Saturday 5 April 2014 - Mayday Trust Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Moore, Simpson, Ball, Gallinagh (c), Walsh, Adelsbury (Connolly 45), Allen, Keats, Pratt, Watkins (Burnell 90), Low (Bowman 79).
subs not used: Stearn, Brown.
|man of the match:
||Watkins (34), Keats (57)
||Allen (16), Gallinagh (64)
||B Holderness, C Phillips, S Bates
|league position: 6th
||next match: Hayes & Yeading (H)
Report taken from
Bath City kept their wafer-thin play-off chances alive with a hard-fought victory over fellow contenders Eastbourne Borough at Mayday Trust Park on Saturday.
However, with league newcomers Concord Rangers and Havant & Waterlooville both recording victories, it would require an unlikely sequence of results for those chances to become realised.
Speculation or not, City still looked the more determined of these two sides as they piled on the pressure in the opening stages, with half-chances falling to Andy Gallinagh, Josh Low and Ben Adlesbury within the first five minutes.
However, they were then rocked back on their heels when Eastbourne went in front with virtually their first attack of the game.
A good move down the left saw Frankie Raymond lay the ball off to Elliot Levy. His cross was touched on by Elvis Hammond to an unmarked Samuel Johnson, who made no mistake from ten yards.
In the past this might have unsettled City but they poured forward in numbers and spurned two golden opportunities.
First, a last-minute block from defender Jack Deaman robbed Noah Keats of the home side's opening goal as his shot was deflected behind for a corner.
Within seconds, Low struggled to get a shot in before the ball was finally smothered a few yards from goal.
Eastbourne still posed a threat on the counter-attack and loanee goalkeeper Stuart Moore had to be alert as he pushed a shot from Stacy Long just wide of the post.
City got the reward for their attacking endeavour just after the half-hour mark when Low crossed the ball to Pratt, who raced in from the right and saw his effort denied by a fine one-handed Craig Ross save, only for Watkins to fire home the rebound.
By now City were in the ascendancy but they were still missing chances up front. Two minutes after the equaliser, Low headed narrowly wide from a Watkins cross before Chris Allen's left-foot shot was easily taken low down by Ross.
The only moment to mar City’s pleasure came in stoppage time at the end of the first half. Adlesbury, who had been dominant in midfield, clashed with Frankie Raymond. Both players fell to the ground but Raymond recovered first, while Adlesbury limped off with a twisted ankle.
It did little to satisfy the Borough players, who instantly surrounded referee Barry Holderness, appealing that Adlesbury’s challenge demanded at least a booking.
It was a trend that then continued into the second half, with Borough appealing - from on the field and the bench - for every minor infringement.
In the end it proved too much for referee Holderness, who, after consulting with his assistant, strode over to the away dugout to send gesticulating Eastbourne manager Tommy Widderington from the pitch.
Borough were further incensed when Hammond dramatically fell to the ground after a fairly innocuous challenge, only for the referee to refuse to allow the trainer on the pitch while telling Hammond to get to his feet.
If further salt needed to be applied to the wound of Borough's perceived injustices, City made no mistake. A perfect cross into the box by Low found Keats arriving late. This time, unmarked, he fired the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Eastbourne were not yet done and made two substitutions which nearly turned the game back in their favour. Matt Aldred and Tom Derry replaced the fairly anonymous James Stinson and Elliot Levy and gradually began to put pressure on the City back-line, although not before Low had seen a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box come back off the upright with Ross beaten.
As the visitors pressed, chances fell first to Hammond, who nearly took the ball from Moore's feet only for Gallinagh to clear, and then Raymond, who shot inches wide of the post with Moore beaten.
With the clock ticking down gradually, Borough began to run out of steam, although not before Johnson had one final attempt on goal, his shot again skimming Moore's upright.
The missed chances did little to improve the visitors' temper and Hammond was lucky to stay on the pitch when he first squared up to Dan Ball and then launched a lunging tackle on Pratt as the game drew to its conclusion.