Vanarama Conference South
Saturday 17 January 2015 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Bowman, Gallinagh, Walsh, Ball (Keary HT), Hemmings, Watkins (Stearn 73), Adelsbury, Pratt, Kington (Diallo 70), Artus. subs not used: McCootie, Allen.
|man of the match:
||Pratt (pen 5, 41)
||R Hyde, L Dyson, C Myatt
|league position: 11th
||next match: Whitehawk (A)
Report taken from
Bath City extended their unbeaten league run to four matches to move within five points of the play-off positions in Vanarama South but, as director of football Adie Britton admitted, it was not without something of a struggle.
“That was not a bottom-of-the-table performance, although we didn't take our chances when on top," he said. "They have a new manager in Nicky Foster and are clearly battling hard.”
The home side got off to an ideal start with, as at Wealdstone last week, a goal in the opening minutes.
With just four minutes gone, City won the first corner of the game. Ashely Kington curved his kick into the near post and Dave Pratt on the turn saw his shot well saved by keeper Jack Turner with his legs. However, with the home side's arms aloft appealing for a foul on Dan Ball, referee Robert Hyde awarded a penalty.
Pratt clearly decided to go for positon rather than pace, placing his spot-kick in the corner of the net despite keeper Turner diving the right way, ending his nine-game goal drought as a result.
From then on City were dominant. After nine minutes a great ball into the box from Chas Hemmings saw first Pratt and then Watkins inches away from sliding it home.
Within the next ten minutes, Frankie Artus and Ben Adelsbury both spurned chances, one firing over the cross bar the other into the arms of Turner.
Twenty minutes gone and again Watkins was on the rampage, this time with a shot tipped wide by Turner. A minute later an Adelsbury cross into the area saw Watkins head cleanly but straight at Turner.
Then an interchange between Watkins and Artus ended with the latter’s centre being cleared from just under the bar by Chris M’Boungou, followed by Watkins' best chance, managing to chip the keeper but sending the ball narrowly wide.
Clearly City should have been three or four to the good by now, but as the half wore on it was the visitors that began to come back into the match as their defence pushed up to deny the home side's midfield some of the space they had been enjoying.
Their reward came five minutes before the interval. A corner on the left was flicked on at the near post and a volley by captain Max Worsfold powered past Mellor to level the scores.
Yet when you are at the bottom of the league it often seems as if luck deserts you. Town managed to sustain parity for no more than 50 seconds as they conceded in strange circumstances.
A shot from Watkins was parried by Turner but Pratt's follow-up header saw the keeper carry the ball back over his goal line. There was a moment’s hesitation but, as the referee's assistant ran back down the pitch, Mr Hyde signalled a goal.
In the second half, despite playing down the slope, City were unable to conjure up the dominance they had enjoyed for much of the first.
Their best chance came with just under a quarter of an hour remaining. Adelsbury crossed to the far post and Pratt, despite falling backwards managed to head back across goal to the unmarked Artus. With the goal at his mercy, the midfielder had an easy chance but instead put the ball wide.
Needless to say with only minutes to go the visitors threw everything forward and City increasingly became pressed back in defence.
In the end Staines saved their best until stoppage time. With the board already having indicated three minutes of stoppage time the ball fell to substitute Joe Aribo.
From just inside the 18-yard box he picked his spot and curved the ball towards the far post, only to watch in disbelief as it sailed a couple of feet wide. Aribo sank to his knees and City breathed a sigh of relief.