Blue Square Bet Premier
Tuesday 18 January 2011 - Twerton Park - kick off 7.45pm
||Pentney, Rollo (c) (Murray 60), Ruddick, Jones, Webb, Jombati, Harris (Hogg 71), Canham, Connolly, Mohamed, Watson.
subs not used: Robinson, Simpson, Hart.
|man of the match:
||T Robinson (Bognor Regis), D Kuzmanovic (Lichfield), M Derrien (Dorchester)
|league position: 13th
||next match: Altrincham (A)
Report taken from
Lethal marksman Matt Tubbs punished two defensive lapses by Bath City to send Crawley Town to the top of the table.
Tubbs has a superb goalscoring record against City and some fans were hoping the club would move for him when he left Salisbury City in the summer.
But City could not compete with big-spending Crawley and Tubbs showed his value with two contrasting finishes.
The first was a poacher's effort after Luke Ruddick had deflected a cross into his path and the killer second, eight minutes from time, was a fantastic finish from 16 yards after the City defence went to sleep at a throw-in.
However, City competed well throughout and will look back ruefully on a couple of good opportunities to equalise which got away.
City boss Adie Britton handed striker Ben Watson - signed on a month's loan from Exeter City this morning - an immediate start in attack.
Lee Phillips had actually shaken off a thigh strain which kept him out of Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Darlington but was unavailable as his wife had gone into labour.
Lewis Hogg, thought to be out for a number of weeks with a groin injury, was a surprise name on the substitutes bench while Leon Jeanne, despite warming-up beforehand, was not included in the City 16.
Crawley went into the game knowing a victory could take them top of the table and they should have opened the scoring inside 60 seconds following a slip by City skipper Jim Rollo. He inadvertently diverted the ball backwards, past keeper Carl Pentney, but the angle was too tight for Matt Tubbs and the striker was unable to roll the loose ball into an empty net.
However, City responded well and forced three corners in quick succession, the last of which just cleared the head of Sido Jombati at the near post.
Watson was also unlucky to be flagged offside after running on to a clever Kaid Mohamed flick as City played their part in a bright start to the game.
However, the flag failed to come to the home side's rescue in the tenth minute as Crawley took the lead. Excellent work by Richard Brodie saw him twist past three players on the left before drilling a low ball across the six-yard box, which deflected off Luke Ruddick and straight to Tubbs for a simple tap-in.
The former Salisbury striker was almost on target again with a more difficult chance a couple of minutes later, hooking an overhead kick just inches over the bar, and Dean Howells was off target from a free-kick very harshly awarded against Marc Canham.
Adie Harris could have few complaints when the decision went against him following a crude challenge on Sergio Torres, with the combative Welshman becoming the first player to go into referee Tim Robinson's book.
Crawley were the better team but City were hanging in there well, with Watson working tirelessly up front, and they forced a fourth corner of the night just before the half-hour mark. Canham's delivery was cleared back to the midfielder but his next cross picked out Gethin Jones at the back post and the City defender really should have hit the target from six yards.
Another dangerous set-piece from Canham saw him whip a free-kick towards Harris at the far post but he could only divert the ball into the side-netting.
And another glorious chance to equalise was spurned six minutes before half-time. Mohamed surged past three defenders and showed great persistence to stop the ball going out for a goal-kick, dragging it back for Ruddick. The full-back took a couple of touches before rolling the ball back to Mohamed, who had found space in the box, but the striker was leaning back and blazed his shot well over the bar.
Mohamed was causing problems with his pace and Kyle McFadzean was booked following a cynical trip on the City front man as Crawley went into the break with their one-goal lead intact.
Both sides made a tentative start to the second half but there were little glimpses that City could get back into it. Boss Britton clearly felt the same as he withdrew the defensive Rollo on the hour mark and sent on the attacking Scott Murray, with Jombati going to right-back.
Murray was closed down quickly on his first touch, though, and a swift break by the visitors ended with Ben Smith's shot from the edge of the box warming Pentney's gloves.
Opposite number Michel Kuipers had to make his first save of the night three minutes later, pushing away Mohamed's thumping 25-yard free-kick, while Tubbs lifted the ball over at the other end as the second half started to come to life.
City were enjoying their best spell of the night and Kuipers was forced into an excellent double save at the feet of Mohamed after the ball was slipped through to the striker by Jombati.
The intiative was with the home side and Britton took another gamble with 19 minutes to go, taking off Harris and sending on Hogg, while Crawley's first change saw Scott Neilson replace Brodie.
Jombati, despite supposedly dropping back into defence, was becoming more of an influence down the right and his half-cleared cross almost fell to Watson but was eventually scrambled clear.
A sign of how well City were playing was when Crawley took off playmaker Torres - the match winner in the FA Cup game against Derby County last week - to bolster their midfielder.
But City's defenders seemed to switch off during the substitution and, from the throw-in, Tubbs was found unmarked 16 yards out. He still had plenty of work to do but the striker showed his quality with a superb finish which gave Pentney no chance.
The second goal was tough on City but they can take great heart from their performance against a team assembled for around £1 million.