Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 20 November 2010 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Pentney, Burnell, Rollo (c) (Hart 79), Jombati, Webb, Jones, Canham, Harris, Phillips, Mohamed (Murray 81), Russell (Connolly 75). subs not used: D Edwards, Ruddick.
|man of the match:
||M Thompson (Northolt), M Rushden (Pewsey), D Jacecko (Swindon)
|league position: 14th
||next match: Histon (A)
Report taken from
An outstanding defensive effort by Bath City saw them hang on for a hard-fought point against high-flying Fleetwood.
The visitors piled on the pressure throughout but City's back line, marshalled magnificently by Joe Burnell, coped with virtually everything thrown at them.
The one time they were breached came midway through the second half when impressive substitute Nicholas Rogan used his pace to get away from skipper Jim Rollo and slide the ball under keeper Carl Pentney.
That cancelled out a surprise first-half opener from Marc Canham, whose floated free-kick drifted into the top corner to put City ahead against the run of play.
Adie Britton made two changes to the team which started at Southport last weekend, with Adie Harris coming in for midfielder Adam Connolly and Burnell replacing Joe Edwards, whose loan spell from Bristol City ended last week.
Burnell started as the central figure in a three-man defence, with Gethin Jones and Sido Jombati being deployed as wing-backs.
Defender Luke Ruddick was on the bench, three months after injuring his hamstring on his debut against Hayes & Yeading United, alongside Darren Edwards who is trying to organise a loan move to a Conference South club.
The two teams were greeted to the pitch by fireworks and City did their best to make an explosive start as Kaid Mohamed surged down the right straight from the kick-off but his cross was just too strong for Lee Phillips.
But Fleetwood also made a positive start and a beautiful reverse pass by Gareth Seddon teed up Jamie McGuire for a shot which Carl Pentney saved well with his feet.
Seddon then hit the side-netting with a thumping shot from the edge of the box after defender Jones played a rushed clearance straight to his feet.
Fleetwood were the better team for the opening 15 minutes, yet it was City who took the lead with a goal that visiting keeper Scott Davies will want to forget.
Canham curled in a free-kick from the left which missed everyone and bounced into the top corner of the net past a stunned Davies, who seemed to be distracted by Sido Jombati jumping in front of him.
The keeper did manage to get a significant touch on Canham's next effort, punching away the midfielder's well-struck shot from 22 yards, as City started to get into the game.
Fleetwood were still looking threatening, though, and Wayne Curtis put a free header over the bar from a difficult angle while City keeper Pentney was fortunate to get the benefit of the doubt after punching weakly clear under pressure from Seddon.
Both sets of players were struggling to keep their footing on a slippery surface and a stumble by visiting keeper Steve McNulty almost proved costly as it allowed Phillips to steal possession and surge through on goal. However, as he attempted to round the keeper, his touch was too heavy and Davies was able to make a crucial save at the in-form striker's feet.
From a glorious chance to make it 2-0, play swung immediately down the other end and only a brave tackle by Burnell prevented Seddon making it 1-1 after excellent approach play by strike partner Curtis.
Burnell came to the rescue again after more good link-up play between Fleetwood's front two, the City defender prodding the ball away before Curtis could pull the trigger.
Pentney showed good handling to hold on to Anthony Barry's long-range shot, which bounced just in front of him, as City dug in to protect their slender advantage.
The home side attempted to break by utilising Mohamed's pace whenever possible and a lightning-quick one-two between the striker and Canham almost produced a second goal, only for the City midfielder to slightly over-hit his through ball.
But it was Fleetwood who were still doing most of the pressing and Jones had to produce a superb defensive header to prevent anyone getting a touch on Shaun Beeley's cross. The resulting corner fell to Sean Gregan at the back post but he slipped as he made contact, meaning his close-range range effort flew wide.
Gregan had to make an important interception at the other end moments later, preventing Mohamed from diverting Phillips' low cross goalwards as a frantic first half finished with City leading 1-0.
Fleetwood manager Micky Mellon clearly felt things needed a change for the second half and he replaced Seddon with fellow striker Rogan, who lifted a shot over the bar inside the opening minute.
However, it wasn't the first chance of the half - that came at the other end as Phillips pushed the ball past the visiting defence and ran through on goal, only for Davies to come quickly off his line and make the save.
Indeed, the opening minutes of the second half were a continuation of the first period, with City's defenders holding firm under plenty of pressure - particularly from corners and free-kicks - while the hosts posed a sporadic threat on the counter-attack.
By the 54th minute, when Jamie Mullan replaced Clancy on the Fleetwood right wing, the visitors had forced 11 corners - including four in the second half - but City were coping with them very well, unlike in recent weeks where set pieces have been their Achilles heel.
One cross which City failed to clear came from the influential Barry but Rogan put his free header straight into the grateful hands of Pentney.
Rogan was much more accurate with his next effort, though, as Fleetwood's pressure finally told. The substitute used his pace to latch on to a long ball over the top and shrug off the challenge of Rollo before sliding the ball under the advancing Pentney.
The visitors were now well on top and Jones picked up a booking after bringing down John Miles about 25 yards out. The resulting free-kick was driven in with tremendous power by Barry but Pentney through himself to his left to push the ball on to the post - an outstanding save from the on-loan keeper.
Fleetwood were dominant in midfield so it was no surprise when Britton took off the quiet Alex Russell and sent on Connolly with 15 minutes to go. However, his next change was out of the blue, with veteran skipper Rollo coming off for the inexperienced Callum Hart.
It was only the defender's second appearance of the season, having also come on as sub in the reverse fixture in September, and he went to left-back, with Jombati going to the right and Jones moving across to centre-half.
Scott Murray also came on for Mohamed, while Fleetwood's final change saw Lee Thorpe come on for Curtis.
The visitors remained the most likely winners but they had an almighty scare a couple of minutes from time when Cavanagh's back pass bobbled over Davies' foot but the keeper recovered well to hack the ball off the line.
Phillips also had the ball in the back of the net moments later but the flag had long since gone up for offside against Murray.
But City were grateful just to take a point from the game, particularly after Pentney made a stunning double save in injury-time to deny Rogan and Mullan.