Vanarama National League South
Saturday 8 August 2015 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.25pm
||Phillips, Gallinagh (c), Nicholson, Ball, Matthews (Coupe 55), Hemmings (Williams 66), Kington, Artus, Pratt, Davies, Watkins (McCootie HT). subs not used: Bowman, Monelle.
|man of the match:
||Pratt (14), McCootie (79)
||T Wood, D Wootton, R Cockle
|league position: 5th
||next match: Basingstoke Town (A)
Report taken from
Bath City got their 2015/16 season off to a flying start as goals from Dave Pratt and Nick McCootie helped them edge past a new-look Wealdstone side in a frenetic early season affair.
Despite the game kicking off 25 minutes late thanks to a delay on the M4, the West London side were City's equals for much of the match and only poor finishing prevented them coming away with at least a share of the spoils.
In fact, it was the visitors who carved out the best of the early chances. Elliott Godfrey latched on to a clearance from the home defence, but could only drive his shot over the bar.
A couple of minutes later, Connor Calcutt fizzed a long-range effort towards goal, which debutant goalkeeper Steve Phillips could only parry. From the rebound Jonathan Wright somehow contrived to screw the ball wide from six yards.
Phillips was called into action again after 11 minutes. Calcutt, in the thick of the action early on, scooped a delicious ball through to Wright on the left edge of the six-yard box. His first touch gave the ex-Bristol City stopper an opportunity to narrow the angle as the shot almost crept in through his legs.
City replied with the opening goal after 14 minutes. Jon Davies had been fouled on the right, 30 yards out.
From the free-kick, Kevin Nicholson deceived everyone by choosing to cross rather than shoot - everyone, that is, except Pratt. He reacted fastest to the centre and poked home, deflecting the ball beyond Jonathan North.
By now the home side had found their groove. Excellent build up by Hemmings and Artus led to the latter finding Andy Gallinagh in a supporting position on the right. As the full-back burst into the box and cut the ball back to Pratt, he was clipped by Ryan Case but referee Wood played advantage in stead of giving a penalty. Pratt made a meal of the opportunity and the chance was gone.
In the 35th minute, Wealdstone equalised after their quietest spell of the match. Godfrey's corner found Jack Hutchinson at the far post and he headed across goal. Skipper Tom Hamblin then had a header cleared off the line by Dan Ball, but the ball went back to Hutchinson, whose flick was turned in by Jonny Wright on the line. Game on.
Both sides missed chances in the second half, with Wealdstone particularly wasteful. Josh Hutchinson could only force a save from Phillips when clean through just before the hour; a miss that proved decisive.
Next, Davies came close as City went in search of a winner, but his 25-yard effort flew just over the bar, so close to a dream debut.
With nine minutes left, City did find the goal they were looking for. Matt Coupe's measured through ball was helped on by Davies and found McCootie in the clear. With all the composure Hutchinson lacked minutes earlier, the ex-Paulton man raced through and casually swept the ball under North to seal the win.
It was relief all round for the supporters, who had seen their side win at home on the opening day for the first time since 2004.