Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 22 October 2011 - Highbury Stadium - kick off 3.00pm
||Garner, Simpson, Stonehouse, Rollo (c), Gallinagh, M Canham (Swallow 61), Connolly, Russell (Murray 83), Watkins, Hogg, S Canham. subs not used: Webb, Preece, Cook.
|man of the match:
||D Handley, C Grundy, A Pashley
|league position: 24th
||next match: Dover Ath (FAC) (A)
Report taken from
Rock-bottom Bath City were unable to turn the table on its head as they succumbed to defeat at second-placed Fleetwood, writes Andrew Kerslake.
But the final scoreine does not reflect the fact that, for 20 minutes of this game, City were on top and for 40 minutes they were competitive.
However, they were punished for poor finishing and had to eventually concede to some quality forwards up against a makeshift defence.
In the absence of Gethin Jones and Charlie Clough, and with Mark Preece on the bench but unlikely to play through injury, City elected for a backline of experience as Jim Rollo lined up alongside Cheltenham loanee Andy Gallinach.
For the first 20 minutes City looked to have got everything right as their opponents ended up resorting to long balls played over the top as the visiting midfield dominated possession.
However, it was up front that the problems lay, with chance after chance going begging. On four minutes Marley Watkins headed a golden opportunity wide from a Marc Canham free-kick. Eight minutes later it was the same player, this time shooting over the crossbar from a Canham corner.
Then Sean Canham got in on the act as a Lewis Hogg shot rebounded to him, only for the forward to miscue his chance from close range.
Surely this couldn't last – and it didn't as gradually Fleetwood began to get their act together, with defender Charlie Wassmer heading a Jamie Vardy cross onto the bar.
However, City still had further chances, with Watkins and Gallinagh both missing from close range.
Yet as the clock ticked down to the end of the first half, the home side again began to press forward, with Glyn Garner tipping a Jamie McGuire shot over the bar.
The same player then had another opportunity with only two minutes of the half to go - and this time he took it. A Jamie Milligan corner was swung into the City penalty area and an unmarked McGuire had a simple header into goal.
Going in a goal down would have been scant reward for City's first-half performance. To go in two down, as they did after the impressive Vardy stole down the left before firing across Garner's goal and into the net, was a positive injustice.
The start of the second half began as a fairly scrappy affair, with Fleetwood mostly content to keep possession interspersed with the occasional long-range shot, while City struggled to get a foot on the ball.
The game then came to life 17 minutes from time. A poor cross from the right eventually found City substitute Ben Swallow, who played it back to Paul Storehouse and his blistering right-foot shot gave Scott Davies in the home goal no chance.
Game on, or so it fleetingly looked, with the home defence surprisingly nervy but As City pressed forward, searching for an unlikely equaliser, they were punished.
Swallow sold Adam Connolly short with a pass in midfield and Vardy took advantage. Racing down the left, his cross into the box looked to have been covered by Gallinagh but substitute Gareth Seddon poked out a leg to prod home from close range.
The icing on Fleetwood's cake was then unfairly topped off by Vardy deep into time added on. Still full of running, he got his head on the end of a Milligan shot to produce a scoreline that will give the home side more satisfaction, it is suspected, than would their performance.
As for City, they remain nine points adrift of safety and will be grateful to have a break from their league travails, with a trip to Dover Athletic in the FA Cup next up on Saturday.