FA Trophy 2nd Round
Saturday 14 January 2012 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Matthews, Simpson, Jones (c), Burnell, Stonehouse, Murray (Phillips 85), Connolly, M Canham, Russell, Hogg (Cook 46), S Canham. subs not used: Garner, Rollo.
|man of the match:
||S Canham (23)
||R Merchant (Stoke), M D'Aguilar (Cannock), S Brown (Redditch)
|league position: n/a
||next match: Grimsby Town (A)
Report taken from
Sean Canham's first-half header proved just enough for Bath City as they reached the last 16 of the FA Trophy for the first time since 1996.
The on-loan Hereford striker has now scored in each of his three appearances since his return from Edgar Street at the start of the month, with this afternoon's winner worth an extremely welcome £6,000 to the hosts in prize money.
And City's second-round success over Blue Square Bet South outfit Basingstoke Town means they stand only three victories away from a far greater reward – the club's first-ever trip to Wembley.
To achieve that, they will have to pass stiffer tests than the one posed by a determined Basingstoke side, who almost punished City for yet more wastefulness in front of goal with an equaliser in a the closing stages.
Adie Britton's men were worth their victory on the basis of their first-half performance, however, and had they gone in more than a single goal in front at the break they would surely have run out far more comfortable victors.
With Marley Watkins suffering an ankle injury in training on Thursday and Mark Preece cup-tied, Britton was only able to name four substitutes for the game.
Scott Murray returned in place of Watkins after missing last Saturday's draw with Braintree on compassionate grounds and should have stretched his scoring run to six successive matches in the second minute. Adam Connolly's through ball was weighted perfectly for the veteran winger, who raced clean through but could only drag his shot wide of the target with only keeper Ashley Bayes to beat.
City went into the tie as odds-on favourites to progress but, given their dismal recent record in the competition, could take nothing for granted and were handed a reminder soon afterwards when Jason Matthews was twice forced into good saves to deny ex-Torquay frontman Tim Sills. First, the home keeper parried a low shot from the striker after Nathan Smart crossed from the left, before grabbing his firm header at the second attempt from the resulting corner.
Murray's 30-yard free-kick was deflected wide by the Basingstoke wall as City began to assert their authority, before Hogg's overhead kick dropped wide and Bayes easily held a dipping long-range effort from Alex Russell.
The goal the hosts were threatening arrived in the 23rd minute – and in some style. Sean Canham's flick set Russell free on the left and the striker took up a position in the area before expertly nodding his team-mate's inch-perfect centre into the far corner of Bayes' net.
City had numerous opportunities to all but finish the contest before the interval but could not find a second goal. Murray shot wide before twice setting up Russell, who fired straight at Bayes before seeing an effort ricochet behind for a corner. Goalscorer Canham's touch let him down when he failed to control Hogg's pass as City players queued up on the edge of the Basingstoke box.
Jamie Cook, whose only City goal came in the last round of the Trophy at Chelmsford, replaced Hogg at the start of the second period and the ubiquitous Murray wasted little time in warming Bayes' palms with a low drive from 20 yards.
He curled a shot over from a decent position just before the hour mark after Paul Stonehouse bustled his way into the box on the left and then threaded a ball into the area that Russell, at full stretch, just failed to touch home from the penalty spot.
As the clock ticked down, Basingstoke began to grow in confidence and tested the City defence in a nervy final 20 minutes.
A header from the dangerous Sills was held by Matthews before City went desperately close to doubling their advantage a minute later. Sean Canham's header from another Murray cross was brilliantly headed off the line by Rob Rice and, when the ball was returned to the danger zone from the left by Russell, Cook completely missed his kick from six yards out.
Sean Canham squandered another opening with a poor cross after being found in space by Cook and then Connolly had a fierce effort from the edge of the area blocked by a defender.
With three minutes to go, Delano Sam-Yorke was put in the clear by fellow substitute Simon Dunn but let City off the hook when he failed to test Matthews with a wayward shot.
Rice then made a second last-ditch intervention to deny Sean Canham, sliding in to nick the ball from the striker's toes after substitute Lee Phillips – on for Murray – rolled it across goal.
City were handed a couple of scares either side of the 90-minute mark. Stuart Lake went down under a challenge from Matthews but had his penalty claims waved away by referee Robert Marchant, who awarded a corner instead. After City failed to clear it, an unmarked Sills thumped Matthew Warner's driven left-wing cross high and wide at the far post.
The hosts survived to record their first clean sheet in 13 matches, booking their place in Monday lunchtime's third-round draw in the process.