Saturday 7 September 2013 - Stonebridge Road - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Gallinagh (c), Salmon, Preece, Ball, Adelsbury, Stearn, Connolly, Pratt (Allen 61), Watkins (Keats 80), Brown (Low 58). subs not used: Burnell, Simpson.
|man of the match:
||Watkins (79), Allen (90)
|league position: 12th
||next match: Tonbridge A (H)
Report taken from
Will Salmon grabbed his first Bath City goal to earn his new club a very useful point against his old one at Stonebridge Road.
The defender, who spent the 2009-10 season at Ebbsfleet, struck midway through the second half to cancel out Shane Huke’s header for the hosts.
In a division which sharply divides the haves from the have-nots, Ebbsfleet demonstrated how quickly a side can move from one category to another. Virtually bankrupt after being relegated from Conference Premier at the end of last season, a surprise backer and a sprucing up of the ground means that suddenly their world looks much better.
It was certainly good enough to attract Jim Davidson – of Generation Game and Big Break fame - as match sponsor and a visit from West Ham chairman David Gold, whose Rolls Royce stood out somewhat amongst the Fords and Hondas in the ground’s rough-and-ready car park.
If the car park was bumpy then so was City’s first-half performance. Virtually overrun in midfield, and with the forwards’ feeding off scraps, this was a serious test of the visitors’ credentials.
Fleet could have gone ahead in the 11th minute when Stacy Long’s shot was touched narrowly wide.
Ten minutes later, a good move down the right from Billy Bricknall saw him cross into the box to an unmarked Anthony Cook. Through on goal and when it looked easier to score, he inexplicably put his shot well wide of a relieved Jason Mellor.
The City keeper had trouble enough, without the increasing attentions of the Fleet front-line. Nursing a groin strain, he struggled with his kicking into a strong and gusty wind, much to the delighted barracking of the home crowd.
As Fleet pressed forward they scored the inevitable goal. A free-kick won virtually on the right-hand touchline 30 yards out was swung deep across City’s area. As three men queued up, it was Huke who got his head to the ball first to nod it back across goal and beyond Mellor.
By now, Fleet were rampant. Just after the half-hour mark Bricknell had a long-range shot which Mellor did well to parry away.
Then Cook got the better of Aaron Brown down the right, leaving the City number one to save once at the near post, with Cook’s follow-up effort rebounding off the upright.
Somehow City survived until half-time and from then on the tide turned.
The visitors looked reinvigorated, Ebbsfleet as though they thought the job was done, and even the wind now worked in City’s favour.
Twice in the early part of the half Mark Preece had chances. First he put an effort onto the roof of the net, while his second saw him head narrowly wide from a Ross Stearn free-kick.
The latter was merely a rehearsal for the equalising goal that was to come.
With just over 20 minutes to go, again City won a free-kick 30 yards out on the left. The ball into the box bounced off Preece and, as the home defence dithered, Salmon was the first to react, firing home from ten yards to the delight of the travelling supporters.
From then on an onslaught from the Fleet might have been expected yet, apart from one sharp shot from Cook which Mellor saved with his feet, it was City who finished the stronger of the two sides.