Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 8 October 2011 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Garner, Gallinagh, Jones (c), Clough, Stonehouse, Connolly, M Canham, Burnell (Rollo 84), Hogg, S Canham (Russell 82), Phillips (Cook 90). subs not used: Murray, Watkins.
|man of the match:
||S Canham (69), Phillips (71)
||S Canham (4)
||J Hopkins (Wickford), C Wade (Bounremouth), M Derrien (Dorchester)
|league position: 24th
||next match: Cambridge Utd (H)
Report taken from
Bath City's long wait for a first win of the season is finally over, thanks to two goals in three second-half minutes from their new-look strike force.
On-loan forward Sean Canham gave City a lead for the first time this campaign in the 69th minute, sparking scenes of delirium at Twerton Park, before strike partner Lee Phillips showed great determination and composure to double the advantage moments later.
On an afternoon of firsts, City managed to keep their first clean sheet of 2011-12 at the other end to ensure they managed to get off the mark at the 14th time of asking.
Victory was no more than Adie Britton's men deserved after producing a battling performance against a disappointing Darlington side in front of a good crowd, boosted by a vocal group of students who took advantage of the club's offer of free entry.
Darlington, wearing a particularly lurid lime-green kit, were the only team to beat City twice last season, having also knocked them out of the FA Trophy.
And they almost took the lead within the opening 30 seconds, albeit in bizarre fashion as a drilled clearance from Darlo right-back Paul Arnison flew towards goal. City keeper Glyn Garner, suddenly realising the ball might drop in, back-pedalled furiously to no avail and was relieved to see it fall just the wrong side of the post.
Arnison's next involvement was to be caught by a high boot from Canham, who marked his first game at Twerton Park since leaving TeamBath in 2008 by being booked within four minutes.
Canham was part of an orthodox front two with Phillips but City boss Adie Britton had clipped the wings, with Ben Swallow not even in the matchday 16. Instead he fielded a compact midfield four, designed to match up with a physical Darlington outfit.
As a result, City posed little threat in the opening period but they did have a great chance to take the lead in the 20th minute. Darlo captain Graeme Lee hacked down Lewis Hogg on the edge of the box, earning a booking in the process, and the resulting free-kick picked out Charlie Clough eight yards out but he glanced his header wide.
Arnison had been injured during the build-up and, before the set-piece could be taken, had to be stretchered off to be replaced by Chris Atkinson.
Lee gave away another free-kick a couple of minutes later, which this time was curled in by Marc Canham and tipped over by Ole Soderberg as City began to get into the game.
They went on to have the better chances during the remainder of the first half, with two falling to Clough from set-pieces. However, he nodded the first weakly wide and then prodded the second over the bar during a goalmouth scramble.
Greg Taylor also produced a good block to prevent Phillips turning Adam Connolly's dangerous cross goalwards and Sean Canham fired over from a narrow angle as the home side ended the half in encouraging fashion.
Darlo boss Mark Cooper was clearly disatisfied and, within seven minutes of the second half kicking off, had made his final two changes, with Ryan Bowman and John Campbell coming on for Tadhg Purcell and James Walshaw.
But it was City who continued to look the more assured side and they produced another clear sight of goal in the 57th minute. Hogg was the provider, beating two men on the left before rolling the ball across to Phillips whose shot from eight yards hit an unsuspecting Kris Taylor and was cleared to safety.
A Phillips shot from distance then hit Sean Canham on the edge of the box, falling nicely for the striker, but by the time he had adjusted his feet Darlo defender Lee was able to get a block in.
City remained on top but still the breakthrough would not come, with Clough missing the target for a third time with a header from a set-piece.
But the hosts finally edged their noses in front in the 69th minute - and it was their first lead in the league all season. A free-kick was half-cleared but Joe Burnell kept the pressure on by forcing the ball wide to Hogg. His cross from the left was flicked on by Phillips and, after a couple of deflections, dropped perfectly at the feet of Sean Canham to smash home.
Twerton Park erupted, with relieved City manager Britton racing on to the pitch to celebrate a massive goal.
And there was more cause for cheer just two minutes later when Phillips made it 2-0. The striker showed tremendous strength to bundle a Darlo defender off the ball, then took a couple of touches before rifling it past keeper Soderberg at his near post.
City were now in dream world, although it needed a Gethin Jones header off the line to prevent sub Campbell pulling one back with a lobbed effort.
Britton sent on Alex Russell, Jim Rollo and Jamie Cook in the closing stages to help City see out a deserved win - and they have an immediate chance to build on it when they entertain Cambridge United on Tuesday (7.45pm).