Vanarama National League South
Saturday 28 January 2017 - Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||O'Leary, Rigg, Welch-Hayes, Batten, Andresson, Artus (c), Watkins (Hutchinson 75), Murphy (Hemmings 81), McCootie, Morgan, Lemonheigh-Evans (Diallo 81). subs not used: Simpson, Hunter.
|man of the match:
||Watkins (2, 25)
||Morgan (67), Andresson (84), Batten (86)
||J Smith, T Danaher, R Cox
|league position: 9th
||next match: Weston Super Mare (A)
Report taken from
Andy Watkins hit a brace as Bath City extended their unbeaten streak to six games against lowly Margate.
The Cornishman's double moved him level at the top of the club's scoring charts on the season with Nick McCootie at eight strikes apiece.
Each was a poacher's effort before the break, the first coming before two minutes had been clocked.
And the Romans saw out the game with little trouble as bottom-of-the-table Margate recorded their 13th straight defeat in National League South.
Nevertheless, ahead of the game Gary Owers refused to take anything for granted, but any nerves on the day were quelled near instantly as City made a dream start.
Marvin Morgan found space on the left to Nick McCootie into the box, his shot parried straight into the path of Watkins to slide in and find the empty net.
A long pass over the top from Miles Welch-Hayes then bounced through the Margate defence for Morgan to get in on goal, only to be forced off the ball by two desperate defenders.
City continued to create almost all the chances for the first period.
The second should have arrived on the counter, Max O'Leary hurling a throw out for Connor Lemonheigh-Evans – making his first start for the club – to bear down on goal and square for Watkins, who could not control in acres of space.
Yet the hosts recycled the ball instantly, with Watkins sending in a cross that McCootie flicked over from close range.
Margate's first half-chance came when Dean Morgan nutmegged Bristol City loanee Lemonheigh-Evans and went for goal from distance, his shot deflected behind.
But that was a rare forward foray in a half dominated by a Romans outfit that rarely had to get out of second gear.
Their next opening came from a corner that Morgan hooked back towards the post where Jack Batten, among others, could not find a way past Gate keeper Valery Pajetat.
Eventually the second would arrive, Watkins showing stealing in at the back post to sweep in after Pajetat had been forced to fend off a Billy Murphy free-kick that almost bent inside his right-hand post.
Another free-kick was scooped into the keeper's hands by Lemonheigh-Evans, while Axel Andresson came close to netting twice, first with a hard-hit cross that almost snuck in under the bar, and then a powerful leap and header wide after Margate failed to clear a corner.
Another speculative, 45-yard Dean Morgan effort swung comfortably wide for Margate after a loose Batten pass, but City had the final say of the half as McCootie charged down a long ball to dispossess Hakeem Adelakun and raced into the box.
With no support, he was tackled taking on the next defender, the loose ball running for Artus to sweep into Pajetat's hands.
There was little change to the pattern of play for the second half, which began with Lemonheigh-Evans screwing an effort across goal.
The visitors did have a slight uptick from their first-half performance, even seeing a goal disallowed for offside when Chris Sessegnon burst away from Frankie Artus and sent in a perfect low cross that Morgan deftly knocked past O'Leary, before being pulled up.
Ex-Roman Ben Swallow also jagged in from the right and smacked a decent effort just over the bar, but with that the Margate threat mostly dissipated.
City created another series of chances in quick succession without adding to the scoreline.
Lemonheigh-Evans shot instinctively but straight at Pajetat from a Morgan knockdown, before Morgan and McCootie combined for the latter to turn and shoot at the Gate keeper.
Still they came forward, Pajetat pushing a Watkins cross out to Lemonheigh-Evans, who took a loose touch trying to come outside of the last defender.
He was then almost in again, with the help of intricate combination play from Welch-Hayes and Morgan, to prod into the side netting.
Despite the Romans' dominance, Pajetat was rarely given any truly hard work as almost every was shot fired straight at him, Morgan doing just that after showing excellent strength to hold off his marker.
Substitute Josh Hutchinson got in on the act with an unsuccessful effort, before laying off for McCootie to thunder one last strike against the underside of the crossbar and out as City were made to suffice with a two-goal triumph.