FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
Saturday 12 October 2013 - Fairfax Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Simpson, Ball, Preece, Gallinagh (c), Adelsbury, Stearn, Connolly (Chamberlain 83), Pratt (Bowman 85), Allen, Brown (Keats 68). subs not used: Rollo, Low, Barrington, Burnell.
|man of the match:
||Pratt (9), Allen (pen 29, 32)
||J Busby, K Howick, M Greenwood
|league position: n/a
||next match: Whitehawk (A)
Report taken from
Chris Allen marked his return to the starting line-up by making the opener and scoring two as Bath City emphatically ended any fears of a FA Cup upset at Bridgwater Town.
Allen, whose last goals came almost a year ago, was selected ahead of striker Elliot Chamberlain but justified his inclusion by setting up Dave Pratt's ninth-minute header before striking twice either side of the half-hour mark to kill off the game.
The win - which earned £7,500 in prize money - and nature of it was just the lift City needed after a poor run of league results, which had made this tie look a potential banana skin.
Calor Southern League Division 1 South & West outfit Bridgwater went into the match unbeaten and looked confident, physical and direct in the opening stages.
However, the wind was taken out of their sails in the ninth minute when Pratt scored a simple opener. Allen was left unmarked on the edge of the box to collect a short corner and cross for City's number nine, who glanced a header into the far corner of the net.
That settled the visitors and they looked comfortable after that, with Andy Gallinagh marshalling the defence well and Allen finding space between midfield and attack.
And it was no surprise when City doubled their lead just before the half-hour mark. Adam Connolly had his heels clipped in the box by Dean Griffiths and Allen coolly sent keeper Chris Wright the wrong way from the resulting penalty.
The challenge by Griffiths was clumsy rather than malicious, leading to protests by the home players that the spot-kick should not have been given.
And they were further incensed moments later when right-back Kristian Miller went down in the City box, only to be booked for diving.
City swiftly rubbed salt into the Robins' wounds as they went straight down the other end and Pratt pulled the ball back from the byline for Allen to volley home, effectively killing the tie off before half-time.
And it could have been even better for the visitors had Dan Ball and Ben Adelsbury been able to hit the target from six yards after being picked out at set-pieces.
Bridgwater, who had been 3-0 down at half-time in the last round at Bristol Manor Farm and salvaged a 4-4 draw, needed an early goal to have any hope of another comeback but it never arrived, with Joe Bushin somehow stabbing their best chance over from four yards out.
Visiting keeper Jason Mellor also had to make his first save of note in the 67th minute to deny Chris McGrath at the near post, moments before City made their first change as Noah Keats replaced Aaron Brown.
The Robins sent on Daine O'Connor for Griffiths with 18 minutes remaining but City - roared on by a vocal travelling support - remained in control and almost extended their lead when Ross Stearn's well-struck shot forced a flying save from Wright.
Bridgwater brought on two Veals in the 79th minute, Phil and Craig replacing the quiet Bushin and histrionic Miller respectively.
Chamberlain came on for City when Connolly limped off after picking up a knock and Dan Bowman was given a run-out in the closing stages in place of the impressive Pratt.
City join the Conference Premier sides in Monday's fourth qualifying round draw, one win away from the first round proper.