Saturday 9 November 2013 - Avenue Stadium - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Bowman, Ball, Gallinagh (c), Preece, Simpson, Stearn, Connolly, Pratt (Low 89), Watkins (Brown 89), Keats. subs not used: Allen, Rollo.
|man of the match:
||Ball (3, 12)
||A Quelch, D Goard, A Reed
|league position: 11th
||next match: Sutton Utd (H)
Report taken from
Dan Ball headed in two goals in the opening 12 minutes to set Bath City on their way to a Skrill South victory over struggling Dorchester Town.
However, the win was marred by a 58th-minute red card for winger Ross Stearn, with last week's hat-trick hero being sent off for his reaction to a cynical body-check from home centre-half Ashley Vickers.
City, looking for a fourth straight win in all competitions, made one enforced change to the starting XIs against Farnborough and Havant & Waterlooville, with Adam Connolly replacing the injured Ben Adelsbury.
And the visitors were quickly into their stride, taking the lead after just three minutes when Dave Pratt's looping cross was emphatically headed past keeper Alan Walker-Harris by the onrushing Ball.
It was a dream start for City and a nightmare for Dorchester, who are bottom of the Skrill South table after losing most of the players who helped them to a best-ever league finish last season.
The reason for the departures is a 60 per cent cut in the playing budget by the controlling community trust, who are keen to encourage the use of more homegrown players.
But it was one of those youngsters thrust into the team who was at fault for the second goal, with Tony Rolls being easily outjumped at the back post as Ball nodded in his second from Stearn's free-kick.
Dorchester, to their credit, tried to get back into the game and Brandon Goodship had a shot well saved by Jason Mellor at his near post, while Jake Smeeton headed narrowly wide moments later.
But City were looking comfortably the better team and almost extended their lead, with a bit of help from Dorchester's defenders. Neil Martin put a back-pass straight out for a corner, which was only cleared as far as Dan Bowman. His chipped cross was deflected towards his own goal by Steve Walker, forcing an excellent reaction save by Walker-Harris.
The home back-line made some amends in the minutes before half-time as both Walker and Vickers made timely tackles to deny Andy Watkins, the second time coming after the City striker had rounded keeper Walker-Harris.
The second half started with both Pratt and Ball heading over from corners, while Bowman made a great interception at the other end when the ball looked to be breaking for Goodship.
The subsequent clearance found Stearn, who knocked the ball past Vickers and was cynically body-checked. The Dorchester defender was booked but Stearn was shown a straight red by referee Adrian Quelch for his reaction to the challenge. City's winger was certainly aggrieved but the decision to send him off looked harsh.
Dorchester, sniffing an opening, sent on Harry Bell and Jamie Beasley for Rolls and Dan Way but City - whose shape had not been affected too much by Stearn's dismissal - rarely looked under any real pressure.
Preece had to make an important clearance under pressure with five minutes to go and Goodship's shot was deflected over the bar by Andy Gallinagh, while Mellor had to save a Walker header from the resulting corner.
But City - who sent on fit-again Josh Low and Aaron Brown for Pratt and Watkins in the closing stages - saw out their victory, sending them into Tuesday's home game against Sutton United (7.45pm) with confidence high.