Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 17 December 2011 - Nene Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Mathews, Simpson, Jones (c), Burnell, Stonehouse, Watkins, Connolly, Canham, Murray (Bryan 89), Hogg, Cook (Amadi-Holloway 75). subs not used: Phillips, Russell, Rollo.
|man of the match:
||Hogg (86), Stonehouse (90)
||R Merchant, S Feerick, S Pawley
|league position: 24th
||next match: Newport County (A)
Report taken from
Bath City were left to reflect on a draw that felt like a defeat after they were held by crisis club Kettering Town at Nene Park this afternoon.
Last season, City’s ability to score late on launched them up to tenth place in the Blue Square Bet Premier table. This term, however, it may well be their failure to keep the opposition out in the closing stages of games that seals their fate.
A few weeks ago at Southport, City were winning 1-0 in the 89th minute but ended up losing 2-1. Today they conceded an equaliser to Kettering substitute Oliver Jones with six minutes to go and the look on the players’ faces as they trooped back to the dressing room told its own story.
City had taken the lead through Scott Murray’s wonderful long-distance effort and were odds-on pre-match favourites to defeat a side who are in financial turmoil and have not won a league game since October 15.
The visitors were under pressure early on as Josh Dawkins, on loan from Norwich City, pressed eagerly down the left. His crosses to Kiernan Hughes-Mason twice caused the City defence problems.
Yet Adie Britton’s men weathered the early storm and came into their own with wave upon wave of attack, sometimes with up to five of their players storming into the Kettering 18- yard box.
On 15 minutes Murray took one touch too many before firing his shot against a defender. Seven minutes later a superb crossfield ball by Marc Canham again came to Murray but the winger’s touch let him down and his shot sailed harmlessly wide.
Next in the misfiring act came Jamie Cook and Lewis Hogg, who raced forward in tandem, two on one against the Kettering defence. Cook delayed his cross to the unmarked Hogg and, when it came, another chance went begging.
As the half came to an end Adam Connolly had a shot cleared off the line before a miss-hit Hogg cross surprised defence and attack alike but dipped onto the crossbar.
The second half proved to be more of the same as City continued their dominance.
Murray finally broke the deadlock six minutes after the restart with a wonder goal. From fully 30 yards he swung a lazy right foot at the ball and it swerved and dipped in the air before sailing over keeper Laurie Walker and into the top left-hand corner of the net. It was Murray’s fourth goal in as many games and potentially one of the best of his long and distinguished career.
It looked as though it would be enough to secure City’s first away league win of the season until the closing stages, when Kettering’s two second-half substitutes suddenly started to have an influence on the game.
With eight minutes to go Steven Meecham brought about a diving save from City keeper Jason Matthews. It was a warning that the visitors failed to heed as just two minutes later they gave Jones too much space and from 20 yards he fired home to bring the teams level.
From then on it was all hands to the pump in City’s defence as Matthews made a great stop to deny Hughes-Mason, Dawkins shot narrowly wide and the visiting keeper was again was forced to save from David Bridges.
In the end City hung on to share the points. It was scant reward for a side that had bossed an hour of the match yet had failed to take their chances.
It is a profligacy that City can ill afford to continue if they are to salvage their season.