National League South
Saturday 29 October 2016 - Stonebridge Road - kick off 3.00pm
||O'Leary, Batten, Ball (c) (Hunter 87), Hemmings, Monthe, Artus, Rigg, Diallo, Watkins (McCootie 75), Morgan, Broom. subs not used: Hutchinson, Murphy, Marshall.
|man of the match:
||Hemmings (66), Rigg (79)
|league position: 13th
||next match: Concord Rangers (H)
Report taken from
With Halloween just around the corner, Ebbsfleet's Nathan Ashmore proved to be Bath City's villain once again.
It's now ten games unbeaten for the glovesman against the Romans, as his second-half penalty save from Marvin Morgan proved vital as the Kent club managed to hangon to three points, with Gary Owers left to reflect on a winless October.
The City chief's preparations for the match were hampered by a delayed arrival following an accident on the M25 and this appeared to play a part in his side's slow start to the match.
Having scored seven goals in the opening 15 minutes of league matches this season, 'fleet flew out of the blocks. Dean Rance dragged a shot wide in the early stages before Danny Kedwell thought he'd given his side a lead their early dominance would have deserved.
The burly striker leapt highest to Jack Powell's pinpoint free-kick but saw his header crash against the underside of the bar before eventually being gathered by Max O'Leary, who might have got the slightest touch to divert it onto the woodwork.
Chas Hemmings, making his 100 th appearance for the club, nearly marked it in sensational fashion. Intercepting a loose ball in the centre circle, he audaciously tried to loft the ball over the stranded Ashmore, who back-peddled frantically before being relieved to see his effort float narrowly off target.
The deadlock was broken on 28 minutes. Anthony Cook's run and low cross saw Kedwell unable to fully connect from close range. After a brief scramble, the ball bounced loose to Sam Deering, whose untidy strike from ten yards took a wicked deflection off George Rigg; hopelessly wrong-footing O'Leary.
The sigh of relief from Daryl McMahon in the home dugout was evident and he was nearly in celebration mode again just after the half-hour.
This time Deering turned provider; his cross met by the head of the diminutive Darren McQueen from point-blank range, forcing a super save from the City stopper, flinging himself to his right.
It was the final real action of the half, which was edged by the hosts, but the visitors came out determined in the second period to try to maintain their unbeaten record against United in National League South.
Unfortunately, they blew a golden opportunity to put themselves back on level terms. Hemmings' lofted ball over the top was met by Watkins just inside the penalty area.
It looked like he had failed to connect fully, but whilst doing so Cook needlessly upended him; referee Chris Pollard pointing to the spot.
Morgan was the man entrusted with the spot-kick on this occasion; having confidently rifled his effort home in the shoot-out against Potters Bar recently.
This time he went for placement, and struck his effort too close to Ashmore, who appeared to be a couple of yards off his line, assisting him in deflecting the ball behind for a corner.
Captain Dan Ball rescued City from falling further behind when he pick-pocketed McQueen as he lined up a shot when through on goal.
The Kent outfit were enterprising and probing on the attack but failed to significantly test O'Leary. Deering came closest to doubling their tally when his arcing free-kick grazed the outside of the post.
Nick McCootie was introduced for Watkins with 15 minutes remaining, as further companionship for the largely isolated Morgan in attack.
The substitute's first involvement saw him appear to foul Rance in a build-up which allowed the ball to run loose to Naby Diallo; his daisy-cutter palmed around the post by Ashmore.
The resulting corner saw a mass scramble, but no-one was able to get a telling touch for the away side - a clear example of their recent frailties in front of goal.
Shaquille Hunter was thrown on as City reverted to 3-4-3 for the final few minutes. The closest they came to levelling was through Manny Monthe, who purposefully strode forward before his powerful drive was turned around the post by the home custodian.
Determined defending by the formidable centre-back trio Mark Phillips, Dave Winfield and Kenny Clark, throwing themselves in front of shots, prevented further trouble for Ashmore.
While Bath poured forward, gaps were left at the back as Bubb pounced on hesitancy from Hemmings, before being forced wide by O'Leary. His pull back found Deering, but a lapse in concentration gave Batten time to hack the ball to safety.
It was a disappointing end to a forgetful month for the Romans. As the clocks go back, they'd be happy to do the same, replicating their form of two months ago which kick-started their season.
With some tricky away games on the horizon, Owers will be hoping his men bounce back at home to Concord next week. A similar showing should suffice in this aim.