Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 18 February 2012 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Garner, Simpson, Gallinagh, Jones, Preece (Shephard 81), Watkins, Burnell (c) (M Canham 62), Connolly, Hogg, Phillips, S Canham. subs not used: Stonehouse, Rollo, Doherty.
|man of the match:
||Jones (61), S Canham (90+7)
||W Barratt (Bromsgrove), A Quelch (Reading), J Law (Worcester)
|league position: 24th
||next match: Hayes & Yeading (H)
Report taken from
Ten-man Ebbsfleet United scored two breakaway goals inside the last ten minutes to push rock-bottom Bath City closer to the drop.
The home side had recovered from conceding a woeful early goal to draw level and were looking to capitalise on a red card for visiting keeper Preston Edwards when they committed too many men forward, allowing sub Ricky Shakes to restore Ebbsfleet's lead.
Gozie Ugwu then punished a poor back pass to make it 3-1 in the 90th minute, meaning Sean Canham's fine strike in the seventh minute of injury-time was little consolation.
It was the latest in a long line of 'if onlys' for City, who squandered several chances and had a clear penalty turned down before succumbing to a 20th defeat of the season.
It was a must-win game for City, as evidenced by Adie Britton's decision to deploy strikers Lee Phillips and Canham in the starting line-up for the first time since November 5.
Gethin Jones and Lewis Hogg also came into the team, at the expense of Paul Stonehouse and Marc Canham, while new signing Tommy Doherty had to make do with a place on the bench.
However, despite making a positive start to the game, City once again found themselves facing an uphill battle as they once again gifted the opposition a soft goal.
Just eight minutes had gone when an Ebbsfleet attack ended with a mis-hit shot running tamely through to Glyn Garner. The keeper dived on the ball, only to watch in horror as it squirmed under his body on the slippery surface, allowing Gozie Ugwu to tee up Nathaniel Pinney for a simple finish into the empty net.
It was the latest in a long line of defensive calamities for City, who have kept just one clean sheet in the Blue Square Bet Premier this season.
The rest of the half was like Groundhog Day for City as well, as they went on to have the better possession and opportunities without being able to forge an equaliser.
Sean Canham was flagged offside when he tapped home Marley Watkins' cross-shot at the back post, while both Hogg and Phillips sliced shots wide with just the keeper to beat after the ball had deflected perfectly into their paths.
Andy Gallinagh also saw an eight-yard volley ricochet over from a corner, while City could feel very aggrieved not to have been given a penalty when shaky Ebbsfleet keeper Edwards seemed to bring down Phillips in the box.
Adding to City's frustrations was the fact that referee Wayne Barratt had awarded a very dodgy injury-time penalty against them last month for Braintree, which robbed Britton's men of a vital victory.
Ebbsfleet threatened occasionally on the break and almost doubled their lead when, from a set-piece, the ball broke for Calum Willock but Garner made some amends for his earlier error by producing an outstanding block at the striker's feet.
City came out for the second half early, aware of its importance, and had another sight of goal in the 51st minute when Watkins' drilled cross found Sean Canham unmarked at the back post. However, he attempted to chest the ball down but saw it squirm away from him and go out for a goal-kick.
The equaliser finally arrived in the 62nd minute. Phillips' shot was deflected behind for a corner, which was swung into the box by Hogg. Ebbsfleet could only clear the ball back to the City midfielder, whose teasing cross was emphatically headed home by Jones.
And City were really handed the initiative five minutes later when visiting keeper Edwards was sent off in a needless incident. Moments after Ebbsfleet had a couple of penalty appeals waved away, Sean Canham went down in the centre circle.
While the striker was receiving treatment, Edwards raced out of his box to remonstrate with the referee. He also appeared to throw a punch at a City player and was immediately shown a red card.
Ebbsfleet took off Liam Enver-Marum and sent on replacement keeper Tom McNeil, who was almost beaten by Adam Connolly's dipping volley within minutes of coming on the pitch.
City had an even better chance to take the lead 12 minutes from time when Hogg's dangerous corner dropped inside the six-yard box but was prodded just wide by Mark Preece during a melee.
However, City's desire to grab a winner ended up costing them another goal. Right-back Sekani Simpson did brilliantly to get to the byline and put in a cross which evaded everyone.
Ebbsfleet immediately launched the ball into the space Simpson had left free and Shakes - just three minutes after coming on as a substitute - burst clear before smashing an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner.
And Ugwu inflicted more misery in stoppage time when he latched onto a poor back pass and rounded Garner before rolling the ball into the empty net.
There was seven minutes of injury-time played in total, with Canham pulling one back with virtually the last kick of the game after being teed up by Shephard.