Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 26 February 2011 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Robinson, Simpson, Rollo (c), Jones, Hart (Henry 54), Jombati, Connolly, Canham, Watkins, Murray (Mohamed 77), Phillips (Brown 90). subs not used: Mackie, Borhy.
|man of the match:
||Own Goal (33), Phillips (56)
||A Hendley (Halesowen), G Taylor (Weston on Avon), M Bingham (Leamington Spa)
|league position: 12th
||next match: Rushden (A)
Report taken from
Lee Phillips headed home his 13th goal of the season as Bath City completed a league double over Southport.
Today's match lacked the drama of December's reverse fixture at Haig Avenue, which saw City battle back from 2-0 down to win 3-2, but Adie Britton's injury-ravaged squad again had to show plenty of spirit to see off a physical Southport side.
Chris Lever's own goal had given the hosts a 33rd minute lead, which was cancelled out on the stroke of half-time by Southport skipper Kevin Lee, but Phillips converted Scott Murray's inviting cross to secure the points for City.
Home boss Britton was forced to make one change to the team which started Tuesday's 2-2 draw against Newport, with Callum Hart making his first league start in place of left-back Luke Ruddick, who faces at least four weeks out with a hamstring injury.
On the bench were new signings Leigh Henry and Jonathan Brown, as well as Hector Mackie who re-signed for the club yesterday following his release from Gloucester City earlier this month.
The match was preceded by a round of applause in honour of Chris Stillman, who passed away on Thursday. The lifelong City supporter performed many off-pitch roles at Twerton Park over the years, including editing the programme and running the Poplar Side teabar.
Southport made the more assured start but almost gifted City a fifth-minute lead when Earl Davis's clearance cannoned the back of the tenacious Lee Phillips and almost looped over keeper Tony McMillan's head.
Play went straight down the other end and former Southport keeper Ryan Robinson was forced to make a decent low save to keep out Shaun Whalley's shot.
Robinson was in the perfect position in the 14th minute when Matty McNeil just managed to get the slightest of touches on Whalley's cross, the ball deflecting into the keeper's grateful hands.
After that play became scrappy as both sides found it difficult to impose themselves on the game and it wasn't until around the half-hour mark that the next couple of chances were created.
Southport had an appeal for handball in the box waved away, then Gethin Jones headed into the keeper's hands at the other end following a well-worked free-kick between the City defender and Marc Canham. The free-kick came after Murray's surging run through midfield was halted by Karl Ledsham, who was booked for his efforts.
However, the opening goal duly arrived in the 33rd minute and it went to the home side as Sekani Simpson's wonderful cross from the right hit Southport defender Lever at the back post and went into the net.
Lever thought he had instantly made amends when he headed home at the other end a couple of minutes later, only for his celebrations to be cut short by the linesman's flag.
Marley Watkins was harshly booked in the 37th minute after being adjudged to have kicked the ball away and the home fans were upset again in the 41st minute when visiting midfielder Lee went unpunished after blocking Simpson off as he attempted to track back.
And there was more cause to curse Lee on the stroke of half-time when the Southport skipper was allowed to head home at the far post from John-Paul Kissock's corner.
Goal provider thought he had turned goalscorer two minutes into the second half, Kissock holding his head in his hands as his shot trickled just millimetres wide of the post.
Lee was also narrowly off-target with a long-range strike and Hart had to make a perfectly-timed tackle on McNeil as Southport made the better start to the second period.
However, for all their pressure, it was City who regained the lead with a relatively simple but superbly executed goal. Watkins pushed the ball out to Murray on the right and the winger took a touch before floating in an inviting cross for the unmarked Phillips to head home from six yards.
City made the first change a minute later as Hart was replaced by Henry, who joined from Swindon Supermarine on Monday having previously spent a loan spell at Twerton Park during the 2004-05 season.
It was fellow defender Jones who almost forced a third City goal when he bravely got his head to Canham's free-kick under pressure from keeper McMillan but Rob Marsh-Evans was able to divert the goalbound ball over the bar.
Murray was then not quite able to get enough height on a clever lob and had another shot blocked as City began to take the upper hand.
Southport made a change, sending on Paul Barratt for Lever, but City were still on top and thought they had stretched their lead when Watkins dispossessed Marsh-Evans before drilling in a low cross-shot. It looked destined for the back of the net but Phillips slid in to make sure, only to be flagged offside as he touched the ball home from two yards.
Watkins was then not quite able to get on the end of a low cross from Murray, who was replaced in the 77th minute by Kaid Mohamed.
The Welshman missed the Newport game with a calf strain but showed no signs of ill effects as he immediately made a trademark burst down the left, showing lighning pace to beat two defenders, but the move came to nothing.
Watkins also showed great skill to turn on the edge of the box but his shot went straight at McMillan as the third goal continued to prove elusive.
The precarious nature of City's lead was illustrated in the 80th minute when the home defence could only clear a set piece as far as Whalley but the Southport winger sliced his shot well wide.
Another slice, this time from Jones as he attempted to clear a Whalley cross, almost dropped over Robinson as City gave Southport a sniff of encouragement.
However, despite sending on both Steve Daly and Michael Powell, the visitors did not really look like levelling during the final ten minutes.
Even a generous five minutes of injury-time was not enough for Southport as City secured their 11th win of an increasingly impressive season.