Saturday 29 March 2014 - Gander Green Lane - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Simpson, Ball, Gallinagh (c) (Bowman 23), Walsh, Adelsbury, Stearn (Keats 69), Allen, Low (Connolly 79), Watkins, Pratt. subs not used: Burnell, Wilson.
|man of the match:
||Pratt (45, 86)
||Ball (56), Pratt (73)
||S Plane, C Smith, S Oakey
|league position: 7th
||next match: Taunton T (SPC) (H)
Report taken from
Dave Pratt's double was not quite enough to earn Bath City a notable win at third-placed Sutton United as Craig Dundas scored a 90th-minute equaliser.
Dundas, making his 300th appearance for Sutton, was on hand to turn in Kane Haysman's low cross, just four minutes after Pratt looked to have won it for City with his second of the afternoon.
He had headed in a Ross Stearn free-kick just before half-time and Chris Allen fired against the bar in the second period before former City defender Charlie Clough's 81st-minute equaliser sparked a frantic final period.
City made five changes to the team which lost 1-0 at Havant & Waterlooville on Monday, reverting to the XI which had started last weekend's emphatic 4-1 victory over Chelmsford City.
Phil Walsh, Ben Adelsbury, Stearn, Allen and Josh Low all returned, while Adam Connolly, Noah Keats, Joe Burnell and Dan Bowman dropped to the bench.
However, the latter was pressed into action after only 23 minutes as City captain Andy Gallinagh was forced off, clearly in discomfort as he held his lower back.
By that stage the visitors had taken the sting out a bright start by Sutton, who dominated possession in the opening ten minutes without creating a chance of note.
Instead it was City who had the first sight of goal in the 14th minute as, from Stearn's first-time cross from the right, both Pratt and Adelsbury had shots blocked before Allen drove the third effort wide.
Dundas - who was presented with an award before kick-off to mark his 300th Sutton appearance - went close to marking his milestone in the 21st minute when he turned Walsh on the edge of the box but sent his shot just wide.
Play went back to the other end and the visitors should have had a penalty when Dan Ball's cross from the left bounced up and struck former City defender Clough's hand but referee Steven Plane waved play on.
For all of Sutton's possession, City's defence - even after the enforced reshuffle - were relatively untroubled, although Sekani Simpson was forced to hack clear after Clough's header from a corner fell close to Dundas in the six-yard box.
The better of the few chances were still falling to City and Stearn's fine burst down the right and incisive pass set up Pratt for a near-post drive which was pushed behind by keeper Jason Brown.
However, the next time Stearn and Pratt combined, it resulted in City taking the lead in first-half injury-time. The tireless Andy Watkins drew a foul on the left touchline from Simon Downer, who was booked, and Stearn's inviting free-kick was guided into the far corner of the net off the head of Pratt.
Sutton boss Paul Doswell was clearly unhappy with his side's first-half efforts as he made a change for the second period, replacing the defensive Dammy Shitta with Canadian international attacker Gavin McCallum.
However, they almost went 2-0 down when Pratt's neat lay-off found Allen on the edge of the box but the midfielder's curling shot thudded back off the bar.
Doswell made two more changes just before the hour, replacing Dean Sinclair and Lee Sawyer with Kane Haysman and Damian Scannell, and Sutton went on to force a number of corners without really threatening Jason Mellor's goal.
One of the keeper's punched clearances did fall for Jamie Taylor on the edge of the box but his shot flew well over, summing up the home side's afternoon at that point.
City's second change saw Stearn replaced by Keats with 21 minutes to go, while a tactical change from Sutton saw centre-half Clough move forward into a three-man attack.
However, that left the hosts short of numbers at the back and they were fortunate not to concede again when Keats' through-ball sent Watkins racing through but, with Pratt and Low in support, the City striker elected to shoot and saw his near-post effort saved by Brown.
That was to prove costly as Sutton equalised four minutes later. Walsh was incensed after a foul was awarded against him on the right touchline and there was more frustration when Mellor came for McCallum's free-kick and missed it, allowing Clough to steer the ball home at the back post.
Mellor made amends moments later after Scannell had sidestepped his way into the box before firing in a shot which the keeper did well to push over.
And the keeper did even better four minutes from time as he provided the assist for Pratt's second. The keeper's long clearance was allowed to bounce through and, with Watkins retreating from an offside position, Pratt found himself in acres of space before finishing in style.
The goal prompted jubilant celebrations in the City dug-out but they were cut short in the 90th minute when Haysman left Bowman on his back-side as he drove to the byline before putting in a low cross which Dundas turned home from close range.
Sutton defender Downer then headed in from a free-kick in injury-time but the offside flag was up, much to City's relief as they came away with a well-deserved point.