Vanarama Conference South
Tuesday 18 November 2014 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
half-time: 1-0 result: L1-3 attendance: 403

team: Mellor, Simpson, Gallinagh, Ball, Keary, Hemmings, Artus (Walsh 86), Allen, Pratt, Watkins, Kington (Stearn 71). subs not used: Bowman, Perry, Rollo.
man of the match: Frankie Artus
scorers: Pratt (14)
bookings: none
officials: D Ford, S Allison, R Morris

league position: 12th form: LWdWWL next match: Chelmsford City (A)

Report taken from

Keeper Jason Mellor scored an unsuspecting own goal and gave away another with a poor clearance kick as Bath City paid the price for failing to make their earlier dominance count against Gosport Borough. The hosts were much the better team for the first hour but only had a typically tenacious 14th-minute strike from Dave Pratt to show for their efforts. Gosport were well below par but were gifted an equaliser when skipper Sam Pearce - who could have been sent off in the first half - was left unmarked to head in a free-kick. And Pearce was also involved in the winner 11 minutes from time as his downward shot from a corner bounced off the bar before hitting Mellor on the back of the head and bouncing in. And there was more misery for the keeper in injury-time as his clearance went straight to Dan Wooden, who ran through before rifling in Gosport’s third. City made two changes to the 11 which started Saturday’s impressive win over Maidenhead United, with Dan Ball returning from suspension to replace Don Bowman in defence. Nick McCootie – a goalscorer at the weekend – was a surprise absence from the squad, perhaps with one eye on Pratt’s ban for this Saturday’s trip to Chelmsford City. He was replaced in a more conservative line-up by midfielder Ashley Kington.

After a cagey opening spell, it was City who had the first shot on goal through Pratt but his angled drive, while powerfully struck, was straight at keeper Nathan Ashmore. Gosport’s first threat came when a cross was only cleared as far as Wooden, who failed to really get hold of a shot from the edge of the area which was comfortably held by Mellor. But it was City who looked the sharper in the opening stages, particularly Pratt, and it was no surprise that he should break the deadlock in the 14th minute. The tireless front man harried visiting skipper Pearce into not getting enough purchase on an attempted back header, then pounced on the loose ball before firing in a shot which Ashmore parried with his legs. However, Pratt was not to be denied and beat the scrambling keeper to the rebound before showing great composure to slot home only the second goal Gosport have conceded on their travels in the league this season. It could have got worse for the visitors when Andy Watkins was sent tumbling when he looked to have a clear run on goal. However, referee Declan Ford – who had made the long journey from Lincoln for the game – waved play on, when a foul may well have resulted in a red card for defender Pearce. There was a worrying moment for City on the half-hour mark when Mellor came to catch a cross but collided with a Gosport forward and went head over heels before landing heavily on his shoulder. The referee immediately stopped play but, after two minutes of treatment, the keeper was able to continue. City continued to look the most likely scorers and had two headed opportunities in quick succession. The first was a good effort from 16 yards by Watkins from Sekani Simpson’s cross which fizzed just wide and the second should have been a goal but Chas Hemmings nodded over from a well-worked Frankie Artus corner. Artus was producing some lovely moments of skill and, after working space with some quick footwork on the edge of the box, he played a one-two with Kington before hitting a first-time shot which curled just wide. City had been by far the dominant force against a strangely low-key Gosport team and the only disappointment was the lead remained at one goal.

They had numerous chances to double it in quick succession eight minutes into the second half, the first and best coming when Pat Keary showed good composure at the back before pinging a long ball down the left channel for Watkins. He in turn drove a cross into the box but Pratt was only able to get a glancing touch and it rebounded off the inside of the post. Gosport only cleared the ball as far as Chris Allen, whose cross-shot evaded everyone in the box as it went wide of the far post. Then, from a corner moments later, visiting keeper Ashmore fumbled under pressure from Pratt but his defenders were on hand to clear the danger. Those missed chances almost proved costly as Gosport went down the other end and a cross from the left was headed narrowly wide by striker Justin Bennett. There was another minor scare on the hour mark when Mellor came for a corner but completely missed it and was relieved to see the ball go behind the far post. Gosport, perhaps sensing they were getting slightly back into the contest, made their first change in the 64th minute as Lee Wort replaced Steve Ramsey on the right of midfield. Having not booked anyone all night, referee Ford showed yellow cards in quick succession to Gosport duo Brett Poate and Matt Paterson. Those free-kicks came to nothing, unlike the next Gosport set-piece in the 69th minute as skipper Pearce was left unmarked to head in a deep delivery from close range. It was a frustrating goal for City to concede and prompted a change in approach from the home management, with midfielder Kington being replaced by winger Ross Stearn in a 4-3-3 formation. But City had now lost the momentum and they found themselves behind with 11 minutes to go. Again the goal came from a set piece, with a corner finding Pearce whose shot bounced up onto the bar and off the back of keeper Mellor’s head before falling into the net. It was again a poor goal to concede and City suddenly found themselves chasing a game they should have had in the bag. They threw Phil Walsh on with four minutes to go as a target man, replacing Artus, but it was Gosport who had the final word as Wooden latched onto Mellor’s poor clearance kick and raced through to make it 3-1.