Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 21 April 2012 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Garner, Simpson, Gallinagh, Preece, Jones (c) (Rollo 52), Connolly, M Canham, Russell, Watkins, Murray (Hogg 80), S Canham (Smith 61). subs not used: Cook, Stonehouse.
|man of the match:
||Connolly (4), M Canham (pen 8), Gallinagh (13), S Canham (55)
||S Bratt (Walsall), K Howick (Abingdon), S Phipps (Abingdon)
|league position: 23rd
||next match: Alfreton Town (A)
Report taken from
Bath City produced their best display of the season to finish the Blue Square Bet Premier home campaign with an impressive win against Gateshead, hauling themselves off the foot of the table in the process.
A devastating opening saw already relegated City sign off at Twerton Park - which will be known as Mayday Trust Park next term - in perfect fashion as they led by three early goals thanks to Adam Connolly, Marc Canham's penalty and Andy Gallinagh.
Sean Canham added a fourth for Adie Britton's side in the second half before Gateshead, who still had an outside chance of a play-off spot before kick-off, raised hopes of a fightback when Micky Cummins and Liam Hatch found the net.
Both goals only arrived once the hosts began to feel the effect of their efforts in the opening hour, however, and following Kettering's draw with Barrow, City rose from the bottom of the standings for the first time since late August.
In his final game in the West Country ahead of his retirement at the end of the season, City's Scott Murray was at his influential best. He had a hand in three of his side's goals and helped put the hosts ahead with their first attack.
The winger's deep cross from the right was not dealt with by Craig Baxter, allowing the sublime Alex Russell to work the ball back into the box. Ben Clark headed off the line but only as far as Connolly, who smashed in via the post.
City's lead was doubled soon after when Russell played in Marley Watkins, who was tripped from behind by Clark after surging into the Gateshead box. Referee Stephen Bratt, familiar to the hosts after sending off two City players in January's costly home defeat to Alfreton, surprisingly opted not to produce a card when he pointed to the spot, from which Marc Canham fired past Tim Deasy.
Murray's trickery on the left created City's third goal after just 13 minutes when he danced past Baxter and into the box before back-heeling to Andy Gallinagh, who rifled a powerful effort into the far corner of the net.
Sean Canham should have added a fourth immediately after when Murray hurried Deasy into a miscued clearance. The ball fell at the feet of the on-loan striker but he could only fire into the side netting when well placed.
Gateshead boss Ian Bogie rang the changes but it did little to stem City's dominance. Murray was denied his fairytale goal by a superb Paul Dummett challenge, while Sean Canham headed inches over following Marc Canham's cross before the break.
Sean Canham finally did find the net ten minutes into the second half when he rose highest to meet Murray's inch-perfect cross to the back post.
Russell then played in Murray, who shot straight at Deasy but, having threatened to run away with the contest, the hosts suddenly ran out of steam.
Gateshead began to dominate proceedings and Kris Gate was given too much space in the home box, with his low cross bundled home by Cummins with 18 minutes to play.
Hatch then ensured City's fans had their hearts in their mouths for the remainder of the contest after pulling a second goal back when Glyn Garner could only palm Alan O'Brien's powerful low cross into his path.
Murray was replaced by Lewis Hogg for the final ten minutes and the winger's standing ovation seemed to inspire the home side as they comfortably saw the game out without further trouble to leapfrog Kettering at the bottom of the table.
Much of the current campaign has been a tale of disappointment for City but, if they can follow this result with a final flourish at Alfreton next Saturday, it will give them and their fans a huge boost ahead of next season's Blue Square Bet South battle.