Blue Square Bet South
Saturday 20 April 2013 - Wheatsheaf Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Low, Brown (c), Preece, Jones, Burnell (Allen 48), Canham (Lennox 81), Connolly, Keats, Griffin, Ball. subs not used: Rollo, Bowman.
|man of the match:
||Jones (13), Preece (84), Lennox (86)
|league position: 11th
||next match: Sutton Utd (H)
Report taken from
Mark Preece went from villain to hero in the space of six second-half minutes as Bath City wrapped up their away campaign with victory on a gloriously sunny afternoon at Staines Town.
The City defender conceded the penalty which allowed Tyrone Marsh to cancel out Gethin Jones' early opener but then restored the lead by prodding home from an 84th-minute corner.
Substitute Joe Lennox then showed great composure to nutmeg the home keeper for the third goal, which extended City's unbeaten run to eight games.
The visitors lined up with Josh Low at right wing-back, in place of the injured Sekani Simpson, and he made an immediate impression by winning a corner afterjust 26 seconds.
Aaron Brown's delivery found Charlie Griffin, whose sweetly-struck volley was delected over off the head of defender Jason Mills for another corner. This one dropped at the feet of Preece but his prodded effort was cleared off the line.
It was a lightning start by City but Jason Mellor was the first keeper called into action, diving low to his left to push Will Bor's low drive - which looked to be going wide - round the post.
But the visitors had settled the better and were rewarded in the 13th minute when another corner was deftly headed home by Jones.
Staines reacted well to going behind and the rest of the first half was much more even but City only had a couple of scares to survive.
Troy Ferguson's angled ball found Dan Brown unmarked in the box and his header dropped over the advancing Mellor but also the wrong side of the post from the home perspective.
David Wheeler then beat three defenders during a fine run down the left but Mellor was able to cut out his low ball across the six-yard box.
Chances were also limited at the other end but City had a glorious opportunity to double their lead six minutes before the break when Griffin latched onto Luke Neville's woeful back pass and rounded keeper Jack Turner but, faced with a gaping net, put his shot into the side-netting.
Staines boss Marcus Gayle was clearly unhappy with the first-half display and made two changes for the second period, with Louis-Rae Beadle and Ashley Lodge replacing Jack Mills and Bor.
City midfielder Joe Burnell, who had taken a knock to his thigh in the opening quarter, also lasted just three minutes of the second period before limping off to be replaced by Chris Allen.
And it was the substitute who almost teed up Griffin for a second goal with a low ball across the box but home defender Neville just did enough to prevent City's leading scorer getting a shot away.
Staines' third and final change took place in the 62nd minute when Bajram Pashaj came on for striker Brown but the hosts were struggling to make chances, with City looking robust at the back.
There was a big let-off in the 77nd minute, though, when the ball hit Preece on the arm in the box but no penalty was given.
Preece's luck ran out 60 seconds later when he clipped the heels of Tyrone Marsh and referee Carl Brook this time had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Marsh picked himself up to slot home the penalty and level the scores.
City's response was to replace Marc Canham with winger Lennox and he earned the 84th minute corner from which Preece gained redemption, prodding the ball home from close range after his initial header was blocked on the line.
And Lennox made an even bigger impact two minutes later when he raced through on goal before putting his shot through the advancing keeper's legs to make it 3-1.
City complete their Blue Square Bet South season with a home game against Sutton United next Saturday (3pm).