Vanarama National League South
Saturday 30 January 2016 - Priory Lane - kick off 3.00pm
||?Phillips, Gallingh (c), Greenslade, Coupe, Batten, Kington, Bowman (Richards 39), Artus, Pratt (Adelsbury 73), McCootie, Watkins. subs not used: Williams, Hemmmings, Ball.
|man of the match:
||Pratt (35), McCootie (45)
||S Purkiss, J Horne, J Simpson
|league position: 17th
||next match: Whitehawk (H)
Report taken from
Bath City's recent woes continued at fellow relegation battlers Eastbourne Borough as they conceded five goals for the first time in a National League South fixture.
After a highly-competitive first half which saw City come back from two-down to level at the interval, the home side eased ahead after the break thanks to a crucial third goal only a minute into the second half and some hapless defending.
Eastbourne took the lead as early as the fourth minute as Nathaniel Pinney laid the ball off to the edge of the box for Jack Evans, who cracked home a low drive from 20-yards.
City remained unperturbed and seconds after Nick McCootie should have connected to Danny Greenslade's delicious cross, Matt Coupe fired over from ten yards when a corner was not properly dealt with by goalkeeper Lewis Carey.
On 20 minutes City came inches away from levelling. Andy Watkins shuffled to the byline and picked out a perfect cross for McCootie. Though the striker's header was on target, Beale was back covering on the line to somehow divert the ball out for a corner.
A minute later Andy Gallinagh must have felt he was playing safe as he pushed a harmless back pass to Steve Phillips in no apparent danger.
Pinney had other ideas. Charging the back pass down, he blocked Phillips' clearance and saw the ball rebound off him into the net for 2-0.
In hindsight, Phillips would have been better off attempting to dummy the striker rather than hurry his kick, but really it was the sort of goal you only seem to concede when down on your luck.
As if by pity, Carey returned the favour to gift City a lifeline. His goal-kick was scuffed straight to Dave Pratt and the forward showed great composure to slip the ball home under pressure from two defenders.
Phillips then atoned for his error to keep City in the game as Jamie Taylor's hopeful header forward inexplicably found Pinney through on goal. His clipped finish looked destined to float over the veteran stopper, but he somehow pushed up his right wrist to force the effort wide.
Dan Bowman, a real threat from right wing, was forced off injured to be replaced by Eliot Richards before half-time, but City still managed to go into the break level.
Frankie Artus picked out Watkins on the left and he again provided an inch-perfect centre for McCootie – only this time the forward couldn't miss from six yards.
With Adie Britton staying at home it was Jim Rollo whose team talk was still ringing in the ears of the players as they went behind immediately after the break. Pinney played a lovely one-two with Jamie Taylor and rifled a shot under Phillips' body to frustratingly undo a lot of the good work.
The self-inflicted wounds were then opened further as McCootie needlessly handled a free-kick in the box to earn himself a yellow card and the home side a penalty. Evans stepped up to restore the two goal lead they must have felt they had thrown away.
Pinney was then denied his hat-trick by another excellent Phillips save, this time from point-blank range as gaps continued to appear in the visitors' back line, while at the other end Artus drove an effort wide as City searched for a route back.
However, for the most part Tommy Widdington's tactical switch at half-time to cut off City's supply from wide had worked.
The match then became disjointed thanks to injuries and substitutions. Pratt became City's second casualty of the afternoon, withdrawn with a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has dogged him in recent weeks to provide a major concern for the run-in.
Eastbourne's fifth and final goal ten minutes from time was thanks to a well-executed set-piece.
Evans' free kick was clipped into the area where Ian Simpemba had ghosted totally free 12 yards out, and he expertly looped his header into the top corner to leave City just four points above the relegation zone.