Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 30 April 2011 - Twerton Park - kick off 5.15pm
||Robinson, Simpson (Rollo 37), Jombati, Webb, Jones (c) (Hogg 58), Burnell, Canham, Connolly (Harris 74), Murray, Watkins, Phillips. subs not used: Henry, Mackie.
|man of the match:
||Watkins (52), Murray (75)
||M Thompson (Northolt), A Shilston (Lydney), K Morris (Hereford)
|league position: 10th
||next match: Next Season
Report taken from
Wing-men Marley Watkins and Scott Murray got the second-half goals which ensured that Bath City finished a memorable season on a suitably high note.
Watkins' cool finish and a wonderful solo effort from Murray killed off a Mansfield Town team who played for 75 minutes with ten men after Steven Istead saw red for allegedly kicking out at Joe Burnell.
The win means City have taken points off all but two teams - champions Crawley Town and play-off contenders Wrexham - in the Blue Square Bet Premier this season.
And with both Grimsby Town and Rushden & Diamonds losing, the three points ensured City bagged an outstanding top-ten finish in their first season in non-league's top flight for 13 years.
After resting several players in Monday's 2-0 defeat at Eastbourne Borough, City boss Adie Britton named a full-strength team for the final fixture.
The game was fairly even in the opening exchanges, with Watkins and Adam Connolly both firing in long-range shots which never looked like troubling visiting keeper Alan Marriott while Niall O'Rafferty tried to pass at the other end when he had the chance to shoot.
The best opening came in the 14th minute when Lee Phillips brilliantly worked some space for himself inside the box by stepping inside two defenders but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.
However, the game swung firmly in City's favour a minute later when referee Marvin Thompson showed a straight red card to Istead - a decision which came completely out of the blue.
A foul was awarded to City following a challenge on Burnell by Istead, who then appeared to catch the home midfielder a second time after the whistle had gone. Referee Thompson clearly construed Istead's actions as retaliation and produced an immediate red card.
Istead - who will now miss next week's FA Trophy final at Wembley against Darlington - looked stunned by the decision, as did most of the supporters in Twerton Park.
City went on to dominate possession after that but struggled to create chances in a rather low-key first half. Murray tried his luck with two acrobatic efforts, both of which went over, and Marc Canham narrowly missed the target with a stinging shot from 25 yards.
The hosts were forced to make a change in the 37th minute, with Sekani Simpson limping off to be replaced by club captain Jim Rollo.
His first involvement was to put in an over-hit cross which had Stags keeper Marriott backpedalling as it dropped onto the roof of the net.
Marriott also had to make good saves from Murray, after an incisive one-two with Connolly, and Watkins, whose near-post header had to be scrambled away, but the half finished goalless.
The opener should have arrived seven minutes into the second half when Burnell's pass found Connolly in acres of space on the edge of the box but the midfielder dragged his shot wide of the far post.
But Watkins showed him how it should have been done when he finally broke the deadlock just 40 seconds later. This time it was a flicked header by Phillips which released the City winger, who showed wonderful composure to knock the ball around Marriott before coolly slotting into the net.
It now looked like being a long afternoon for Mansfield, who made their first change in the 58th minute when Tyrone Thompson replaced the ineffective O'Rafferty.
Britton also took the chance to make his second switch, with Lewis Hogg coming on for the apparently injured Gethin Jones. Rollo moved across to fill the gap at centre-half with Hogg playing at right-back.
Adam Smith tried to cash in during the defensive reshuffle by charging at a hesitant back-line but his 25-yard shot went straight at City keeper Ryan Robinson.
Mansfield were enjoying their best spell since the red card but manager Duncan Russell showed that his main focus was on Wembley by taking off Ashley Cain for a rest and sending on veteran forward Paul Hall.
Britton made his final change of the day, and the season, when Adie Harris came on for Connolly with 16 minutes remaining.
And the Welshman played a role in City's second goal of the game just moments later. His forward run helped to create a gap for Murray, who had surged in from the right and burst past three defenders into the box before delightfully rolling a left-foot shot past Marriott and into the net.
Marriott had a lucky escape moments later when he charged out of his box to close down Watkins, whose shot hit the keeper on the chest and not the arm as some of the City fans were appealing for.
The keeper did stick out an arm to good effect in the 82nd minute to prevent Murray's lofted shot dropping into the net and Marriott also did well to thwart Watkins after a clever flick by Sido Jombati.
But two goals were enough to wrap up a memorable campaign and the home supporters showed their appreciation as City's players - plus outgoing chairman Geoff Todd - embarked on a well-deserved lap-of-honour at the final whistle.