Vanarama Conference South
Monday 25 August 2014 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Bowman (Slocombe 80), Ball, Gallinagh (c) (Stearn HT), Keary, Simpson, Allen, Adelsbury (Hemmings 78), Pratt, Watkins, Kington. subs not used: Burnell, Rollo.
|man of the match:
||Kington (30), Ball (62)
||S Yianni, M Dadds, S Oakey
|league position: 21st
||next match: Boreham Wood (A)
Havant & Waterlooville keeper Ryan Young was on the scoresheet as Bath City endured a miserable Bank Holiday Monday to remain winless in Vanarama Conference South.
Young's long clearance from inside his own area bounced over opposite number Jason Mellor, who was at fault for JJ Hooper's first goal after colliding with defender Andy Gallinagh as he raced out to make an attempted clearance.
City did have something to cheer when Andy Watkins finally notched their first goal of the season but it was not enough to lift the mood at Twerton Park, which was mirrored by the torrential rain which poured throughout the afternoon.
Experienced midfielder Joe Burnell - who returned to the club on Friday, having elected to leave in the summer - was on the bench along with Jim Rollo, who was a last-gasp replacement after Frankie Artus reported ill.
Ashley Kington started in place of Artus and Pat Keary came in for Phil Walsh, who faces at least six months on the sidelines after dislocating his ankle in the goalless draw against Chelmsford City.
City, who were out of action on Saturday following Salisbury City's expulsion from the league, had replaced Havant at the foot of the table following the Hawks' 3-1 win over Staines Town.
And their early-season struggles continued as City gifted the visitors a ninth-minute lead. Keeper Mellor raced off his line to clear a long bouncing ball but instead ended up colliding with captain Gallinagh, leaving JJ Hooper with the simple chance of firing into the empty net.
It should have been 2-0 moments later when Shamir Mullings' first touch took him past Gallinagh and through on goal but his second was too strong and allowed Mellor to gather bravely at his feet.
City needed something to lift their confidence and were almost provided it when Dan Bowman whipped in a wonderful cross which Dave Pratt met with a powerful header but Hawks keeper Young dived to his right to tip it around the post.
The Bank Holiday rain continued to hammer down, getting heavier as the first half progressed, and players were often struggling to keep their footing.
City were grateful that Keary kept his midway through the first half as he blocked a cross-shot from Perry Ryan after the Hawks midfielder had dribbled around keeper Mellor.
Sekani Simpson also produced a superb clearing header from under his own crossbar but the flag had already gone up after the ball went out of play before being crossed in.
There was another scare for the hosts when, from a poor City free-kick, Hooper gained possession and shrugged off Kington - who was booked for trying to bring down the giant striker - before surging forward and firing in a cross-shot which was wide of the far post and too far in front of Mullings.
City were looking desperately short of confidence and organisation at the back, with Mellor very lucky to escape when he appeared to pick the ball up outside the box under pressure from Mullings.
The home side were offering little going forward but had an opening just before half-time Andy Watkins dispossessed Edward Harris and surged into the box but his shot lacked power and was easily gathered by Young.
City sought to address their problems at both ends by sending on the attacking Ross Stearn for Gallinagh, whose struggles had epitomised the first half. Bowman dropped to right-back.
The switch gave the hosts a lift and they began the second half brightly - only to concede a second goal in circumstances which summed up their afternoon and season so far as Hawks keeper Young's long clearance bounced over opposite number Mellor and into the net.
Young then showed the qualities he is actually in the team for by saving from Watkins, while Pratt headed a Stearn cross against the bar as City's frustations grew.
Visiting manager Lee Bradbury decided the two-goal lead was worth protecting and made a double change, sending on Brian Dutton and Pedro Monteiro for Ryan Woodfird and Nic Ciardini.
Play became bogged down after that but City gave themselves a lifeline 18 minutes from time as they finally notched their first goal of the 2014-15 season, a deflected strike from Watkins after a corner was only partially cleared.
That gave the hosts a much-needed injection of belief, which the management looked to build on by sending giant forward Chas Hemmings for midfielder Adelsbury.
But he had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds before the Hawks nearly restored their two-goal lead following a dangerous cross from the left, which Mellor did brillianly to push clear under pressure from Mullings and Hooper.
City's final change saw them make another switch to the back four as left-back Martin Slocombe came on for Bowman, with Dan Ball going into the middle of defence and Pat Keary moving out to right-back.
The hosts were unable to mount a late charge, though, and were grateful to Mellor for preventing them going 3-1 down in injury-time as he saved at Hooper's feet after a swift Hawks break.