Vanarama National League South
Saturday 19 March 2016 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
half-time: 1-0 result: D2-2 attendance: 497

team: Phillips (c), Gallinagh, Greenslade, Batten, Ball, Hemmings (Bowman 56), Murphy, Kelly, Harvey (McCootie 75), Pratt, Kington. subs not used: Williams, Hutchinson.
man of the match: Dave Pratt
scorers: Kelly (10), Pratt (79)
bookings: Gallinagh (15), Pratt (58), Harvey (58), Kington (61)
officials: S Allison, N Mackenzie, N Templey

league position: 18th form: DLDDLD next match: Maidenhead United (A)

Report taken from

Bath City leaked a stoppage-time equaliser as Bishop's Stortford denied them what would have been three precious National League South points Dave Pratt's 50th Romans goal 11 minutes from the end looked to have won it for the hosts, but Elliot Buchanan popped up to slap in a 91st minute leveller following a mistake from Andy Gallinagh. The Romans went ahead with a hint of fortune as Liam Kelly's early free-kick found the net with the help of some less-than-convincing goalkeeping. Pratt gave away the penalty that Stortford equalised from after the break through Buchanan, but redeemed himself with the next goal. Seconds after Dan Bowman had missed a sitter from four yards out, Pratt found himself in the right place to jab Nick McCootie's shot over the line. In the first added minute Galinagh was lost possession deep in home territory, allowing a cross to come in that was converted at the second attempt by Buchanan. There was no Sekani Simpson, who left the club after almost a decade of service, though Jack Batten newly signed after his release from Bristol City made a return to the team alongside Dan Ball. That pushed Gallinagh out to right-back and saw Bowman sit on the bench. Tyler Harvey also came in for his first Romans start as Eliot Richards was left out of the squad altogether, having played just 54 minutes at Truro before a recurrence of his hamstring injury. Gary Owers was still only able to name four substitutes, with McCootie back in the matchday squad for the first time since the draw at Havant & Waterlooville last month.

There was little to separate the sides ten minutes in until City broke the deadlock. Their goalscoring problems are well-publicised, so that their opener came courtesy of dodgy goalkeeping was perhaps unsurprising. Pratt was hauled over by De'Reece Vanderhyde chasing the ball at the left-hand corner of the penalty area to present Kelly a chance at goal. His free-kick lacked power, but bounced just in front of Craig King's hands and leapt into the roof of the net. Until the 40th minute Stortford showed nothing to worry the hosts. In that time Kelly had a shot held, having taken a precise Ashley Kington long ball out of the air with his left foot and fired goalward with the right. On 25 minutes Kington went for goal himself, skipping inside two challenges, only to scoop an effort way over the crossbar. Stortford carved out their first reasonable opportunity when Anthony Church flicked a header to Buchanan, whose shot was charged down by a defender. Wideman Frankie Merrifield then went on a charge down the left, but slipped in the process of shooting and sent the ball way off target.

A double substitution at the break drew Stortford back into the game. Much like City in the first period, they began to control proceedings without penetrating the defence. Corby Moore and Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson had shots blocked in quick succession before the visitors were handed the chance to level from the spot. Buchanan fired in a low shot that ended up bouncing around a gaggle of bodies at the byline, within which Pratt was deemed to have fouled George Allen. The City frontman was booked, either for the initial foul or his remonstrations with referee Sam Allison, before Buchanan stepped up and fired the spot-kick past Steve Phillips. Minutes later Billy Murphy was booked for another foul, with Robbie Wilmott's resulting free-kick brushed wide off Allen's head. The Romans looked to have wasted their golden chance to win the game when McCootie's lung-busting run and a Pratt dummy left Bowman to enter a miss of the season contender as he cleared an open goal from four yards. He would, however, have a hand in the second goal. Bowman's cross found McCootie, whose blocked shot fell perfectly for Pratt to prod past King. A disastrous finale saw Gallinagh lose the ball in the right-hand corner, allowing a cross to come in from Fortnam-Tomlinson. Phillips saved the initial strike, but the ball rebounded straight out for Buchanan to tap home.