Saturday 11 January 2014 - Camrose Ground - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Bowman, Brown, Gallinagh (c), Burnell, Simpson, Stearn (Keats 24), Connolly, Pratt (Jarvis 86), Watkins, Adelsbury (Allen 83). subs not used: Rollo.
|man of the match:
||J O'Brien, C Phillips, O Davies
|league position: 7th
||next match: Bromley (H)
Report taken from
Andy Watkins' frustration in front of goal continued as Bath City had to settle for a point for the second week running after being held to a draw at Basingstoke Town.
The City striker rattled the bar for the third time in two games, while Aaron Brown also had a free-kick pushed onto the post in an entertaining game.
Jason Mellor made three good saves at the other end to deny Basingstoke, who also hit the woodwork twice in the closing stages through substitute Kezie Ibe.
City, without the services of injured duo Josh Low and Dan Ball plus the suspended Mark Preece, made three changes to the XI which started last weekend's 1-1 draw with Staines Town.
Dave Pratt, the goalscorer that day, came back into the team along with winger Ross Stearn as the visitors went with a three-man attack. Ben Adelsbury also came into midfield, allowing Joe Burnell to drop into defence.
City kicked off playing into a low winter sun and keeper Mellor, without a cap, spent most of the first half using his hand to shield his eyes.
However, it did not prevent him making a fine interception to cut out Ben Wright's dangerous low cross from the left or making an excellent save after Shaun McAuley had found space behind the City defence.
The visitors' first real chance came in the 24th minute - and led to them losing their most influential player of the early stages.
Stearn had been causing the Basingstoke defenders a headache in his floating role and was picked out by Pratt in the box. However, he was challenged while shooting - a close-range effort which was brilliantly turned around the post by Louis Wells - and was clearly in discomfort.
After lengthy on-pitch treatment, Stearn had to be stretchered off and replaced by Noah Keats.
He slotted into the role behind the front two as City continued to pose a threat on the break, again going close to opening the scoring in the 33rd minute following a superb charge down the right from Dan Bowman.
The young wing-back showed great awareness to pick out Watkins with a cross-field pass and the striker took a touch before unleashing a near-post drive which thudded off the underside of the bar.
It continued a frustrating run for Watkins, who had also rattled the woodwork twice during last week's home draw with Staines, and looked to have affected his confidence when he got into a similar position but instead elected to cross rather than shoot.
Basingstoke suffered their own injury blow four minutes into the second half when giant striker Wright limped off to be replaced by Ibe.
The game continued to be evenly matched, with both teams going close to the opener in the space of 60 seconds.
First Brown had a free-kick pushed onto the post by home keeper Wells, then Manny Williams fired millimetres wide of the City goal from 12 yards when he really should have found the back of the net.
McAuley also had a sight of City's goal following a wonderful through-ball from Robbie Rice but Mellor did well to push the angled drive away, then did even better to tip Neil Barrett's goalbound header over after the ball had been put back into the box by Matt Partridge.
The impressive Mellor also managed to beat away another cross-shot from McAuley as Basingstoke searched in vain for the opening goal.
At the other end, Wells had a lucky escape when he fumbled a routine free-kick from Brown but no City player was on hand to cash in on his mistake.
Basingstoke made their second change in the 72nd minute, sending on Jordace Holder-Spooner for Wes Daly, but it was their earlier sub who went close to breaking the deadlock nine minutes from time.
Ibe did brilliantly to control the ball under pressure from City's defenders and set himself up for a volley which beat Mellor but hit the underside of the bar.
City's second swap saw Chris Allen come on for fellow midfielder Adelsbury in the 83rd minute, while recent signing Nat Jarvis replaced Pratt soon after.
However, neither side could find a finishing touch, although Ibe went mighty close again in injury-time when his shot hit the post with Mellor well beaten.
The result means City have now won just once in their last nine minutes to The Camrose.