Blue Square Bet Premier
Thursday 14 April 2011 - Field Mill - kick off 7.45pm
||Robinson, Simpson, Jombati, Jones (c), Clough, Canham (Harris 78), Connolly (Lennox 75), Burnell, Watkins, Mackie (Murray 63), Phillips. subs not used: Henry, Webb.
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||J Simpson, R Green, J Waters
|league position: 13th
||next match: Grimsby Town (A)
Report taken from
Bath City's proud record of not having lost back-to-back league games all season came to an end tonight when they succumbed to a strong second-half display from Mansfield Town.
The teams had been well matched during a goalless first half which had plenty of chances at both ends, including a goalline clearance to deny City skipper Gethin Jones.
However, Mansfield took control after the break and struck from two set pieces to condemn City's weary travellers to another defeat following last Saturday's 3-1 reverse at Darlington.
City boss Adie Britton made a couple of changes to the side which started that game, with captain Jones returning from a dead leg.
He replaced Jim Rollo at the back, while Leigh Henry - who started in a five-man defence on Saturday - dropped to the bench as Britton opted to include winger Hector Mackie in a 4-3-3 formation.
Not that the wide men were to shirk their defensive duties, though, as Marley Watkins demonstrated in the opening minute as he made a superb last-ditch interception to prevent Louis Briscoe tapping Luke Medley's low cross into an empty net.
Danny Mitchley then found space on the edge of the box but sliced his shot high and wide as FA Trophy finalists Mansfield made a confident start.
However, it was Mansfield's David Grof who had to make the first save of the match after Marc Canham's seventh-minute corner hit Charlie Clough and dropped perfectly for Joe Burnell, who was denied his first goal in City colours by the keeper's legs.
Following a lively opening, the game was held up for a couple of minutes while Sekani Simpson received treatment after being caught by a late challenge but the right-back was able to continue.
That was more than could be said for Medley in the 14th minute as he pulled up with a hamstring strain while trying to outpace Clough during a chase for a long ball. The Stags striker immediately signalled that he couldn't continue, although that didn't stop Briscoe attempting to play him through on goal again.
Medley was eventually replaced by Conor Higginson, whose first involvement was to test Clough's pace again following another ball over the top. However, the on-loan City defender was equal to the task once more and even earned his side a goal-kick with a perfectly-timed tackle.
Defensive partner Jones almost made a telling contribution at the other end in the 28th minute after nodding Canham's lofted free-kick across the six-yard box but Tom Naylor managed to beat Lee Phillips to the loose ball and cleared off the line.
Canham had picked out Jones superbly on that occasion but was guilty of overhitting a cross two minutes later with Phillips totally unmarked in the 18-yard box.
The game was now wide open, with Mansfield still looking threatening whenever they played a quick ball forward, and the home fans were in uproar when Ashley Cain tangled with Clough as he attempted to run through on goal. However, referee Jez Simpson said the Stags striker had not been impeded, probably because Cain didn't go down until the ball was in onrushing keeper Robinson's hands.
The Field Mill faithful were not impressed by that decision but they did produce a sporting murmur of appreciation for a wonderful curling shot from Adam Connolly which was just an inch away from giving City a half-time lead.
There was no change to the attacking approach in the second half, which began in frenetic style. Stags keeper David Grof had a lucky escape when he came out of his box to clear Jones' through-ball and mis-kicked under pressure from Phillips but he was able to scramble it clear at the second attempt.
At the other end, Sido Jombati did well to dispossess Cain as he lined up a shot, only to give the ball away himself as he attempted to dribble out of defence but Briscoe's strike missed the target.
Simpson and Clough also had to make timely interceptions, then Robinson just managed to get an important touch on a dangerous Briscoe cross to divert it behind as Mansfield began to crank up the pressure.
And it told from the resulting corner, with sub Higginson smashing the ball home from close range after his initial shot had been blocked on the line by Jombati.
Scott Murray came on for Mackie during the goal celebrations as City boss Britton made his first change but Mansfield were now on top and looked like adding to their lead every time they went forward.
So it was no surprise when the second goal duly arrived in the 74th minute. Jones was forced to make a desperate lunge on the edge of the box to halt a surging run from Higginson and the resulting free-kick was brilliantly rifled past the helpless Robinson by Kyle Nix.
Again the goal was the cue for a City change, with Joe Lennox coming on the quiet Connolly, and Canham was also replaced a couple of minutes later as Adie Harris came on for his first appearance in three months following a hamstring tear.
The two subs combined well in the 86th minute, with Lennox showing good energy and composure to win possession before teeing up Harris for a 20-yard shot which Grof held comfortably.
The keeper had to make better stops in injury-time to keep out Phillips' angled drive and a low Lennox shot but there was to be no consolation for the visitors, who will now have to lift themselves for another away match at Grimsby Town on Saturday.