Blue Square Bet South
Saturday 16 March 2013 - Mayday Trust Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Simpson, Brown, Ball, Jones (c), Burnell (Lennox 69), Connolly, Allen (Low 45), Charles, Griffin (Morgan 73), Keats.
subs not used: Rollo, Knowles.
|man of the match:
||Jones (9), Keats (90+3)
||J Brooks, M Billingham, A Howson
|league position: 15th
||next match: Welling Utd (H)
Report taken from
Noah Keats grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser as Bath City ended a run of three successive defeats with a hard-earned draw against Chelmsford City in awful weather conditions.
The Mayday Trust Park pitch was not in a good condition at the end of play as hailstones sat on a churned-up surface
The hosts had taken a ninth-minute lead through skipper Gethin Jones but found themselves pegged back by Justin Miller's left-foot rocket before a moment of good fortune for Michael Bakere put the visitors ahead on the stroke of half-time.
Director of football Adie Britton was back at Mayday Trust Park to watch the action, having been ill for three weeks with pneumonia, while midfielder Joe Burnell returned to the starting XI for the first time since having his appendix removed.
Loan striker Elliott Chamberlain was still absent through injury, though, while the visitors were only able to name a full bench at the last minute after Donovan Simmonds passed a late fitness test.
The game went ahead despite torrential overnight rain and heavy showers just before kick-off. Referee John Brooks almost called it off at 2pm but Chelmsford, having made the long journey from Essex, were keen for the match to be played and City agreed.
The pitch churned up and the ball was unsurprisingly slippery, causing a relatively routine Robert Edmans header to squirm away from City keeper Jason Mellor in the opening stages but Jones was on hand to clear the danger.
And the home skipper was also in the right place at the right time to open the scoring after nine minutes. Chelmsford allowed a low free-kick to skid across the six-yard box and Jones' shot took a deflection past the wrong-footed keeper.
The visitors almost produced a wonderful reply midway through the first half when Joe White's raking pass picked out Jack Ainsley, whose first-time cross was headed goalwards by Kyle Vassell but Mellor got down brilliantly to his left to make a fine save.
But the keeper could only stand and watch in the 33rd minute as Miller unleashed a 25-yard rocket with his left foot which nestled in the bottom corner before Mellor could move.
City almost restored their lead when a Keats cross from the left caused a tangle of legs in the box between City's Ryan Charles and defender Kenny Clark. The home striker managed to divert the ball towards goal but it went just wide of the near post.
Play went straight down the other end and Dan Ball had to hack a dangerous Aiden Palmer cross - not the first of the game - off the line but City's luck ran out in injury-time as they conceded a bizarre second.
Both Ball and Jones attempted to clear a scuffed shot from Bakere but only succeeded in hitting it back against the Chelmsford striker, with the ball hitting the post before rolling over the line.
City head coach Lee Howells was clearly unhappy with how things had changed around, sending his team out early for the second half and replacing the ineffectual Chris Allen with Josh Low.
He demonstrated his threat on the hour mark as he left full-back Palmer trailing with a surging run down the right but his cross had just too much height for Charles, whose back-post header went high and wide.
That came just moments after Charles had also provided an inviting cross from the right which strike partner Charlie Griffin couldn't quite divert goalwards at full stretch.
Burnell's return from injury lasted 69 minutes until he was replaced by young winger Joe Lennox as City tried to find an inventive spark.
Kerry Morgan was also introduced for Griffin soon after, meaning the returning Jim Rollo will have to wait until at least Tuesday's home match against Welling United for some game-time.
Chelmsford who looked threatening whenever they went forward and Palmer should have wrapped the points up 12 minutes from time but, when given a clear sight of goal, the marauding left-back scuffed his shot wide.
Visiting keeper Stuart Searle was called into action for the first time in the half when he pushed Aaron Brown's near-post shot round the post. The subsequent corner led to a goalmouth scramble in the six-yard box but Chelmsford somehow hacked the ball off the line.
Play went straight down the other end and Bakare found himself clean through on goal but dragged his shot well off target.
The closing minutes were played in a hail storm which was so heavy that bits of ice were coming through the roof of the main stand. It didn't stop City pushing but they often took too many touches when a first-time shot or pass was the better option.
However, they were finally awarded in the third minute on injury-time when Low picked up the ball on the right and beat two defenders before standing up a cross which Keats gleefully headed home.