Vanarama National League South
Saturday 7 November 2015 The ProKit Stadium - kick off 3.00pm
||Phillips, Bowman, Gallinagh (c), Coupe, Ball, Hemmings (Yeoman 82), Kington, Adelsbury, Pratt, McCootie (Watkins 63), Mohamed. subs not used: Simpson, Williams, John.
|man of the match:
||Pratt (14, 17)
||A Laver, D Robson, C Robson
|league position: 6th
||next match: Street (SPC) (H)
Report taken from
A pulsating encounter at the ProKit stadium saw Lee Howells' Bath City on the wrong end of a 3-2 defeat to a determined and industrious Bishop's Stortford side, however with both sides looking shaky in defence the result really could have gone either way.
Though they fell behind early on City, hit back and found themselves in front before the half-way mark of the first period, only to concede a sloppy goal right on half time. Yet it was the hosts' winner - coming at a time when neither side was clearly on top - which the visitors will be most disappointed with.
The home side dominated the opening exchanges and it was no surprise when they took the lead in the third minute. Morgan Ferrier was delightfully played in by Kieran Bywater down the City left and he took his time to draw goalkeeper Steve Phillips out and flip the ball into the far corner of the net.
It could have been two moments later but for Phillips. Bywater this time forced the veteran stopper into a brilliant one-handed save with a curling shot from the edge of the area that looked destined for the top corner. With the driving rain forcing the away defence into slips and the home side playing a hard pressing game, the afternoon appeared as bleak as the weather for the visitors.
Instead the rain ceased and City - like the sun - came out to play, scoring with their first clear sight of goal. Dave Pratt, well found by Kaid Mohamed, outpaced the Stortford defence and drove in from the edge of the area via goalkeeper Tom Lovelock's foot on 16 minutes.
Four minutes later and it was City who went in front. This time Mohamed fashioned some room on the left wing and played a clever pass in to Adelsbury loitering at the edge of the area. The midfielder's shot was scuffed as it trickled towards goal, but it had just enough pace on it for it to be diverted in by Pratt who has now scored City's last four goals on this ground.
Andy Gallinagh nearly made it three, but his shot hit the side netting after Ashley Kington somehow managed to retain possession on the edge of the area; a miss he may live to regret since it appeared to galvanise the home side.
Matt Coupe had to make a vital interception to deny Elliott Buchanan following a flowing Stortford move, the dangerous Morgan Ferrier drove wide when through on goal and Johnny Herd had a legitimate penalty claim turned down as Pratt appeared to pull him down inside the box.
The renewed pressure did tell, however, on the stroke of half time. This time City gave Alli Abdullah too much space around the edge of the D and though his shot was wild, it was well turned in by Buchanan just inside the area to leave Phillips helpless.
The only thing more unpredictable than the interchangeable weather was the result for much of the second period as the wind picked up, the sun went down and the game remained firmly in the balance.
The excellent Bywater met a cross from the right from Buchanan but could only head over under pressure from City defenders and then at the other end Pratt was denied a hat-trick by a fantastic last-minute block from debutant Ian Gayle after intricate passing between Kington and Mohamed had set him up.
With the next goal appearing critical, both sides pushed forward in search of the winner. Dan Bowman denied Bywater again, this time getting a toenail on a goal bound strike inside the area and then on the counter attack both Gallinagh and Kington saw long range efforts fly just over the bar.
The misses proved crucial as, 12 minutes from time, Stortford found that decisive third goal and once again it came as a result of good play down City's right.
De'Reece Vanderhyde charged towards the byline and crossed low for Matt Johnson six yards out. Phillips somehow pushed his effort away, but the rebound fell kindly for Ferrier who stabbed in his second goal of the afternoon from close range.
Substitute Omar Rowe should have added a fourth two minutes from the end as City pushed men forward, however he was halted by more last-ditch defending. This time it was Dan Ball who nudged the ball away from the striker just as he was about to pull the trigger.