Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 28 January 2012 - Racecourse Ground - kick off 3.00pm
||Garner, Simpson, Stonehouse, Murray (Watkins 16), Connolly, Phillips (Cook77), Preece, Canham, Burnell (c) (Rollo 90), Russell, Gallinagh. subs not used: Matthews.
|man of the match:
|league position: 24th
||next match: Grimsby T (FAT) (A)
Report taken from
Bath City remain anchored to the foot of the Blue Square Bet Premier table – and are now ten points adrift of safety – after suffering a third defeat on the trot at title-chasing Wrexham.
Boss Adie Britton's view after the match was that at times his side were "excellent", despite yet again failing to deliver a result to match their performance.
The loss of captain Gethin Jones, Lewis Hogg and top-scorer Sean Canham, all suspended following the midweek debacle against Alfreton, meant a makeshift City side lined up at the Racecourse Ground. Joe Burnell and Mark Preece were the centre-back pairing, Paul Stonehouse was recalled on the left of midfield and Lee Phillips started as the lone forward.
Perhaps due to the changes or that they were up against one of the division's two runaway pace-setters, City began somewhat slowly and found themselves under pressure from the Wrexham forwards.
It wasn't until the tenth minute that the visitors even ventured out of their own half when a good move between Stonehouse and Andy Gallinagh ended with the former's tame shot.
Just three minutes later the visitors fell behind. Curtis Obeng broke down the right and played a one-two with Jake Speight before firing home an unstoppable shot to register his first league goal of the season.
Somehow, instead of heralding the inevitability of defeat, it almost seemed to liberate City who, at first hesitantly and then with a growing confidence, poured forward. Even the loss of the ebullient Scott Murray to a hamstring injury just after the goal did little to dampen their attacking enthusiasm.
Stonehouse put in a long-range cross-shot which keeper Joslain Mayebi did well to tip over his bar. Marley Watkins, on as a substitute for Murray, then seized on a Wrexham defensive error to again bring out a fine save from the burly home keeper.
On 28 minutes came City's best chance of the game. A long throw from Glyn Garner found Marc Canham on the halfway line and his perfect pass freed Watkins to run through the centre before expertly rounding Mayebi. With the keeper stranded, Watkins, who by now had been pushed wide, put in a shot which Jay Harris did well to clear off the line.
However, in what had rapidly become an entertaining and very open game, it was not all one-way traffic. Speight brought a fine save from Garner just before Watkins' chance at the other end and the same player again almost doubled Wrexham's lead when he just failed to connect with a cross from Jamie Tolley.
Britton later confessed was that his team talk at half-time had called for City to keep it tight because "they will come at you in the opening stages of the half".
He was so right – but sadly City didn't and Wrexham did.
Just after the restart the ball was played into the edge of the visitors' 18-yard box and, following a clumsy challenge by Preece, Wrexham were awarded a penalty. There was little protest and little chance of a save as Speight's powerful spot-kick swept past Garner.
From City's perspective it killed the game and although they enjoyed plenty of possession and finished the stronger of the two sides, the best of the remaining chances lay with the Welsh team.
Just before the hour mark Garner raced of his line to make a good interception from Harris and minutes later was again called into action to make a superb diving save, tipping a powerful shot from Tolley round his upright.
In the end, Wrexham did enough without ever looking very impressive while City matched them in midfield but lacked the punch upfront that they so desperately need.
With both Murray and Burnell limping off it could be a threadbare side that faces an equally high-flying Grimsby in the last 16 of the FA Trophy next Saturday.