Blue Square Bet Premier
Monday 29 August 2011 - The New Lawn - kick off 3.00pm
||Garner, Simpson, Jones (c) (Mills 30), Preece, Stonehouse, Watkins, Connolly (Russell 67), Burnell, Hogg, Phillips, Carvalho-Landell (Murray 51). subs not used: Rollo, Cook.
|man of the match:
||Jones (9), Stonehouse (34), Hogg (73), Burnell (75)
||A Davies (Hampshire)
|league position: 24th
||next match: Southport (H)
Report taken from
Bath City slumped to the foot of the early Blue Square Bet Premier table after a depressing Bank Holiday weekend ended with a dismal defeat at The New Lawn.
The punchless visitors never looked like ending their wait for a first league win of the campaign and were a beaten side from the moment Forest Green Rovers’ leading marksman Reece Styche fired his side into a 14th-minute lead.
Styche ended the game as a contest just after the hour mark with his second of the afternoon, after Chris Stokes’ deflected effort gave the home side a two-goal interval cushion.
City manager Adie Britton handed former Wolves youngster Andre Carvalho-Landell a starting spot up front alongside Lee Phillips but the gamble failed to pay dividends as his side failed to force Forest Green keeper James Bittner into a single save of note.
Although their loyal band of 220 travelling fans kept up their vocal support throughout a miserable 90 minutes, City appeared pedestrian and can count themselves fortunate the margin of defeat was not even greater.
Carvalho-Landell, who only signed on the morning of the game, replaced the out-of-sorts Jamie Cook in the starting line-up, while the fit-again Marley Watkins came in for Alex Russell after sitting out Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Tamworth.
But City were on the back foot from the start and Gethin Jones collected an early booking for chopping down the muscular Curtis McDonald as he raced towards the box.
James Norwood lobbed tamely into Glyn Garner’s arms after outpacing former home favourite Paul Stonehouse on the Forest Green right but Dave Hockaday’s men did not have to wait long to open their account. Stonehouse failed to get any distance on a clearing header and the City defence stood and watched as hot-shot Styche – the subject of a cash bid from Luton Town last week – turned and planted a low shot past Garner and into the far corner.
City’s best chance of an equaliser came on 27 minutes when Sekani Simpson was presented with a free header at the far post after being picked out by Stonehouse’s deep cross. But the full-back, who has not netted since November 2008, failed to connect properly from six yards out and the ball drifted harmlessly wide.
The miss was to prove costly as City suffered a decisive double blow just after the half-hour mark. First, skipper Gethin Jones limped off holding his hamstring and, as the visitors tried to reorganise at the back, Forest Green doubled their lead. Norwood’s burst into the area was halted but the ball found its way to defender Stokes, who muscled through before beating Garner with a shot that looped in off the lunging Joe Burnell.
Stonehouse and McDonald followed Jones into referee Andy Davies’ book as tempers became frayed but City could make no impression going forward and were twice rescued by Garner as first Stokes and then Styche threatened to add to their respective tallies as the half drew to a close.
Carvalho-Landell showed plenty of skilful touches on his debut but was deprived of any quality service in the final third and made way for Scott Murray early in the second half.
The hosts continued to look assured in possession and potent in attack after the restart and any lingering hopes of yet another famous City comeback ended in the 61st minute. James Rowe was given the freedom to find the overlapping Stokes on the left and Garner could only flap at the resulting cross, gifting the grateful Styche a simple close-range header and his sixth league goal of the season.
The odds on a hat-trick for the striker looked ominously short at that stage but buoyant Forest Green failed to turn the screw as they toyed with a drained City side in the closing third of the game.
City were restricted to shots from distance from substitutes Murray, Gary Mills and Alex Russell, the latter volleying onto the roof of the net with Bittner stranded on the edge of his box five minutes from time.
The hard-working Lewis Hogg and Burnell were both booked, along with home midfielder Wayne Turk, for fouls as City’s frustration grew and manager Britton was left with plenty of questions to answer before his side returns to action with a home game against Southport on September 10.