Blue Square Bet Premier
Tuesday 3 January 2012 - Twerton Park - kick off 7.45pm
||Matthews, Simpson, Stonehouse, Jones (c), Burnell, Murray (Russell 69), Connolly, M Canham, Hogg, Watkins (Phillips 88), S Canham (Cook 88). subs not used: Rollo, Preece.
|man of the match:
||Connolly (24), S Canham (31), Murray (47)
||Burnell (8), S Canham (67)
||T Robinson (Bognor Regis), J Law (Worcester), D Jacecko (Swindon)
|league position: 24th
||next match: Braintree Town (H)
Report taken from
Bath City withstood a second-half onslaught to edge out Severnside rivals Newport County and start 2012 with three precious points.
The home side looked set for a comfortable victory when they deservedly overturned an early deficit to take a 3-1 lead early in the second period.
But Newport quickly pulled one back and piled forward after that but were unable to force the equaliser as City extended their excellent run of results over their local rivals.
Adie Britton's men, playing their first home game for a month, started with Sean Canham as the sole front man following the forward's return on loan from Hereford United for the rest of the season.
And he played his part in a bright opening from the hosts, which saw them get into dangerous positions on the flanks. However, the only threat on goal was a long-range strike from Marc Canham which caught keeper Danny Potter flat-footed but drifted wide.
Instead it was the visitors who went ahead with a goal Jason Matthews will not be happy about. The City keeper was beaten by a dipping cross-shot from Andrew Hughes, which thudded back off the post and was bundled home by Nat Jarvis.
City cleared their heads, though, and reapplied the pressure. Three successive corners were dealt with but the equaliser finally arrived when a flowing move from the back ended with Marley Watkins neatly laying the ball off for Adam Connolly to smash home off the underside of the bar.
The goal was no more than City deserved and it got better for them in the 31st minute as they took the lead. Lewis Hogg did brilliantly to work some space on the right and whip in a cross, which found Sean Canham unmarked inside the six-yard box to nonchalantly flick home.
It was a classy finish but shocking defending from the visitors and they looked rocky for the remainder of the first half but City were unable to extend their advantage, with Marc Canham going closest when he forced a low save from Potter in injury-time.
Given their lack of cutting edge this season, the fear at half-time was that City would pay for not extending their lead but that was eased within two minutes of the restart by a superb goal from Scott Murray.
The timeless winger collected a Sean Canham pass on the edge of the box and sold a dummy to wrongfoot Newport skipper Gary Warren before unerringly finding the bottom corner of the net with a low strike for his fifth goal in as many games.
City looked set to run away with the game but they had looked uncertain from set pieces all night and handed Newport a lifeline seven minutes later. Darryl Knights' corner from the left was missed by keeper Matthews and Warren - a teacher in Bath by day - was able to nod home from six yards.
That prompted a change in momentum as Newport took control of the game, helped by the strong wind blowing towards the Bath end, but City somehow managed to hang on to the lead.
Newport's newfound dominance prompted Adie Britton to take off Murray - arguably the game's star player - and send on Alex Russell to bolster the midfield, while Jake Harris and Elliott Buchanan came on to increase the visitors' attacking options.
Newport's changes had the most visible effect and they continued to pile on the pressure but City held firm, with luck playing its part in the 75th minute when David Pipe's deflected shot dropped onto the roof of the net.
City attacks were few and far between but Sean Canham had a glorious chance to kill the game off eight minutes from time after being played through by Marc Canham, only for Newport keeper Danny Potter to race off his line and block at his feet.
However, most of the play remained at the other end and Newport looked certain to equalise with four minutes to go when Buchanan fired the ball across the six-yard box but it somehow eluded two of his team-mates.
Matthews also redeemed himself for his two earlier errors as he saved at close range from Knights with 30 seconds to go as City held on for a vital victory.