Vanarama Conference South
Saturday 28 March 2015 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Bowman, Simpson, Keary, Ball, Diallo, Stearn, Hemmings, Pratt, McCootie (Watkins 81), Kington. subs not used: Rollo, Perry, Allen, Gallinagh.
|man of the match:
||Own Goal (59), Watkins (89)
||Hemmings (26), Diallo (79)
||J O'Brien, J Creswick, P Lister
|league position: 12th
||next match: Hayes & Yeading Utd (H)
Report taken from
Andy Watkins grabbed a late leveller as Bath City staged a superb second-half fightback to earn a share of the spoils with pre-match Vanarama Conference South leaders Bromley.
Last season City lost 1-0 at home to Bromley, who at that time were runaway table-toppers. Despite their victory the Kent side then went on to fall from the top spot before eventually getting knocked out of the play-offs at the first time of asking.
This time City went one better. Not only coming back from a two goal deficit to draw with the league leaders but in the process allowing Boreham Wood to overtake City's visitors and assume pole position at the top of the Vanarama
Yet this was very much a game of two halves. Bromley, two goals to the good at half time, looked to be coasting to an inevitable victory as in blustery conditions City struggled to piece their game together. Yet both of Bromley's goals were something of a gift from the home defence.
The first on 17 minutes saw the home side under pressure when a poor clearance from Jason Mellor was quickly followed by the back line dithering in front of goal. In stepped manager Mark Goldberg's son, Bradley, to step between Dan Ball and Keary and easily slot home.
The visitors second then came just before the interval. Anthony Cook picked up the ball just inside the City half. He ran at the defence before cutting inside and then as he looked to shoot was upended by defender Pat Keary. Cook took the resulting penalty and despite Jason Mellor in the City goal diving the right way he comfortably slotted home into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Despite starting with a three man attack, in Ross Stearn, Dave Pratt and Kington, for City the first forty five minutes were mainly a series of half chances. Just before Bromley's first goal, a ball from Ashley Kington to Ross Stearn saw the forward fire goal bound from 30 yards out only for Alan Julian in the visitor's goal to end up saving with his knees.
Then again, before Bromley's second, a great ball down the right flank from Kington saw Nick McCootie stride towards goal, cutting inside before firing into the side netting leaving a frustrated, unmarked Pratt at the far post.
If the first half belonged to Bromley, City started the second looking determined to make their mark on the game and could have pulled a goal back within two minutes of the re-start.
Chas Hemmings put in a powerful shot from 22 yards which took a deflection some ten yards from goal. Bromley's keeper Alan Julian alert to the danger just managed to turn his dive at the last minute, deflecting the ball behind for a City corner.
Ten minutes later and it's the ever improving McCootie this time getting a flick on from Pratt, somehow managing to bulldoze his way through the Bromley defence, before eventually tangling with Julian and the ball going behind for another corner.
Yet with City pouring forward in numbers a goal seemed inevitable and just one minute later it arrived. Dave Pratt, not perhaps at his sharpest, still raced a good thirty yards to keep a long ball in play. From the bi-line he flicked it back for Naby Diallo, who raced towards goal only to see his shot deflected home off the back of Bromley defender Joe Anderson.
Despite the City pressure as the clock ticked down it began to look as if the home side's efforts may be in vain.
Stearn twice put the ball over the cross bar from free kicks. Diallo and Dan Bowmans runs as wingbacks down either flank saw their crosses seek out defenders and Julian in the visitors goal did everything he could to wind the clock down and the crowd up as every goal kick was taken in exaggerated slow motion.
In the end with just a minute of normal time remaining City made the vital breakthrough.
A great interchange down the right saw Pratt head the ball on and into the path of Stearn. He took it to the edge of the eighteen yard box and, after three elaborate step overs, put in a cross to the far post. Confusion reigned between Julian and defender Rob Swaine as to who was to clear the ball, allowing City substitute Andy Watkins to power from no more than a couple of yards.
With the FA Trophy final tomorrow, City could have been forgiven for having their minds elsewhere plus missing Phil Walsh and Frankie Artus through suspension. Yet once again they demonstrated they are still a match for any side in the league and even if not the kings, they still showed that they can have a significant impact on the race to be league champions.