Saturday 15 April 2014 - Mayday Trust Park - kick off 3.07pm
||Moore, Simpson (Stearn 74), Ball (Brown 86), Gallinagh (c), Walsh, Connolly, Allen, Keats (Bowman 74), Pratt, Watkins, Low. subs not used: Wilson, Burnell.
|man of the match:
||Pratt (pen 34, 84), Watkins (90)
||D Rock, A Dine, A Duffy
|league position: 7th
||next match: Gosport Bor (A)
Report taken from
Andy Watkins struck with just 30 seconds of normal time remaining as Bath City came from behind to grab a vital victory over Skrill South relegation scrappers Hayes & Yeading United.
Pat Cox twice put the visitors ahead but in-form striker Dave Pratt took his tally to five goals in as many games with a first-half penalty and a strong header six minutes from time.
The hosts knew a draw would not be enough to keep their lingering play-off hopes alive and made sure they picked up all three points, thanks to Watkins' cool finish from keeper Stuart Moore's long clearance.
City made one enforced change to the team which started last weekend's 2-1 win over Eastbourne Borough, with Adam Connolly replacing the injured Ben Adelsbury in midfield.
The game kicked off at 3.07pm and was preceded by an impeccably-observed minute's silence to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
United arrived at Mayday Trust Park having won just twice in 19 games but they surprised the hosts by taking the lead from their first attack.
Freddie Lapado showed good strength to control with his chest and lay the ball off to Luke Williams, whose goalbound angled drive was touched in from close range by Cox.
It was the second week running that City found themselves having to come from behind at home and they went mighty close to equalising in the tenth minute.
Dave Pratt's flick on fell for Josh Low who noticed that United keeper Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz was off his line and produced a clever lobbed volley which had the necessary dip but not the direction as it thudded off the post.
City were looking the more threatening but both Noah Keats and Watkins were unable to beat the keeper when given a clear sight of goal.
However, the equaliser came in the 34th minute when a partially-cleared corner fell to Pratt, who was about to shoot when he was sent tumbling by a United defender.
Referee Dave Rock was well placed and immediately pointed to the spot, to few protests from the visiting players, with Pratt picking himself up to slot the penalty kick into the corner of the net.
The home fans thought there should have been another penalty moments later when, after fantastic work by Sekani Simpson, Watkins had space to cross from the right for Pratt, who appeared to be pushed as he waited at the far post.
This time the referee waved play on and the ball dropped to Low, whose shot from a narrow angle went wide of the far post.
United manager Phil Babb, the former Liverpool defender, made a change for the second half as left midfielder Kamaron English was replaced by Frankie Merrifield.
But his team should have been 2-1 down five minutes after the restart as City defender Phil Walsh - arguably the best player on the pitch in the first half - was picked out by a Chris Allen free-kick but couldn't quite get his far-post header on target.
There was another let-off for the visitors in the 57th minute when Dan Ball's incisive pass found fellow full-back Simpson in space on the edge of the box but his shot was brilliantly blocked by Adam Everitt. Pratt's follow-up was also charged down by Dean Inman before the ball fell to Keats, who lofted his shot over the bar.
United were looking ragged at the back and right-back Chimdi Akubuine's loose pass was immediately pushed forward by Watkins for Low, who tried to surprise keeper Jaimez-Ruiz by shooting early but his effort rolled wide of the far post.
The visitors were struggling to create chances but Lapado had a glimpse at goal in the 65th minute, only to smash his near-post volley high and wide.
However, they did forge ahead in the 72nd minute after a rapid break, led by Lapado, ended with substitute Merrifield laying the ball off to Cox whose well-struck drive from 25 yards found the back of the net with loan City keeper Moore stranded.
City's response was to make an immediate double substitution, with Dan Bowman and Ross Stearn coming on for Simpson and Keats respectively, while United's second change in the 79th minute saw Niall McManus come on for Lapado.
The home side upped the pressure and, with six minutes to go, got back on level terms when United could only clear a corner as far as Allen on the right, whose inswinging cross was emphatically headed home by the determined Pratt.
And City completed the comeback in the 90th minute when a long clearance from keeper Moore bounced straight through to Watkins, who kept his composure to slot home the winner.
Moore made sure the three points stayed at Mayday Trust Park as he denied Cox his hat-trick with a fine save in the third minute of injury-time.