Blue Square Bet South
Saturday 8 December 2012 - New Lodge - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Rollo (Cummings 77), Ball, Jones (c), Preece, Connolly, Keats, Nichols, Allen, Griffin (S Canham 65), Morgan (M Canham 84). subs not used: Garner, Burnell.
|man of the match:
||A Degnarain, T Donnellan, J Panconi
|league position: 8th
||next match: Havant (A)
Report taken from
Bath City remain just three points outside the Blue Square Bet South play-off places despite crashing to a two-goal defeat in Essex.
The visitors were left with the bitter taste of defeat after a game they did not deserve to lose and, for long periods, looked capable of winning.
Early fears that the game may be called off due to frost were soon dispelled by bright sunshine, although it left a pitch that made Lansdown Playing Fields look like Wembley. On an under-prepared, boggy in places and decidedly bumpy surface, it was little surprise that the home side had all the early possession.
Billericay, it must be said, play an unsophisticated form of football. Physical and relying on speed and strength, it took City some time to come to terms with both the conditions and the hosts' tactics. The main threat came either from long balls played up to frontman Charlie Taylor or, when that failed, the throw of Paul Rodgers, which at times easily reached the City penalty spot
However, after the quarter-hour mark City got much more into their stride and Tom Nicholls went for an ambitious lob with keeper Nathan McDonald only just off his line.
Player/coach Jim Rollo returned to a reshuffled visiting side - with changes forced on the City management team through the absence of the ill Aaron Brown and hamstring injury victim Josh Low – and had to produce a diving tackle to halt Anderson after he cut inside from the right.
City's best move of the half came on 25 minutes when Noah Keats released the recalled Kerry Morgan on the left and he put in a great cross which saw Charlie Griffin's shot well saved. Chris Allen then went close and Adam Connolly saw a piledriver from about 25 yards cannon off the home defence.
However, City did not have it all their own way. Just before the half-hour mark a long-range shot from Sam Lechemere went wide, while Taylor hit the side-netting from Jay May's good pass.
It should have served as a warning to City as five minutes before the interval a simple cross from Alex Cerdeira evaded the defence and allowed May to head home.
City played the better football at the start of the second half, despite the surface, with Morgan revelling in the space on the left, together with good support from midfield. On 53 minutes the ball was neatly passed across the field, from Nichols to Griffin and then on to Morgan, whose cross to Griffin was just touched behind at the near post.
However, despite being on the defensive for much of the time, Billericay still looked dangerous on the break, with Morgan and Danny Ball leaving room for Junior Luke to exploit. Twice he made good runs, although on both occasions his crosses were well taken by an increasingly confident Jason Mellor.
With Griffin clearly tiring on the heavy surface, Sean Canham arrived to replace him and ten minutes later the substitute was involved in probably the turning point of the game. With City increasingly running rampant, Morgan again cut loose down the left flank and put in a perfect cross for the unmarked striker, who could only fire against keeper McDonald.
Allen hit an upright just seconds later but after that City's pressure eased. Billericay began to come back into the game and then killed it dead with a goal three minutes from time.
Canham conceded two free-kicks in quick succession, the second some 30 yards out on the left of the City goal. The ball came across the area and the otherwise impeccable Mellor called for it but failed to get there, leaving Rob Swaine to head home.