FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
Saturday 22 September 2012 - Homers Heath - kick off 3.00pm
||Garner, Cummings, Brown (Preece 74), Burnell (Ball 44), Jones (c), Rollo, Connolly, Canham (Keats 58), Griffin, Guthrie, Allen. subs not used: Harris, Morgan, Mellor, Norris.
|man of the match:
||Brown (58), Guthrie (75)
||S Knapp (Bristol), S Glyde (Cheltenham), R Cockle (Bristol)
|league position: n/a
||next match: Boreham Wood (H)
Report by Kevin Porter
Bath City came back from a goal down to ensure their passage into the next round of the FA Cup with a narrow victory over Western League Premier Division Buckland Athletic. It was a nervy afternoon which saw City take a long time to exert their superiority against an in form and confident Devon side, whose play for long periods during the match belied the difference in league status between the two clubs.
The game took place in pleasant sunny conditions on a good surface and it was Bath who showed first, creating an opening in the very first minute. The ball reached Charlie Griffin inside the home box following flicks from both Kurtis Guthrie and Adam Connolly, but the striker’s angled looping effort dropped on to the roof of the net.
The hosts began to find their passing touch, and Glyn Garner was forced into an excellent diving save in the 8th minute, when Dean Stevens struck a low shot towards the bottom corner from 20 yards. The same player tried his luck again from similar distance a minute later but, this time, his shot was under hit allowing Garner to field the ball comfortably.
Buckland goalkeeper, Kenny Griffiths, failed to deal effectively with a cross into his box on 10 minutes and, when Aaron Brown clipped the loose ball goalwards, it was headed off the line by Karl Green. Griffin was then fouled on the edge of the home penalty area, and Brown’s curling free kick beat the defensive wall, but Griffiths saved well at the foot of his post.
Griffin picked up a pass from Chris Allen in the 14th minute, worked his way across the face of the goal, only to fire his eventual effort against the post with Griffiths beaten. Marc Canham’s free kick six minutes later from a useful position drifted harmlessly over the Athletic crossbar.
The Bucks were enjoying their share of possession to this point without seriously troubling the City goal. A good move on 25 minutes created a chance for Simon Revell, but the midfielder blazed his shot high and wide from 20 yards out.
With Bath struggling to put any consistent passing movement together, the hosts continued to push forward at every opportunity and, with 6 minutes left on the clock, Jamie Mudge fired wastefully wide of Garner’s goal, but the forward should have given his side the lead on 43 minutes. Luke Cummings was robbed by Danny Gaze out wide on City’s right, and the full back delivered a dangerous low cross into the box, which Mudge somehow managed to lift over the bar from inside the 6 yard box.
Buckland commenced the second period in lively mood and deservedly took the lead in the 51st minute. A partially cleared free kick was returned into the City box from the left, and the prolific Gavin Hammon made no mistake with his rasping low drive into the bottom corner of the net.
City were clearly stunned by this setback and, for a short spell, they appeared devoid of ideas of how to regain a foothold in the game. However, they drew level on 59 minutes following an incisive move, as the ball eventually reached Brown on the left wing. The wingback took the pass in his stride 25 yards from goal and drilled a thunderous low drive inside the near post, beating Griffiths’ despairing dive.
This gave The Romans a massive boost and they began to put the home defense under increasing pressure, driven on by Noah Keats, who had now replaced Canham. Griffin’s looping header from Cummings’ cross was held by Griffiths under his crossbar, and Connolly’s shot was deflected behind for a corner by Ben Carter, after the midfielder had turned adeptly inside Athletic’s box.
Guthrie nodded just wide of the post after reaching a deep cross in the 70th minute, but City finally forged in front a minute later. Cummings produced another searching cross from the right, and Guthrie made no mistake as he planted his header into the far corner of the net.
The home team fought gamely to find a response, and came close when Mike Booth glanced a header wide of Garner’s post following an in-swinging corner kick from the left. It was the Blue Square Bet South side, however, who were now showing the greater composure and they succeeded in comfortably snuffing out any attacks the hosts could muster. The closest Buckland came to an equaliser was Gaze’s drive from 20 yards that was always rising over Garner’s bar.
At the other end, Connolly’s effort from the point of the box was easily gathered by Griffiths, as was Griffin’s scuffed shot in the 89th minute but, by this stage, the mission had been accomplished by the visitors.
There is no doubt that this was not an easy ride for Adie Britton’s men. Buckland gave a very good account of themselves and, for those in attendance, it was clear to see why they have enjoyed such a successful start to the season. Their passing and movement would certainly not look out of place in a higher division than that in which they currently ply their trade, and they can take great encouragement from their performance today, albeit they visibly tired in the final 15 minutes. For City’s part, they showed their greater prowess as the game wore on, will regard this as a job done, and feel relief that a proverbial banana skin has been overcome.