Vanarama Conference South
Saturday 8 November 2014 - Stonebridge Road - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Simpson, Ball, Keary, Gallinagh (c), Adelsbury (Kington 86), Stearn, Artus, Pratt (Watkins 70), Allen, Hemmings. subs not used: Mitchell, Perry, Rollo.
|man of the match:
||Allen (26), Pratt (40), Artus (87)
||A Laver, M Carmichael, A Dine
|league position: 15th
||next match: Shepton Mallet (SPC) (H)
Report taken from
Bath City’s encouraging Vanarama Conference South form continued as they picked up a very useful point at promotion contenders Ebbsfleet United.
Leading scorer Dave Pratt went closest to breaking the deadlock with a first-half header that hit the post but later collected a booking that will see him suspended for City’s trip to Chelmsford City in a fortnight’s time.
Pat Keary also had a header tipped over in the second half but City were good value for the draw and have now lost just one of their last seven league games.
It was the home side that started the brighter of the two, pressing City back in defence as the visitors found the blustery conditions hard to come to terms with.
The first chance fell to Charlie Sheringham, the son of former England striker Teddy. A defence-splitting pass from Kenny Clark found the Ebbsfleet forward but all he could do was shoot straight into Jason Mellor’s hands.
Six minutes later and again it was Ebbsfleet pressing. Ben Adelsbury conceded a free-kick to the lively Matt Godden 25 yards out. McMahon took the kick but again fired straight at Mellor, this time with slightly more ferocity than Sheringham's earlier effort.
City gradually began to come into the match and had a good chance when a free-kick was swung into the box. Ebbsfleet keeper Brendon Hall just managed to get a hand on it to give City a corner, with Ross Stearn firing over after the home defence failed to clear it.
The visitors’ best spell of the half came on 25 minutes when, from a corner, Pratt got his head to the ball and McMahon’s faint touch on the line was just enough to deflect the ball onto the post and away for another corner.
With Pratt now a constant threat to the home defence, the City forward was unlucky to pick up a booking. A long ball played forward found him on a collision course with the home keeper and he looked to get to the ball first before colliding with Hall, only for the referee to award a free-kick and brandish a yellow card. Pratt protested his innocence long and hard, clearly aware of its implications, but it had little effect on referee Mr Laver.
As the half drew to a close the Fleet that came back into the game, with Godden the main threat. First he forced Mellor into a save, with the keeper tipping the ball over the crossbar, and seconds before the interval flicked a header just wide from a Matt Johnson cross.
The second half, much like the first, saw both sides with periods of dominance but neither able to break the deadlock.
For City, Chris Allen saw a shot go about a yard wide from just outside the box and Keary had a header touched over the crossbar. The home side also had their chances, with Clark bringing out a save from Mellor and then Dan Ball touching a goalbound free-kick behind just after the hour mark.
What could have been the turning point of the game came with just over ten minutes to go. Substitute Andy Watkins burst clear of the defence only to be pulled back by Anthony Acheampong. With the defender the last man it was a clear red card and Acheampong left the pitch.
However, as so often occurs when a side has ten men it proved hard for City to press home the advantage. The home side brought on a defender in the shape of Shane Huke for Godden, not a decision the home crowd liked, but it served to nullify any threat the visitors could offer.
City did have one final chance via a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, again through Watkins being fouled. However, Artus hit the ball into the wall and the threat to the Fleet was over.
For City it was their second clean sheet in a row, a statistic that may not exactly exorcise the ghost of the seven goals they conceded at East Thurrock United, but will go some way to showing that hard work - which they displayed in abundance - goes a long way to restoring confidence.