Vanarama Conference South
Saturday 20 September 2014 - Twerton Park- kick off ?pm
||Mellor, Simpson, Ball, Gallinagh (c), Keary, Kington, Watkins (Bowman 81), Adlesbury, Pratt (Dale 85), McCootie (Stearn 65), Hemmings. subs not used: Rollo.
|man of the match:
||Pratt (20, pen 45)
||S Knapp, L Roberts, S Jackson
|league position: 19th
||next match: Poole Town (FAC) (H)
Bath City scored their first home victory of the season with a performance that was as strikingly good as some of their previous Twerton Park performances had been poor.
It was a display that crushed former Vanarama Conference South pace-setters Eastbourne Borough with an ease which the two-goal margin hardly does justice.
Nick McCootie joined from Paulton Rovers ahead of the game and starred after being handed a place in a three-man attack alongside two-goal hero Dave Pratt and Andy Watkins. Chas Hemmings was deployed behind them as City adopted a forward-thinking 4-2-1-3 formation.
However, after just three minutes Sekani Simpson was forced into a clearance off the goalline from Richard Pacquette after Dean Sinclair put in a shot which Jason Mellor did well to save.
Sinclair had another opportunity just before the quarter-hour mark when he should have made more from a long throw, with his header again easily taken by Jason Mellor.
However, the home side weathered the early storm and then went ahead on 20 minutes after a through ball was played down the middle by Pat Keary. Debutant McCootie picked it up and accelerated past the visiting defence before playing an inch-perfect pass for Pratt to run on to and fire home from no more than six yards.
It was like taking a cork from a bottle. Released from pressure City surged forward, urged on by McCootie and Pratt as just as suddenly Eastbourne collapsed. Within a space of ten minutes City had four good opportunities to add to their lead.
McCootie had a shot touched wide, Ashley Kington saw a powerful free-kick punched away by keeper Lewis Carey and Hemmings put a shot narrowly wide. But the closest of the four again fell to McCootie, who was only inches away from touching home Watkins’ cross after Hemmings played a great ball out to the left.
Although reeling from the onslaught the visitors did have a couple of chances themselves, somewhat against the run of play. On 38 minutes McCallum brought out a diving save from Mellor and then five minutes later Johnson shot wide.
However, City fans did not have long to wait before the home side applied the coup de grace. Just before half-time McCootie got around the visitors’ defence before being brought down by Adam Watts for a penalty. Pratt strode forward to convert the spot-kick, easily sending Carey in the Borough goal the wrong way.
The second half was a much more sedate affair.
City had the best of the early exchanges, with a rejuvenated Hemmings just failing to chip the keeper within four minutes of the restart and McCootie puttinga shot just a yard wide when he looked odds-on to score.
Just after the hour mark McCootie then left the field nursing a slight hamstring strain, but to rapturous applause. Ross Stearn came on in his stead as City gradually looked to shut up shop.
Borough did come back in the closing stages, with Aldred having a shot saved, but in reality Mellor was largely unemployed.
Their paucity of chances did little to ease visiting manager Tommy Widdrington’s temper as first of all he was threatened with dismissal from the pitch by referee Simon Knapp, then argued with the crowd behind his dugout, and ending by engaging in a slanging match with City player/coach Jim Rollo.
However, on an afternoon when the City faithful will have gone home happy his antics did little more than entertain.
Having lost only one of their last five matches City have moved out of the relegation zone and despite being in 19th spot lie only five points off the play off positions, such is the closeness of the league.