Vanarama National League South
Tuesday 1 March 2016 - Twerton Park - kick off 7.45pm
||Phillips (c), Bowman, Greenslade, Gallinagh, Ball, Murphy (Kington 79), Artus, Kelly, Hemmings, Pratt, Watkins. subs not used: Perry, Simpson, Williams.
|man of the match:
||Pratt (56), Kelly (76)
||G Parsons, L Sandoe, M Dadds
|league position: 17th
||next match: Oxford City (A)
Report taken from
A frustrating night for Bath City ended in a first defeat under Gary Owers, despite the Romans having countless opportunities to equalise against Gosport Borough in the second half.
Rory Williams' first-half strike was all that separated the two sides as City were unable to find a third late equaliser in a row, following draws with Havant & Waterlooville and Hemel Hempstead Town.
Relentless pressure from City saw Andy Watkins go close to equalising several times, before a controversial sending off for Frankie Artus left City with too much to do.
It was City's first red card of the season and concluded a disappointing night, which leaves the home side still dangerously close to the relegation places in the National League South table.
There was little between the sides during the scrappy opening minutes, although a Dan Bowman foul presented the away side with a dangerous opportunity on the left edge of the box.
Thankfully for City, Gosport's Ben Harding hit an in-swinging ball that sailed over his team-mates and bounced harmlessly out of play for a goal kick.
Harding was in the thick of the action again minutes later when he scuffed an unconvincing shot well wide of Steve Phillips' left hand goal post.
As City started to settle they began to look more threatening on the counter attack.
Dave Pratt came close to breaking the deadlock when he rose highest to get on the end of a cross from wide on the left, but his header was saved at point-blank range by keeper Nathan Ashmore.
It was not long until the visitors punished City, with Williams given far too much space to run into as he struck a curling effort past the despairing dive of Phillips from 20 yards out.
The Romans responded brightly to going a goal down and a direct run from Dan Ball set up Frankie Artus, whose low shot from just inside the box was comfortably gathered by Ashmore.
Bowman, who scored his first goal for City at the weekend, received plenty of the ball, but his end product left a lot to be desired as several good crossing opportunities going awry.
Gosport almost doubled their lead after 30 minutes when Harding's corner was headed towards goal by captain Sam Pearce, but Andy Gallinagh was in the right place to clear the ball off the line – much to the relief of keeper Phillips.
Both teams became frustrated as the game neared half-time, with Gosport's Justin Bennett receiving a yellow card for descent after being penalised in a good position for handball.
City's last chance of the half fell to in-form Andy Watkins, but he found the wrong side of the net after Danny Greenslade pulled the ball back to him inside the box from the byline.
However, there was still time for Gosport to go close again. Bennett picked up the ball on the right side before running at goal and firing a powerful shot that Phillips tipped over the bar.
The Romans started the second half on the front foot and Watkins went close to scoring three times in the first five minutes as they looked for a much-needed equaliser.
He blasted first effort from the edge of the area wide of the target, before collecting a through ball seconds later in the next attack and going through one-on-one with Gosport's keeper.
Watkins rounded Ashmore and looked certain to score, but he lost his composure and skewed his shot into the side netting from an acute angle when it looked easier to score.
City's pressure was unrelenting and Gosport almost caused their own downfall when Brett Poate headed a dangerous cross from the left inches wide of his own upright.
It was then the turn of Artus to go close for the home side, poking an effort towards the visitors' goal that was cleared off the line by a combination of Gosport players with the keeper beaten.
Another chance went begging for Liam Kelly, whose curling shot was comfortable for Ashmore in the Borough goal, but it appeared only a matter of time before City equalised.
Kelly was denied again by Ashmore on 75 minutes, with the keeper only able to parry the powerful strike away.
It then went from bad to worse for City when Artus was shown a straight red card for what appeared to be violent conduct on Perry Ryan, although the Gosport man looked to make the most of it.
The sending off effectively ended City's hopes of preventing their first defeat in five, after going unbeaten under Owers in February.