Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 17 March - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Garner, Gallinagh, Preece, Jones (c), Stonehouse, Watkins (Murray 62), M Canham, Connolly, Burnell (Hogg 73), Cook (Russell 67), S Canham. subs not used: Rollo, Egan.
|man of the match:
||M Canham (pen 2), Watkins (4)
||Cook (45), Hogg (82)
||A Davies (Southampton), D Jacecko (Swindon), M Rushton (Pewsey)
|league position: 24th
||next match: Gateshead (A)
Report taken from
Bath City's blistering start saw off the threat of fellow strugglers Lincoln City in a crucial Blue Square Bet Premier relegation battle at Twerton Park.
The home side picked up where they left off following their maiden away victory of the campaign at Barrow 11 days earlier, grabbing two goals in the opening four minutes to make it back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Marc Canham's penalty and Marley Watkins' close-range finish gave Adie Britton's side a comfortable advantage and, although the Imps heaped pressure on the hosts' back-line after the break, they had just Danny Lloyd's strike to show for their efforts.
City were given the perfect start when Watkins robbed Jean-Francois Christophe of the ball before racing goalwards after just two minutes. Robbie Williams hauled the home winger down in the box, allowing Canham to power the resulting penalty past Joe Anyon.
Watkins himself was on the scoresheet two minutes later with a skilful finish. Canham's deep free-kick was headed across goal, where Watkins was first to react, back-heeling the ball under the diving Anyon and into the net.
If the first five minutes were sensational, the following 40 were simply turgid as City's usual free-flowing game deserted them. The visitors had the majority of play but rarely threatened to reduce the deficit before the break.
City stopper Glyn Garner was the star performer as he tipped efforts from Jamie Taylor, Paul Robson and Alan Power either around the post or over the bar, while Richard Pacquette wasted Lincoln's best effort. The much-travelled Imps striker was too strong for Paul Stonehouse, barging the full-back off the ball in the City box, but he could not keep his effort down.
The message from visiting boss David Holdsworth was clear from the start of the second half and they went close to cutting the deficit just three minutes after the restart. Power's corner was hooked back across goal by Josh Gowling, where Williams' header was cleared off the line by Stonehouse.
The hosts responded to the danger and a sliding Sean Canham should have put the game to bed when he met Adam Connolly's cross in the six-yard box. City's top scorer could only fire wide, however, with just Anyon to beat.
Lincoln took advantage of their let-off and thought they had pulled a goal back soon after. Mark McCammon's drive across goal was cleared by Andy Gallinagh but only as far as Jake Sheridan and his follow-up was again blocked on the line by Stonehouse, with the visitors voicing their displeasure to the officials.
The goal Lincoln had threatened finally arrived with a quarter of an hour to play, setting up an exciting finale. Lloyd stole possession from Marc Canham before skipping past several challenges and rifling past Garner from the edge of the box.
Sean Canham thought he had eased the hosts' nerves when he headed Scott Murray's cross past Anyon from close range but referee Andy Davies deemed he had pushed John Nutter when climbing for the ball. The decision mattered little, though, as the visitors did not threaten again, allowing City to collect the much-needed points.
City's prospects of survival remain bleak – they are still nine points from safety and the 20th-placed Imps – but maintaining this sort of form could easily bring them back into contention.
Tuesday night's trip to Gateshead will be a tough ask for Britton's side but, if they return home with three more points, the great escape will be firmly on the cards.