Vanarama Conference South
Thursday 1 January 2015 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Simpson, Gallinagh (c), Keary, Walsh, Ball, Adelsbury (Stearn HT), Allen, Pratt (Bowman 90), McCootie (Watkins 80), Artus. subs not used: Kington, Rollo.
|man of the match:
||McCootie (51, 73), Stearn (90+2)
||S Knapp, R Morris, S Shaw
|league position: 10th
||next match: Maidenhead United (A)
Report taken from
Nick McCootie grabbed a derby-day double as Bath City made it two Twerton Park wins in the space of five days with victory over Weston-super-Mare.
A game of two halves is one of the most long-standing of football’s many cliches, yet applied to the New Year’s Day contest between Somerset’s top two non-league sides its truth was undeniable.
Struggling Weston bossed the first 45 minutes but rarely looked likely to score.
Then in the second half the game came alive and with it City showed through both skill and some luck how to take advantage. They took apart a previously solid Weston defence to move up to tenth spot in the Vanarama Conference South table, just seven points off the play-offs with two games in hand ahead of Sunday’s trip to Maidenhead United (3pm).
The visitors might occupy a lowly league position but they came into the game on the back of a four-match unbeaten run and looked in confident mood as in the early stages they pressed forward, with Ollie Watkins and Dayle Grubb both causing the City defence problems.
Weston should have done better in the 18th minute when Grubb seized on a mistake by Phil Walsh, only to shoot straight at Jason Mellor in the City goal.
Just a minute later it was City on the attack and Frankie Artus fired a ball towards the far post before it flicked off a defender for the home side’s first corner of the match. Weston counter-attacked through Joe McClennan on the left and he squared to Watkins, who shot wide with his team-mate expecting a return pass.
Artus shot straight at keeper Luke Purnell and Sunday’s two-goal hero Ben Adelsbury pulled one wide before Weston threatened just before the break.
A long clearance downfield by Purnell came to Watkins on the right after a mistake by Pat Keary. The forward put in a fierce shot which Mellor did well to turn behind with his legs for a corner. The City keeper then produced another good save to deny Tom Jordan.
The second half was a completely different story and with Ross Stearn on for Adelsbury, City began to broaden the game out. Playing down the slope it proved an inspired substitution as almost from the off City pushed up, with Dan Ball - playing in a less customary midfield role - bringing out a good save from Purnell.
Ten minutes after the break City were in front. A corner flicked off the head of Dave Pratt and bounced around at the near post before going into the net through a melee of players. While there might have been uncertainty as to whether it was an own goal or McCootie’s there was no doubting who was claiming it as the lanky forward went into a celebration that looked to confuse his team-mates as much as the 700-strong holiday crowd.
Yet it was a goal that served to stimulate rather than depress the opposition and for a time it looked as if the game could still go either way. Grubb shot over the bar before Mellor was presented with a difficult back pass and hit his clearance against substitute Bradley Ash, with the ball very nearly screwing back into his own net.
Then the lively McClennan twice skinned Andy Gallinagh down the Weston right, only for Mellor to comfortably take his penetrative crosses on each occasion.
The game was then in effect put to bed with 17 minutes to go. Again it was a City corner and again it was McCootie at the heart of the action.
The ball was played in from the right to the far post for Walsh to head back across goal. Weston cleared but only as far as Stearn, whose powerful shot rebounded off the defence before falling into the path of McCootie. With his back to goal he elected for an elaborate bicycle kick. You suspect nine times out of ten it might not come off, but this was obviously the tenth and the former Paulton Rovers man doubled his tally.
All that remained was for a final flourish to put the seal on a productive festive season. As might be expected, ex-Weston winger Stearn was the one to oblige.
Andy Watkins raced to keep the ball in down the left before beginning to track back from the corner flag. He flicked the ball sideways to Stearn, who with one touch started off a shot that looked to be going well wide. Like the perfect golf slice it curved on the wind before nestling in the top left-hand corner of the net, giving Purnell no chance and leaving the City fans’ favourite, arms outstretched, every opportunity to embrace his delighted audience.