Vanarama Conference South
Tuesday 9 September 2014 - Grosvenor Vale - kick off 7.45pm
||Mellor, Bowman, Slocombe, Ball, Gallinagh (c), Simpson, Stearn, Allen, Pratt (Hemmings 86), Dale (Watkins 59), Adelsbury (Kington 56) subs not used: Keary, Rollo.
|man of the match:
||Stearn (42), Pratt (85)
||Slocombe (44), Bowman (66), Pratt (84)
||J Busby, K Howick, J Vallance
|league position: 20th
||next match: Bishop's Stortford (A)
Bath City moved off the bottom of the Vanarama Conference South table thanks to victory at winless Wealdstone on Tuesday night.
Ross Stearn’s scissor-kick gave struggling City a 1-0 half-time lead that was eventually doubled when Dave Pratt, who had set up the opener, buried a header from Andy Watkins’ cross five minutes from the end.
Veteran former Bristol Rovers forward Scott McGleish was sent off for the home side following a 75th-minute foul on Dan Ball and only the woodwork prevented a heavier defeat as both Dan Bowman and Watkins were denied.
City survived a late scare when Michael Malcolm curled home in stoppage time but saw out a win that saw them pull three points clear of their newly-promoted opponents.
This visitors came made three changes, with Bobbie Dale, Martin Slocombe and Bowman coming in for Ashley Kington, Andy Watkins and Pat Keary.
Whether it was the changes, the realisation that this was a must-win match or whether it was just being away from Twerton Park, City certainly had more urgency about their play.
Equally, so did Wealdstone, as for the most part it was a first half played at a frenetic pace, with both sides enjoying plenty of control in midfield but little finishing power in front of goal.
There were chances for McGleish and twice for Luke O’Nien early on, but somehow City playing a three-man backline managed to snuff out the home side’s forward forays.
For City although Stearn had a shot on the turn in the opening minutes their travelling supporters had to wait until just after the half-hour mark for their first real chance. Stearn, Bowman and Chris Allen strung together a fine passing move only for loanee Dale to fire over.
As if having done it once City suddenly saw they could repeat the move and the midfield began to click. With 38 minutes gone Ben Adlesbury put the ball out to Bowman, whose cross came to Stearn.
Although surrounded by players the wily forward managed to get the ball out to Pratt on the right and then convert his cross from close range.
City should have gone 2-0 up on the half-time whistle. This time it was Stearn laying the ball off to Pratt but he could only fire at keeper Jonathan North.
The second half was a different story as space opened up for the visitors to exploit and, with Watkins on for Dale up front, City, playing down the slight slope at Vale Park, started to use their pace.
Just after the hour mark, Watkins laid the ball back, only for Bowman to fire against the upright.
On 74 minutes a cross-field ball from Slocombe on the left saw Pratt racing in to produce a point-blank save from North.
City wrapped the game up with just eight minutes to go when an inch-perfect cross from Watkins on the right saw Pratt, virtually on the goalline, head home. It was just reward for another energetic performance.
When Watkins put a powerful header against the crossbar the only question looked to be whether the visitors could add to their total before the final whistle.
But this is Bath City, so just when they should have been coasting home they revealed how much this is still work in progress. Deep in stoppage time substitute Michael Malcolm managed to get the better of Sekani Simpson to pull one back for Wealdstone.
Then, with City desperately albeit successfully defending a corner in the dying seconds, it was still a case of hanging on for a victory that should have been certain long before the end.