Vanarama Conference South
Tuesday 25 November 2014 - Twerton Park - kick off 7.45pm
||Mellor, Bowman, Simpson (c), Keary, Walsh (Adelsbury 7), Hemmings, Watkins (Stearn 90), Allen, Pratt, Artus, McCootie (Kington 89). subs not used: Perry, Rollo.
|man of the match:
||Pratt (pen 57)
||T Wood, M Dadds, D Wootton
|league position: 10th
||next match: Gloucester City (FAT) (A)
Report taken from
Jimmy Greaves in his football punditry days was wont to tell us that football was a "funny old game". In that case Bath City’s last two matches would undoubtedly have had old Jimmy’s moustache bristling with surpressed laughter at the comedy of errors they presented.
After Saturday’s game at Chelmsford and the goal that wasn’t together with City keeper Jason Mellor scoring his first ever league goal it seemed as if that was probably enough bizarre moments for the season.
Instead it was merely a warm-up as City took on Hemel Hempstead in a game that finished with the opposition having only eight players on the pitch at the final whistle and yet still looking the team most likely to score in the closing stages.
Sadly for City it was a match to be witnessed by their lowest home league gate in 27 years - just 289 - as the torrential rain and European football on the television undoubtedly took its toll on this rearranged fixture.
After two defeats in a row City signalled their attacking intentions early on. As soon as the third minute Dave Pratt won a corner which Pat Keary and Phil Walsh both attempted to stab home yet could not get the ball through a packed Hemel defence mustered on the goal line.
Sadly for Walsh, whose first start this was since his serious ankle injury in August, it was to be the last part he would play in the game. Just seven minutes gone and Walsh was felled after a collision with Oliver Hawkins that saw the tall defender escorted from the pitch with a significant head injury.
City were profligate in the extreme in the first half with chance after chance going begging. As shots rained in on the visitors goal what was not saved by keeper Laurie Walker, was blocked on the line by defenders and finally by the crossbar.
Chief culprit was top-scorer Pratt, who on 28 minutes hit the bar, then slid the ball wide twice before having a double shot saved first of all by Walker before being blocked on the line right on half-time.
He was not alone, however, with Nick McCootie only inches away from scoring just after the 15-minute mark.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 56th minute when a great pass from McCootie played in Andy Watkins down the left. Watkins was brought down in the penalty area by Jorell Johnson, who was dismissed before Pratt scored from the spot with a somewhat tentative penalty.
Having gone a goal in front you might now have expected City to pile on the pressure up against ten men. Instead it was the visitors who poured forward with the best of their chances falling to James Potton who had a shot on 70 minutes, which Mellor managed to smother at the last minute.
City then went back on the attack and should have gone further ahead when McCootie broke free from the halfway line but ended up shooting against keeper Walker.
However, the visitors evening was far from done and again they piled forward in numbers with a shot from Matthew Saunders being well saved by Mellor followed by another from a Jordan Parkes free kick which again Mellor got down well to diving forward from his goal line.
Hemel Hempstead’s evening then went from bad to worse when Oliver Thorne was sent off for a needless elbow on Pat Keary, straight after the free-kick.
Down to nine men Hemel still pressed and after winning a corner in stoppage threw everybody forward including keeper Walker. The City defence got a head to the ball and then a flick on to Watkins saw the City player race free with no-one between him and the goal. Kyle Connolly, racing back, just about caught up with the pacey winger before bringing him down to become Hemel’s third red card.
It is unlikely that visiting manger Dean Brennan quite saw the funny side of the evening.