Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 6 November 2010 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Pentney, J Edwards, Jombati, Rollo (c), Webb, Burnell (Murray 59), Canham, Connolly, Mohamed, Russell, Phillips.
subs not used: Jones, Harris, D Edwards, Bohry.
|man of the match:
||Phillips (63, 74)
||T Robinson (Bognor Regis), P Redmond (Bicester), A Piggott (High Wycombe)
|league position: 21st
||next match: Hayes & Yeading (H)
Report taken from
Lee Phillips struck twice as Bath City came from two goals down to earn a valuable point in their crucial encounter against rock-bottom Altrincham.
The visitors thought they had earned three welcome points when Nicky Clee and Michael Twiss scored either side of half-time.
But Phillips, who had a goal ruled out for offside in the first half, pulled one back at the end of a fantastic team move and then grabbed a vital equaliser with 16 minutes remaining.
Adie Britton made three changes for the crucial game, with loan keeper Carl Pentney going straight into the first team.
The 21-year-old - who signed on a month's deal from Colchester United in midweek - replaced the out-of-sorts Ryan Robinson, who has also been struggling with a rib injury this week.
Joe Burnell, who was so impressive after coming on as a sub during last weekend's 3-1 defeat at Luton Town, was handed a first City start and Phillips also returned to the starting XI.
Pentney, wearing a fluroscent yellow kit, had little to do during a low-key opening 15 minutes but was grateful for Danny Webb's timely intervention which prevented Altrincham taking the lead.
Some hesitant defending led to Wes Baynes finding space in the box but rather than shoot, he rolled the ball across to Michael Twiss. However, before the visiting striker could fire towards goal, Webb was able to stick out a toe and divert the ball behind for a corner.
City have been struggling with flag-kicks in the past couple of games but Pentney looked authoritative as he punched cross clear from underneath his bar.
The home side thought they had taken the lead in the 17th minute when, at the end of a fine move, the ball broke to Burnell 25 yards out. Without hesitation, he smashed it with the outside of his right foot through a crowd of players but Altrincham keeper Stuart Coburn just managed to get a touch on the rising drive, diverting it onto the bar.
The rebound fell perfectly for Phillips, who bundled the ball into the net, but his celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.
At the other end, City were still looking unsure in defence and they had another fortunate escape when Rob Williams' header at the back post was punched clear by Pentney but only as far as Nicky Clee, whose volley from the edge of the area was just wide.
That opportunity came from a set piece, as did City's next chance when Marc Canham's floated free-kick hit the back of Sido Jombati and dropped just past the far post.
Phillips, who scored his first goak for three months at Luton last week, was looking in confident form and it was the forward's pressure which resulted in Coburn only being able to punch Alex Russell's dangerous cross as far as Kaid Mohamed. However, the keeper recovered well to make a fine save from the follow-up shot.
That looked particulary important when Altrincham took the lead a couple of minutes later. Canham gave the ball away in midfield and the visitors immediately broke through Clee, who surged to the edge of the box before firing in a shot which seemed to take a slight deflection off Jim Rollo as it dropped into the back of the net.
It was a major blow for City, who had a couple of opportunities to get back on level terms just before half-time but Joe Edwards' shot was deflected wide and, from the resulting corner, Burnell was unable to keep his near-post header down.
City had plenty to do in the second half and their task became even greater just 80 seconds after the restart as Altrincham doubled their lead. Wes Baynes brought the ball forward before slipping a lovely pass through to Twiss, who showed great composure to lift his shot over the advancing keeper.
And the game really should have been over as a contest a couple of minutes later when Twiss dispossessed Rollo before pulling the ball back to Shaun Densmore who, with plenty of time and space, sidefooted wide when he really should have hit the target.
City needed to get a foothold in the game but Phillips was denied a clean run on goal by a very harsh offside decision.
Then, a minute later, Adam Connolly's cross from the right picked out an unmarked Russell at the back post but, instead of heading towards goal, he tried an acrobatic volley which did not come off. There was still an opportunity, though, as the miscued shot squirmed across the six-yard box to Mohamed but his effort was blocked at close range by Coburn.
The keeper also showed safe handling when a shot was drilled in low from the edge of the box from Jombati, who had a scare at the other end moments later when he passed the ball straight to Clee but he was unable to take advantage.
City made their first change in the 59th minute as Scott Murray came on for the tiring Burnell. Russell dropped into central midfield and it was from his pass that Connolly tried his luck from 25 yards but Coburn was able to punch to safety.
However, he was well beaten in the 63rd minute as City replied with a goal of real quality. Canham collected the ball in his own half before pinging a precise pass forward to Murray. His first touch took him inside his marker and his second was a beautiful pass behind the Altrincham defence for Phillips, who confidently despatched his shot into the bottom corner.
It was a wonderful move and a wonderful finish, with the goal giving City's players and fans an injection of belief. They went on to dominate the next few minutes, with Russell becoming an increasingly influential figure, but, despite forcing four corners in quick succession, they were unable to take advantage as Mohamed drilled their best effort wide from 18 yards.
City's pressure forced a defensive change from the visitors, who took off goalscorer Twiss and sent on midfielder Anthony Danylyk.
However, that could not prevent the equaliser, which came in slightly controversial fashion in the 74th minute. Phillips looked to be a yard offside when Connolly's deflected shot fell to him but the striker - who had been denied by the flag earlier - was this time able to celebrate after thumping the equaliser past Coburn.
It was a brilliant comeback by City, who thought they had gone ahead a couple of minutes later when Mohamed burst into the box and fired in a shot from a narrow angle which Coburn could only parry. However, Rob Williams was on hand to head the ball off the line.
Altrincham withdrew their other goalscorer with nine minutes to go, Damian Reeves coming on for Clee, but it was City who were in the ascendancy now and Murray was unluckly not to hit the target with a terrific volley from 22 yards.
Mohamed then embarked on a direct run down the left before firing in a brilliant cross which just needed touching home by either the advancing Phillips or Murray. However, the ball was just diverted away from them in brave fashion by keeper Coburn, who picked up a knock in the process.
However, that did not prevent him making a quite outstanding save in the third minute of injury-time, Coburn diving low to his left to keep out Connolly's 35-yard screamer and ensure the game finished all square.