Vanarama National League South
Saturday 15 April 2017 - Rookery Hill - kick off 3.00pm
||O'Leary, Rigg, Welch-Hayes, Batten, Andresson (c), Hemmings (Marshall 65), Watkins, Murphy, McCootie (Morgan 59), Diallo (Hutchinson 54), McCoulsky. subs not used: Simpson, Artus.
|man of the match:
||S Purkiss, T Marshall, S Scott
|league position: 9th
||next match: Poole Town (H)
Report taken from
Bath City could not put the ghosts of Rookery Hill to rest as East Thurrock United's double salvo midway through the first half gave the Essex hosts victory.
It was not the 7-1 humiliation job of two seasons ago, when the Romans were dumped out of the FA Cup by the then Isthmian League Rocks, but the final result could not complete a season's double after City won the corresponding Twerton Park fixture 2-1.
Sam Higgins and Reece Harris did the damage with carbon copy goals either side of the half-hour in an otherwise uninspiring opening period.
The visitors picked up after the interval and slowly began to take control as the match wore on.
East Thurrock keeper Lukas Lidakevicius twice had to make diving saves from Nick McCootie and Marvin Morgan, the latter also hitting the woodwork with a header, yet a goal remained elusive for the travelling number.
The first 20 minutes were relatively low key with neither side carving out any opportunities, bar a moment of potential drama when Max O'Leary had a clearance run down by a haring Thurrock frontman.
McCootie was called offside tearing in behind following enterprising link-up play between Naby Diallo and Shawn McCoulsky, in an otherwise slow opening run for the Romans.
The deadlock was broken with the first shot of the game when Tom Wraight received a long ball down the left and crossed for Higgins to slam home from close-in with a hefty deflection off Max O'Leary, who could do little to keep it out.
Five minutes later came the second in near identical fashion. Kye Ruel flicked the ball to Higgins, deep on the left, whose whipped cross fell to Harris to emphatically finish ten yards out.
Finally City began to make headway when McCootie blazed to the byline on the right, cut inside and forced the first save of the day from Lidakevicius.
Andy Watkins then skipped past two defenders and drilled a shot into a home defender, while Higgins nodded a Ruel centre over the top at the other end.
McCoulsky took a leaf out of McCootie's book by racing to the byline himself. He knocked back for his strike partner, but the ball ballooned over the crossbar by a combination of a sliding McCootie and a home defender.
Jinking into space, Billy Murphy speared a low shot inches wide of Lidakevicius' left-hand upright, with the final action of the first period seeing O'Leary make a routine save from George Craddock's long-range effort.
It could have been 3-0 to the hosts within minutes of the second half kicking off as Higgins booted a presentable half-volley comfortably over the bar.
He then struck a post after Jack Batten missed a header, the ball ricocheting onto O'Leary's back and fortunately rolling into the side netting for a corner.
A scrambling Lidakevicius was forced to save a McCootie effort, hit on the turn from a bouncing ball on the back of tenacious work from Watkins on the right flank.
In the aftermath of that effort, McCootie went down injured and was replaced by Morgan.
And soon enough, the veteran found himself with possession in the box, but his attempted plays failed to come off on each occasion.
Morgan then got a shot of his own in. Fellow substitute Josh Hutchinson burst into the box and laid off for Morgan to draw a low, diving stop from Lidakevicius.
It was a lively display off the bench for Hutchinson, who looked a positive outlet on the left and almost got a goal with a stinging volley from the edge of the box, that was deflected behind off a defender.
By this point City were largely in control and watched on agonisingly as a Morgan header looped onto the top of the bar.
In the afternoon's final incident of note, Watkins weaved his way to the right-hand corner of the six-yard box and hit the crowd of home defenders ahead of him.