Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 31 March 2012 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Garner, Simpson (Jones 46), Gallinagh, Burnell (c), Preece, Watkins (Murray 68), Connolly, M Canham (Hogg 64), Russell, Stonehouse, Cook. subs not used: Egan, Rollo.
|man of the match:
||Hopkins, Cook, Lavelle
|league position: 24th
||next match: Tamworth (A)
Report taken from
Fleetwood Town showed why they are on course for a Football League place as they produced a classy performance at Twerton Park to run out comfortable 4-1 winners.
Rock-bottom Bath City were never given a sniff of an upset by the table-toppers, although they did battle away - particularly during the second half - and grabbed a late consolation goal through Adam Connolly.
Adie Britton, whose team went into the game 71 points adrift of the visitors, made just one change to the starting XI from Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to York City.
Marley Watkins replaced Scott Murray, who was joined on the bench by Gethin Jones after the defender shrugged off the effects of a midweek illness.
Fleetwood arrived at Twerton Park on the back of a 25-match unbeaten run in the league and immediately signalled their intention to stretch that by taking an 11th-minute lead.
Unsurprisingly it was Jamie Vardy - the Conference's leading scorer - who provided the breakthrough, lifting the ball over the advancing Glyn Garner and into the net after being played through by Lee Fowler's incisive pass.
It was a fine goal for the visitors and they went on to dominate the remainder of the first half, bossing both possession and territory.
However, the second goal proved elusive for a while, with Jamie McGuire having a header from a corner disallowed following a foul on Garner before somehow missing a tap-in from underneath the crossbar after an excellent cross from Shaun Beeley.
Fleetwood's second finally arrived nine minutes before half-time. A short corner was played via Fowler to Peter Cavanagh, whose low shot from the edge of the box went through a crowd of players and past Garner before the keeper could really react.
City had been thoroughly outplayed by an excellent team in the first half and Britton made a defensive change for the second half, with Jones coming on for right-back Sekani Simpson.
The hosts also produced their first chance of note ten minutes into the second period, with Jamie Cook dragging a snap-shot wide under pressure after Watkins' scuffed effort fell into his path.
Indeed, City were looking more competitive in general and Murray, shortly after coming on for Watkins, had a sight of goal after getting behind the Fleetwood defence but he was forced to shoot from 20 yards and pulled his effort well wide.
That chance came a couple of minutes after Fleetwood replacement Richard Brodie was denied a goal by a fine header off the line from former Crawley Town team-mate Jamie Cook.
However, Fleetwood's third arrived in the 73rd minute when a long cross-field pass found the rampaging Beeley down the right and his instant low cross was bundled home by Vardy, although defender Andy Gallinagh may have got the final touch.
And it 4-0 five minutes later when Brodie was gifted the ball 35 yards out and he was able to surge into space before slotting the ball past Garner with ease.
It was a terrible goal to give away but City kept their heads up and, moments after sub Lewis Hogg had stung visiting keeper Scott Davies's hands with a fierce shot, Connolly headed home a chipped cross from Cook to provide some consolation.
And only a stunning save from Davies prevented them pulling another goal back when Murray's free-kick went through to Burnell, whose well-struck shot from six yards was somehow pushed over the bar.
Despite their fight, City's battle against relegation could be over by Tuesday should Newport County - who beat Gateshead 1-0 today - pick up three points against York City.