Vanarama Conference South
Saturday 4 October 2014 - Gander Green Lane - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Bowman (Patten 26), Ball, Gallinagh (c), Keary, Simpson, Watkins (Stearn 63), Adlesbury, Pratt, Kington, Hemmings (McCootie 86).
subs not used: Rollo.
|man of the match:
||Pratt (pen 69, 90+3), Adelsbury (82)
|league position: 14th
||next match: Radstock Town (SPC) (A)
Bath City picked up their third away league victory of the season after a barnstorming second-half performance against a Sutton United side who finished as runners-up last year and had been many peopleís favourites for promotion this term.
Yet in many ways, and as compared to last seasonís quality matches between these two sides, this was by no means a classic.
In the opening 20 minutes both sides cancelled each other out in midfield as the ball skidded around the Gander Green Lane pitch in the somewhat uncharacteristic heavy rain, with players slipping as they went for the ball.
Early chances were few and far between, with Glen Southam having a shot after nine minutes that Jason Mellor in the City goal easily collected, followed by Andy Watkins shying at goal from 25 yards with a shot so wide it very nearly went for a throw on the far touchline.
If City were struggling to find their rhythm, worse was to come when Dan Bowman limped from the field with a knee injury that eventually saw the player leave the ground on crutches, further adding to Cityís ever lengthening injury list. Although he was replaced by loanee Kyle Patten, it left the visitors right side exposed.
The closest either side came to a goal in the opening half hour was again down to error. Dale Binns played a ball into the box that Mellor looked odds-on to collect only for the keeper to slip and present it to Jessy Reindorf. Despite being no more than a yard from goal the forward somehow managed to shoot against Mellor and then put the ball wide at the second attempt.
It was an omen for what was to come. Just six minutes before the interval City again came under pressure. With their right flank exposed due to Bowmanís absence Pat Keary headed the ball out of defence only for it to be picked up by former City player, Callum Hart. His cross sailed over the head of Reindorf, but Binns at the far post made no mistake burying it under the diving Mellor.
If City were downhearted it did not show as they regrouped for the second half. Hemmings was pushed further forward into a three-man front-line and the difference was immediate.
Just four minutes after the restart Patten had a header which went narrowly over the crossbar. Next Kington had a shot blocked by the home defence. Then with 67 minutes gone Hemmings latched onto a superb pass from Kington only to delay his shot, eventually firing straight against keeper Alan Julian.
But the visitors were not to be denied. Hemmings charged down the clearance from Julian, before playing the ball to his right. With Ross Stearn on for Watkins the wily forward drew a foul from defender Michael Spillane, City had a penalty and Sutton were down to ten men.
Cometh the hour, cometh Dave Pratt and the visitors were level with just over t20 minutes to go as he made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Despite being down to ten men, following Spillaneís dismissal Sutton then had their best spell of the second half as the impressive Craig Dundas was pushed forward and the home side won two corners in quick succession.
At that point a draw probably looked the likely outcome, however the deadlock was broken by Cityís goal of the season so far. Stearn picked up the ball just inside the Sutton half on the right before playing it wide to Ben Adelsbury. Scarcely pausing in his stride the midfield from 35 yards hit a blistering shot that left Julian standing and the visiting fans whooping with delight.
Sutton visibly crumbled and despite Stearn revealing his mercurial side by giving away a simple ball in midfield the mistake went unpunished.
City then rounded off their afternoon with a third and needless to say Stearn was involved. With the home defence in disarray he ran into the 18-yard box unchallenged on the right before slipping the ball to Pratt. With perfect timing Pratt collected the pass at the far post to slip it over the line for his second of the afternoon, and ninth of the season.