Vanarama Conference South
Saturday 14 February 2015 - Privett Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Simpson, Gallinagh (c), Walsh, Ball, Kington, McCootie (Keary 81), Adelsbury, Stearn, Diallo, Artus (Hemmings 68). subs not used: Allen, Rollo.
|man of the match:
|league position: 14th
||next match: Farnborough (H)
Report taken from
It was a case of déjà vu for Bath City as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to Gosport Borough for the second time this season.
Just like November’s reverse fixture at Twerton Park, City led at the break before shipping three second-half goals.
This time it was Ross Stearn – handed a rare start – who put City ahead after the half-hour with a smart finish.
His effort was cancelled out by Andy Gallinagh's unfortunate own goal soon after the interval, however, and Justin Bennett put the hosts 2-1 up before a late Dan Wooden strike wrapped up the points.
This was the game where it looked as though City’s FA Trophy run had caught up with their Vanarama Conference South play-off ambitions.
City started with something of a rearranged side. With Dave Pratt on nine bookings the City management could not risk him being suspended for the semi-final clash with North Ferriby United.
The same was not true for Nick McCootie, also on nine yellow cards. With Andy Watkins tweaking a hamstring in the pre-match warm up, there was no choice other than to play the lanky forward.
In the opening period and on a heavy and waterlogged pitch neither side had much to offer in the opening period with what chances there were coming mainly through defensive errors of one sort or another.
Gosport pressed forward early on but their best chance came from a free-kick which Jason Mellor in the City goal momentarily spilled before collecting at the second attempt.
The visitors were undoubtedly slow out of the blocks, hardly putting together a passing move until the tenth minute, when the ball was played out to the left but Sekani Simpson’s cross was easily cleared by the defence.
Next came a free-kick when Frankie Artus was pulled down but Stearn got nowhere near from the dead ball.
At that point it looked as if City had a Trophy hangover from Tuesday night and Gosport a Trophy hangover from last season’s final, such were the number of passes going astray by both sides.
By the 20th minute the closest either side had come to scoring was when Andy Robinson for Port had attempted an ambitious back pass that Ashmore had to rapidly track back to clear off his line.
They did then go closer when five minutes later Bennett, turned in the box with his shot going just wide.
In the end the deadlock was broken and inevitably it was through Stearn, who until then had hardly played any part in the game.
Naby Diallo neatly nutmegged Danny Smith with a pass through to Ben Adelsbury who equally put in a fine ball to Stearn on the right. The diminutive forward, unmarked, raced towards goal before firing the ball into the top right hand corner of Ashmore’s net.
City very nearly added a second just a minute later. McCootie put in a great ball for Artus to run onto only for his shot to be saved at the near post.
Finally, Gosport came back into the game in stoppage time at the end of the half. Tom Dunford had a shot blocked by Gallinagh but as City failed to clear out of defence, Bennett, from a great position, could only put the ball into Mellor’s hands.
The second half proved to be a different story. Within a minute of the restart the ball was played in from Gosport’s left flank, to Matt Paterson. His shot from just inside the box came back off the upright, rebounded onto Gallinagh virtually on the goalline and into the net.
It was an unlucky goal for City’s captain but it was enough to rejuvenate the home side.
Ten minutes later and Gosport were in front. The ball in midfield flicked of Ashley Kington and out to Bennett, who looked a yard offside. He raced clear on goal before slotting the ball under Mellor’s body.
From then on Gosport shut up shop, while City first of all ran out of ideas and then legs, as the hard work of recent weeks looked to catch up with them.
Further chances fell to Wooden and Bennett, where Dan Ball was forced into making a great saving tackle.
When City did penetrate the home defence they found the excellent Ashmore in the home goal equal to the task. He was lucky to escape a booking on 69 minutes when he handled outside his box, but it was not seen by referee Mr Purkiss.
He then made a good save from McCootie, who got on the end of a pass from Adelsbury. Ashmore initially fumbled the ball up into the air before catching it at the second attempt.
In the end City threw caution to the wind, playing Pat Keary up front and as they pressed forward and were inevitably caught on the break.
Two minutes into stoppage time Kington gave the ball away, playing it straight into the path of Wooden, who wrapped up the match with Gosport’s third, buried low into Mellor’s goal.