Vanarama National League South
Monday 26 December 2016 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||O'Leary, Rigg, Welch-Hayes, Batten, Andresson, Hemmings, Murphy (Hunter 61), Artus (c), McCootie, Morgan, Watkins. subs not used: Hutchinson, Diallo, Simpson, Marshall.
|man of the match:
||Welch-Hayes (27), Andresson (66), Morgan (87)
||S Yianni, J Robinson, A Sheppard
|league position: 11th
||next match: Hungerford Town (A)
Report taken from
Bath City rallied late to claim a battling Boxing Day point from visiting Hungerford Town.
The stalemate in a dour game was broken by an aptly uninspiring goal for Crusaders' defender Jon Boardman with 20 minutes to go, the ball deflecting in as he challenged Chas Hemmings in an aerial duel under a long throw.
But a bursting Nick McCootie run set-up Andy Watkins to tie the game – his third goal in two outings – and sparked an end-to-end final 15 minutes.
Gary Owers named an unchanged line-up from the victory at Whitehawk, with a lop-sided midfield that featured Watkins on the left and no true wideman on the opposite flank.
The first period came and went with little action to extend the festive cheer for the 798-strong crowd inside Twerton Park.
City made most of the early opportunities but neither side truly grabbed a foothold on the contest.
Watkins got in the first shot of the day when he cut in from the left and dragged wide of the near post before visiting defender Mike Jones missed a header that almost let Morgan in behind.
The closest the home side got to a first-half goal came from a well-constructed throw-in move from the right.
A handful of touches near the corner allowed George Rigg to send a cross onto Morgan's chest and on for Frankie Artus to volley just off target.
Back at the other end, the City defence lived dangerously with ball at feet but always managed to work their way out of trouble, however narrowly.
The bulk of Hungerford's half-chances came from headers.
Harry Goodger looped the first onto the roof of the net, before City failed to clear a free-kick and Nat Jarvis forced Max O'Leary to parry wide with an awkward, thrusting header.
The Romans put in an improved spell ahead of the break with a series of set-pieces, but the only chance created came and went when Jack Batten swung at the air with a 12-yard volley.
The second period began with the confident Crusaders making most of the running; Luke Williams striking the wall with a free-kick, and Goodger and Boardman at the heart of panic in the City box to no reward.
That pressure was briefly punctuated by McCootie turning and firing a shot way out of the ground, but Hungerford continued to look the more likely.
James Clark almost got a fluke goal when his floated free-kick went all the way through and curled around the post.
However, the first goal would go their way when a long Herring throw from deep on the left looped over O'Leary via Boardman's head.
Hungerford refused to let up and pressed City high up the pitch despite holding the advantage, but one swift charge from McCootie changed the game.
The frontman dashed down the right-hand channel, to the byline, and pulled a low ball back for Watkins to tap in.
There were still chances for the visitors, substitute Stefan Brown instinctively heading wide, but it was a reinvigorated City that looked the more likely.
McCootie was again the catalyst for their next attack, winning the ball, playing a one-two with Marvin Morgan and setting Watkins in to draw fine save from George Legg.
The resulting corner found a way through for Morgan to stoop down and head wide at the back post, while Hemmings scooped a dinked Artus free-kick over the top.
Hunter almost found himself in behind when Day missed a hefty O'Leary punt, only to be forced wide.
A chilling Twerton Park then livened up when Herring made a dreadful challenge on Watkins, sparking a mini melee that saw Artus shove the midfielder over and Morgan get booked.
There would be one more opportunity for the Romans to snatch victory when a Watkins cross was headed over by Morgan as Hemmings lurked in behind.