Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 26 March - Holker Street - kick off 3.00pm
||Robinson, Simpson, Jones (c), Clough, Jombati, Watkins (Lennox 65), Connolly, Burnell (Rollo 81), Canham, Murray (Mackie 71), Phillips. subs not used: Borhy, Henry.
|man of the match:
||Watkins (63), Lennox (83)
||S Smith (Yorkshire), T Rogers, P Thompson
|league position: 11th
||next match: Gateshead (H)
Report taken from
Bath City climbed up to 11th spot in the Blue Square Bet Premier table after Lee Phillips’ early goal earned them maximum points at in-form Barrow.
City certainly travelled to Cumbria more in hope than expectation given an arduous seven-hour coach journey on Friday night that disrupted their pre-match preparations. However, Adie Britton’s men soon put that behind them as they established an early advantage over the home side.
Barrow conceded a free-kick just inside their own half. Marc Canham’s ball forward flicked off the head of Phillips and, although Clark Masters in the Bluebirds’ goal looked to have the ball covered, it sailed past his outstretched right hand to and into the net.
From then on Barrow had plenty of pressure but failed to seriously trouble City keeper Ryan Robinson.
With the visitors’ three-man central midfield helping to shore up the defence, Phillips was often left isolated in attack as neither Marley Watkins or Scott Murray was able to get forward easily.
The main threat came through the pacy Paul Rutherford down the right. Twice he got beyond the City defence but each time Robinson was equal to him, once taking out a dangerous cross from the feet of Wayne Curtis and then easily collecting a straight on shot.
In general it was a scrappy first 45 minutes, with neither side able to establish a clear dominance and the match often being reduced to minor tussles.
Key to the conflict were the battles between Sido Jombati and Rutherford on City’s left and the impressive Paul Edwards and Marley Watkins on the right. For most of the match they were battles that cancelled each other out, with Jombati winning most of his encounters while Watkins undoubtedly came off second best to Edwards.
The start of the second half continued in much the same vein, although Barrow had their best chance of the match on 51 minutes. Jombati’s mistake led to a Louis Almond shot that rebounded off Robinson’s legs before the keeper collected at the second attempt.
However, the game boiled over just after the hour mark when Watkins tangled with Richie Baker on the halfway line. As Watkins went down Baker appeared to stamp on the City winger, although afterwards vigorously protested that he had been going for the ball.
When Watkins stood up he pushed Richie to the ground. From a melee of players Richie emerged to receive a red card and Watkins, perhaps getting off lightly, was shown only a yellow. At the same time Barrow co-manager Dave Bayliss was ordered to the stands for clearly having too much to say to the match officials.
It was a decision that incensed the home crowd and stimulated the Barrow team to attack.
Despite going down to ten men they poured forward in numbers with an energy and vigour they had not previously displayed. A header from Cook sailed narrowly over the City crossbar before an Almond cross to Curtis went only inches wide.
By now the home crowd were at near fever pitch as in addition the missed chances two penalty appeals, one for a possible Charlie Clough handball and another for a Sekani Simpson shove, had both been turned down.
Somehow the visitors hung on, with Jombati putting in a superb sliding tackle on Curtis and as the home side ran out of steam.
Substitutes Hector Mackie and Joe Lennox had half chances at the other end as City saw out a victory that further increased Britton’s belief that his side can achieve a solid mid-table finish.