display gave Bath City something positive to take from what could have been an embarrassing afternoon at Kenilworth Road.
Trailing 3-0 at the break and once again uncertain in defence, City looked like they might be on the end of a real hammering.
However, the half-time introduction of Joe Burnell galvanised the visitors and they were much the better team in the second period, culminating in a well-worked consolation goal from sub Lee Phillips.
Adie Britton had started with a defensive line-up as City sought to be party-poopers at the Hatters' 125th-anniversary celebrations.
Kaid Mohamed had recovered sufficiently from an ankle injury to take his place as City's only recognised striker in a 5-4-1 formation.
Marley Watkins and Danny Webb also returned to the starting line-up, with Darren Edwards, Scott Murray and Adie Harris all dropping to the bench after Tuesday's shock home cup defeat to Swindon Supermarine.
Hector Mackie, a goalscorer in midweek, was not included in the City 16.
There was a party atmosphere in the ground prior to kick-off and there was nearly more for the home fans to celebrate in the opening 20 seconds.
City, who were so poor defensively in midweek, again started nervously at the back and a sliced clearance by captain Jim Rollo led to the ball dropping to Danny Crow at the back post. His shot was parried by Robinson, who then got up quickly to hold Taiwo Atieno's header from the follow-up.
There was another scare in the fifth minute when Atieno fizzed a low ball across the six-yard box which was Crow couldn't quite reach.
And Luton were gifted another glorious opportunity in the 11th minute when Gethin Jones' back header fell short. Robinson couldn't decide whether to come for the ball or stay on his line, allowing Atieno to reach the ball first but he got too much on his lob and it dropped over the bar.
City could not hold out much longer and the first goal duly arrived in the 16th minute. Again it was a self-inflicted blow as Robinson fumbled Andy Drury's curling shot and Crow was able to prod the ball home.
To add to the visitors' woes, Crow's boot also caught Robinson in the midriff as he followed through and the game was held up for six minutes as he received treatment. The stretcher was brought on to the pitch but, without a substitute keeper on the bench, Robinson had to carry on.
He looked in a bit of discomfort but was able to kick the ball cleanly and it was from one of his long clearances that a defensive header fell invitingly for Adam Connolly, whose daisy-cutter from 25 yards forced a save from Mark Tyler.
However, it was the other end of the pitch where the problems remained and the travelling fans must have had a feeling of deja vu in the 28th minute when Drury's corner was headed home at the back post by Luton skipper George Pilkington.
It was the fourth goal City had conceded from a corner in two games and must have been particularly galling for Britton and assistant manager Lee Howells, who could be seen giving their players detailed instructions of how to line up at set pieces in the pre-match warm-up.
To be fair to the visitors, there was little they could do about Luton's third goal, which was beautifully executed. Atieno played the ball out to Crow and ran on to an incisive return pass from his strike partner before drilling a low shot past Robinson.
City were dealt another setback in the 42nd minute when Watkins was stretchered off with a hamstring injury. Phillips was sent on up front, with Mohamed dropping to the left and Alex Russell switching to the right.
Phillips almost had an early sight of goal during a rare City attack but Mohamed's attempted through-ball was cut out by Pilkington.
The party continued for the home fans at half-time as Luton brought a host of club legends onto the pitch but the atmosphere would have been distinctly flatter in the visitors' dressing room.
Britton decided to freshen things up for the second half, taking off defender Jones and sending on midfielder Burnell - out injured since signing in the summer - for a belated City debut.
Sitting just in front of the back four, Burnell soon got himself in the thick of the action - breaking up attacks and keeping the ball moving - as City made a bright start to the second half.
Indeed, the positive approach forced Luton boss Richard Money to make a change of his own, replacing goalscorer Atieno with midfielder Pavel Besta.
City got their just reward in the 65th minute when the two substitutes combined to create a finely-worked goal. Burnell's incisive pass from deep had just enough weight on it to beat defender Dan Gleeson, allowing Phillips to take possession and cut into the box before firing low into the net.
The visitors were now well on top and Money had to make another defensive change in the 74th minute, taking off the threatening Crow for Dan Walker - not a popular decision with the increasingly restless Luton fans.
City's final substitution was made soon after, with Murray coming on for Mohamed and lining up alongside former Bristol City team-mates Burnell and Russell in midfield.
Luton had offered little in attack in the second half but were nearly gifted a fourth goal in the 80th minute. Sido Jombati was twice at fault, playing a free-kick straight to Jake Howells and then, as he tried to make amends for his mistake, teeing up Matthew Barnes-Homer whose shot was saved at the near post by Robinson.
A deflected cross from Drury then dropped onto the bar and Walker blazed over at the end of a barnstorming run as Luton sought to really kill the game off.
But City continued to press and Russell was unfortunate to see a long-range shot just clear the bar in the closing stages.