Saturday 22 February 2014 - Mayday Trust Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Simpson, Brown, Ball, Gallinagh (c), Connolly, Stearn (Low 90), Allen, Pratt, Watkins (Reid 89), Keats. subs not used: Rollo, Bowman, Wilson.
|man of the match:
||C Powell, D Goard, A Reed
|league position: 6th
||next match: Cheddar (SPC) (A)
Report taken from
Three defeats in a row, the play-off bubble all but burst and centre-back Mark Preece storming away from Twerton Park before kick-off after being told he had been released - it wasn't the best of days for Bath City.
If events off the pitch had the crowd buzzing with speculation and gossip, on the field of play City gave a performance in which they sleep-walked to defeat.
That they lost only by a solitary goal was down to Basingstoke displaying a scoring profligacy that was staggering and Jason Mellor pulling off one or two spectacular saves.
The visitors signalled their scoring intentions, if not their ability, after just three minutes as Simon Dunn fired over Mellor's crossbar from the edge of the 18-yard box.
It was a warning shot which City failed to heed. On ten minutes, the impressive Shaun McAuley fired at goal and Mellor fumbled the save before grabbing the ball at the second attempt, only inches away from Manny Williams, who would have had a simple tap-in.
Next came a corner for the visitors. This time Louie Soares got to the ball first but his shot bounced off Mellor before being cleared by the home defence.
City then did have their best, and in reality only, opportunity of the first half. A ball played downfield by the excellent Andy Gallinagh was chested down by Dave Pratt into the path of Andy Watkins.
The diminutive forward shot on the volley but could not keep the ball down and it narrowly sailed over keeper Louis Wells' crossbar.
However, the opposition were not yet done as Jordace Holder-Spooner put a shot narrowly wide on 36 minutes.
Six minutes later Soares got free on goal but he hesitated long enough for Brown to steal in and rob the ball from him as he lined up his shot.
The second period saw more of the same. Wes Daley raced into the City penalty area but could not turn to get a shot away. Instead he flicked the ball to McAuley, whose effort was narrowly saved by Mellor close to his left-hand post.
City clearly did not want to miss out on the action as Brown nearly put in to his own net while attempting to clear a centre from Holder-Spooner.
As the match drew towards its conclusion, City, playing up the slope, at last managed to apply some pressure on the visitors.
Their best opportunity came when Pratt did well to keep a ball in play on the right before slipping a pass to Ross Stearn. However, Stearnís shot was straight at Wells and he gratefully fell on the ball.
With ten minutes to go and with a draw looking like a fortunate, but achievable result, Mellor was called into action again - this time pushing a Soares shot away with his feet.
In the end, the visitors got their just rewards. A mistake by Brown gave an opportunity for right-back Nathan Smart to run on before unleashing a shot from 25 yards which, aided by a slight deflection, finally defeated Mellor and City.