Vanarama National League South
Saturday 27 February - Vauxhall Road- kick off 3.00pm
||Phillips (c), Bowman, Greenslade, Gallinagh, Ball, Murphy, Artus, Kelly, Richards (Hemmings HT), Pratt, Watkins (Williams 60). subs not used: Kington, Simpson.
|man of the match:
||J Smith, C Felton, D Simpson
|league position: 16th
||next match: Gosport Borough (H)
Report taken from
A second injury time equaliser in a week saw Bath City pick up a last ditch point at Hemel Hempstead Town to maintain their unbeaten run under new boss Gary Owers.
Despite falling behind early to a close range effort from winger Graeme Montgomery, City produced a much improved second half display and arguably deserved their point albeit from an unlikely source, with Dan Bowman firing home his first goal for the club.
Hemel dominated the first half and could have been several goals to the good yet they actually scored with their first effort on goal. Dennis Oli produced some good work wide on the right hand side and his cross was turned in at the near post by Montgomery via the underside of the bar.
Sean Shields then played a tidy 1-2 with Jack Kelly on the left but after working space to shoot could only fire over from 18 yards.
Eliot Richards responded for the visitors, pouncing on an errant pass and racing towards the area. His excellent low shot was very well kept out by Jamie Butler down to his left however.
For the majority of the half City struggled to impose themselves with Hemel first to every ball and extremely dangerous going forward. The length of the field drop kicking from Butler proving a particularly potent weapon.
Unsurprisingly it was that direct approach that contributed to the next few opportunities. From one box to the other Butler picked out the rangy Oli totally unmarked but he could only guide his back header wide of Phillips' near post.
Another long ball found Jamie Slabber in the box. The ex-Tottenham forward shimmied around Andy Galllinagh and Steve Phillips wide on the byline. Despite the acuteness of the angle he still got his sliderule shot on target only for Dan Ball to sense the danger and hack off the line.
Half an hour in Richards scythed down James Potton twenty five yards out and Michael Richens stepped up to force Phillips into a decent save while a second free kick minutes later saw Shields curl over after Gallinagh had fouled the difficult-to-handle Oli right on the edge of the area.
Oli who could have potentially been dubbed Dennis the Menace for the trouble he was causing City then failed to take advantage of three big chances. First he headed Montgomery's inviting cross over, then he lifted an effort over both Phillips and the crossbar after outmuscling Gallinagh and finally after battling with the City defender again he saw a goal bound shot blocked by the shins of the centre-back.
Before the break Liam Kelly did have a long range effort well saved but it was a token gesture for what was a poor first half display from his side. Though City had somehow survived to the interval, things had to change.
With Richards withdrawn for Chas Hemmings at half time thanks to the former tweaking his hamstring, City finally found the defensive protection they needed and immediately asserted themselves offensively in the second period.
Kelly exchanged passes with Dave Pratt and tried his luck from distance again only to be denied by Butler and shortly afterwards he whipped a dangerous cross into the area which Butler did well to gather at the second time of asking.
Oli claimed a penalty as he tussled with Danny Greenslade but with the forward going down far too easily it would have been harsh , while at the other end Bowman picked out Pratt free in the area. With the forward slightly off balance, his clipped effort lacked the elevation it needed to beat the onrushing Butler and he again saved well.
City started knocking on the door as the game rolled on. Artus drove wide, Pratt charged down a clearance from Butler but couldn't find himself in a shooting position and Kelly lofted a half volley narrowly wide just inside the area after being well found by Greenslade unaware that it would not have counted due to an offside flag.
In to stoppage time and Pratt finds himself unmarked in the box. Though he met Kelly's enticing cross firmly he could only divert his header straight at Butler to surely squander his side's last chance.
But three minutes into added time - and after another formation tweak to 3-5-2 - City piled forward and got their rewards with a goal very much from the home side's playbook.
A high ball into the box was not dealt with by the Hemel defence, substitute Brad Williams could only thrash at fresh air and with the visitors still on the back foot unable to clear, the loose ball fell perfectly for Bowman to lash high into the top corner and give City their third straight 1-1 draw on the road. A game of two halves indeed.