Blue Square Bet Premier
Tuesday 24 January 2012 - Twerton Park - kick off 7.45pm
||Garner, Simpson, Gallinagh, Jones (c), Burnell, Murray, M Canham, Connolly, Hogg (Phillips 49), Russell, S Canham. subs not used: Stonehouse, Rollo, Preece, Cook.
|man of the match:
||Hogg (46), Murray (60)
||Jones (58), S Canham (58)
||S Bratt (Walsall), M Derrien (Dorchester), B Knight (Waterlooville)
|league position: 24th
||next match: Wrexham (A)
Report taken from
Bath City's survival hopes were dealt a potentially self-inflicted mortal blow as an own goal, two red cards and a late double helped fellow strugglers Alfreton Town leave Twerton Park with three precious points.
Adie Britton's men knew nothing less than victory would do if they were to avoid being cut adrift at the bottom of the table but they self destructed, particularly around the hour mark when both Gethin Jones and Sean Canham were sent off.
Jones saw red for a two-footed tackle on Anthony Wilson, although he did appear to win the ball, and then Canham appeared to throw the ball at referee Stephen Bratt in the ensuing melee, earning him an early bath too.
City were 1-0 down at the time, Adam Connolly having unfortunately diverted a long throw into his own net, and had frustratingly been denied a leveller by three outstanding saves from Alfreton keeper Daniel Lowson.
The result leaves City seven points adrift of Alfreton, while Hayes & Yeading United also opened up a gap on the bottom side by beating stricken Darlington.
City boss Britton made two changes to the team which lost 6-0 at Grimsby Town on Saturday, with goalkeeper Jason Matthews being dropped from the matchday 16.
Glyn Garner started in goal for the first time since November's FA Cup exit to Dagenham & Redbridge, while Alex Russell replaced the more defensive Paul Stonehouse in midfield.
Unsurprisingly, with so much at stake and both teams languishing in the relegation zone, the game got off to an uninspiring start with Scott Murray producing the only moment of quality when he raced to the byline and cut the ball back to Canham, whose shot was blocked.
City were looking unsteady at the back and almost paid the price when a long ball down the left found Nathan Arnold in acres of space. He cut into the box but, rather than wait for reinforcements, elected to shoot and saw his shot blocked by Garner at the near post.
That attack seemed to give Alfreton confidence, though, and a spell of pressure ended with the visitors being gifted a 17th-minute lead. A long throw into the City box was allowed to bounce and hit the unfortunate Adam Connolly in the midriff before deflecting into the net.
It was precisely what the home side did not need and it took them quite a while to clear their heads, with miscued passes belying the team's lack of confidence.
It took a crunching midfield tackle by Marc Canham to lift the home side and fans, with Murray latching on to the loose ball and firing in a shot which was blocked. The subsequent corner was only half cleared to Russell, who unleashed a magnificent dipping volley which had to be tipped over the bar.
Alfreton keeper Daniel Lowson made an even better save moments later, racing off his line and thrusting a strong arm up to deflect Murray's goalbound shot behind after the dangerous winger had got behind the visiting defence.
But that was nothing compared to his save on the stroke of half-time. It looked an equaliser all ends up when Jones nodded down a free-kick for Sean Canham to flick goalwards but Lowson threw himself low to his right to somehow push the ball off the line.
It was all adding up to a frustrating evening for the home team and Lewis Hogg showed signs of simmering over when he was booked for an altercation with Leigh Franks just after the interval.
That was to be Hogg's last involvement as he was swiftly replaced by Lee Phillips as Britton decided not to risk his midfielder's infamous - but, to be fair, much improved this season - temperament.
However, that move did not prevent the game boiling over. A number of uncompromising Alfreton challenges had gone unpunished by ref Bratt before he decided that Jones had lunged in two-footed on Wilson just outside the Alfreton box.
Bratt took his time to make the decision but when it came, it infuriated Sean Canham who threw the ball at the referee. It hit team-mate Russell instead but the gesture was more than enough to earn the City striker a straight red.
Unsurprisingly, City offered very little threat after that, although they did keep plugging away. Garner also made two fine saves to prevent substitute Paul Clayton making it 2-0 to the visitors.
However, the keeper pushed Clayton over in the box two minutes from time and Nathan Jarman rifled home the resulting penalty to complete City's misery.