Saturday 8 February 2014 - Mayday Trust Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Bowman, Low, Ball, Preece, Gallinagh (c), Keats, Connolly (Allen 12), Pratt (Wilson), Watkins (Stearn 46) Adelsbury. subs not used: Rollo, Gibbons.
|man of the match:
||Keats (64), Stearn (71), Low (74)
||S Knapp, B Cobb, S Yianni
|league position: 4th
||next match: Dover Ath (A)
Report taken from
Three goals in the space of nine second-half minutes earned Bath City their third win on the bounce and lifted them to fourth spot in the Skrill South table.
City came back from two goals down to draw with the Sussex strugglers in October and this time went one better as they followed a dire first-half display with a totally dominant second-half one.
In one of only two games in the division to beat the weather, the hosts hardly touched the ball in the first ten minutes as the Hawks harried their every move and forced the midfield midfield into one error after another.
City’s prospects were then not improved when Adam Connolly limped from the pitch with a strained calf on 12 minutes to be replaced by Chris Allen. Consequently, it came as little surprise when the visitors took the lead.
A free-kick taken by Ashley Carew saw City keeper Jason Mellor fumble the ball and concede a corner. Ben Adlesbury headed the delivery clear but only as far as Danny Mills, whose deflected shot sailed into the goal.
Two minutes later City were fortunate not to find themselves 2-0 down. Loick Pires produced a right-wing cross which found Ashley Carew, who, from a good position, could only fire over the crossbar.
From then on City battled away on an increasingly heavy, but perfectly playable surface. Although they rarely threatened the Hawks goal, they at least tightened up at the back as captain Andy Gallinagh made several crucial tackles.
However, the home dressing room was not a comfortable place at the interval.
Head coach Lee Howells said: “We came in and had a few harsh words with the boys. It was not a good start. But we are missing so many players at the moment. On top of it all, Adam Connolly limped off early on with a calf injury, Ben Adlesbury and Andy Watkins were struggling to play 90 minutes and this was Dan Ball’s first game back from injury, so perhaps it was not surprising we struggled.”
Watkins was replaced by Ross Stearn at the interval due to a groin strain but the second half was a different story.
With 63 minutes gone the home side won a free kick after Dave Pratt had been fouled by Thomas Fraser. Whitehawk looked to have got the ball clear, only for it to fall to Noah Keats 25 yards out. The young midfielder steadied himself before netting with a goal of the season contender that left keeper Chris Winterton absolutely stranded.
Five minutes later Josh Low flicked a ball on for Stearn, who raced into the penalty area before sliding it past Winterton for his 11th goal of the season.
Stearn then nearly earned himself a booking when his elaborate celebration in front of the home crowd earned a rebuke from referee Simon Knapp.
It mattered little as two minutes later City sealed all three points. A long clearance from keeper Mellor was headed on by Pratt. Low found himself in space on the right and, with the Hawks defence in disarray, he calmly slotted the ball home.
City nearly added to their total when substitute Scott Wilson nearly flicked the ball over Winterton’s head from close range with three minutes to go but it would have been only icing on a cake that had already been well and truly baked.
The win moved City up to their highest league position of the season. However, with difficult games against Dover, Weston and Bromley to come over the next three weeks, the evening of March 1 may be a better time to judge their true play-off potential.