Saturday 1 March 2014 - Hayes Lane - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Simpson, Ball, Gallinagh (c), Bowman (Stearn 60), Walsh, Allen, Connolly, Low, Watkins, Keats. subs not used: Brown, Wilson, Burnell, Rollo.
|man of the match:
||Ball (14), Watkins (66)
||R Hyde, P Georgiou, C Phillips
|league position: 7th
||next match: Ebbsfleet Utd (H)
Report taken from
Bath City banished the memory of three miserable league defeats by taking a well-earned point from Skrill South leaders Bromley after a thoroughly entertaining encounter in sunny London.
Dan Ball's perfectly-placed header gave the visitors a shock early lead but Bradley Goldberg quickly levelled and Danny Waldren put Bromley ahead after the break with a volley of outstanding quality.
But City - who were hardly recognisable from the team which laboured in last week's home defeat to Basingtoke Town - refused to be beaten and grabbed a deserved draw through Andy Watkins' cool finish.
Phil Walsh - who returned to City yesterday on loan from Margate, having previously been at the club from 2005-08 - lined up on the left-hand side of a back three also including Sekani Simpson and Andy Gallinagh.
And the striker-turned-defender almost made a dream start to his second City career as he met a fourth-minute corner with a powerful header which struck an unsuspecting defender on the line.
With Ross Stearn dropped to the bench and Dave Pratt not fit enough to make the squad of 16, City went with Watkins and Josh Low in attack.
The latter had an early lecture from the referee for leaving his foot in as full-back Joe Anderson cleared the ball but it was Bromley striker Jay May who picked up the first booking moments later for a late challenge on keeper Jason Mellor.
The hosts then gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box, which was whipped in by Chris Allen. Andy Gallinagh's flick fell to Ball, who reacted brilliantly to send a stunning looping header over keeper Joe Welch from 12 yards.
It was no more than City deserved for their positive start to the game but the lead only lasted six minutes before May's towering knock-down was emphatically hammered home from the edge of the box by prolific Bromley striker Goldberg.
That was the Skrill South leading goalscorer's 18th of the season and he should have had an assist soon after when he pounced on a heavy touch by Low and put in a cross for Waldren on the penalty spot but the midfielder lost balance and scuffed his shot wide.
There was another big escape for the visitors from the next Bromley attack as right-back Dean Pooley cut onto his left shot and picked out Albert Jarrett with an inswinging cross but the winger headed over from six yards.
City were still playing their part in an open game and had a great chance when Gallinagh's long ball caught the Bromley defence flat-footed, putting Low in space. He took a touch but then, rather than put his foot through the ball, tried to flick his shot past the advancing Welch but it was blocked.
Back came Bromley and Goldberg managed to drive into the box down the inside-left channel but City keeper Mellor did superbly to push his angled shot to safety.
The visitors struggled to fully clear their lines and when Noah Keats was caught in possession, Ali Fuseini slid the ball through to Pierre Joseph-Dubois but the striker dragged a poor shot wide with just Mellor to beat.
There was no doubting Waldren's accuracy five minutes into the second half, though, as Bromley took the lead in breathtaking style.
Fuseini collected the ball in the City box and played a lofted pass out to Waldren who, without breaking stride, unleashed a perfectly-executed volley from 20 yards past the helpless Mellor.
It was a strike Paul Scholes would have been proud of and left City facing an uphill challenge if they were to get something from the game.
Adie Britton and Lee Howells responded by taking off the below-par Dan Bowman and sending on Stearn, while Bromley replaced captain Rob Swaine and Joseph-Dubois with Taylor Parmenter and Brendan Kiernan respectively.
And the latter should have put the hosts 3-1 up when he pounced on some hesitant defending and rounded Mellor but didn't do so cleanly, meaning that by the time he shot Simpson was back on the line to clear.
And that interception by the City centre-half looked even more important moments later when a flowing City move ended with Keats playing in Watkins, who showed great composure to beat Welch and level the scores.
It was a tremendous response from the visitors but they almost found themselves behind again immediately when a cross from the left was allowed to reach May at the back post but Mellor came to the rescue with a fine point-blank save.
It was City's turn to threaten next as Watkins dispossesed Pooley and stormed into the Bromley box. His last touch was a little too heavy and narrowed the angle for a shot but he was able to stand the ball up for Stearn, who couldn't quite keep a difficult volley down.
Title-chasing Bromley were desperate for a winner and replaced May with Nic McDonnell for the final seven minutes but, despite applying plenty of pressure, they could not find a way through the City defence.
It was a morale-boosting result and performance from City, who will be looking to build on it when they host high-flying Ebbsfleet on Tuesday (7.45pm).