Bath City 1-2 Havant & Waterlooville
Bath slip again in a Bank Holiday to forget
At a very wet Twerton Park, in front of just 481 fans, Bath have another historic game but for all the wrong reasons. Ryan Young, Havant’s goal keeper, scored his first ever goal which turned out to be the match winner. Andy Watkins did get Bath’s first goal of the season in the game too but the damage was done with Havant’s goals coming on the 9th and 48th minutes.
“Keep it tight for the first ten” is usually the shout from most Sunday league managers but a shaky Bath defence couldn’t quite manage that. Bath failed to get going and conceded when Jason Mellor and Andy Gallinagh collided trying to deal with the same long ball on the edge of the box. This left Jonathan Hooper to roll home the ball into an empty net after he managed to avoid this collision after chasing down Gallinagh.
His young strike partner, Shamir Mullings, almost managed to get on the score sheet moments later, but his touch was heavy after being played through; Mellor gathering well. Havant’s young front pair were a handful for the City backline all afternoon and will key to Havant’s fortunes this season as they both adjust to their second senior year in football.
Bath had a half chance when Ben Adlesbury produced a cross from deep finding David Pratt, however his header was tipped away by Young for a corner. This was as good as it got for Bath despite Pratt and Watkins being full of running but the strong Havant defence were more than a match for them, with the midfield doubling up quickly to snuff out any goal scoring threat.
Hooper shoots wide on 18 minutes after a good attacking move from Havant who were playing the ball around well in the howling rain. It was a few moments later when they should have been 2-0 up. Gallinagh slipped whilst tracking back allowing Perry Ryan to burst forward on goal. Mellor came to meet him just doing enough to force him wide after going to ground, with the defence managing to block his shot for a corner with a crunching tackle in the 6 yard box.
Lee Howells changed it on 28 minutes with Gallinagh and Daniel Ball switching sides in defence producing better link up play in the final third. However there was only a half chance for Ashley Kington with a lack of clear cut chances for Bath.
Former City player, Ben Swallow, was causing the City defence problems all afternoon with his direct running on the right hand side. He was fouled for a free kick, which he whipped in but Scott Donnolly at the far post couldn’t convert and the chance was lost. A few minutes later Swallow had a shot from distance, after evading some strong challenges, but it was straight at a grateful Mellor.
It’s then Hooper’s turn to skip past a number of challenges to unleash a shot/cross but it didn’t find Mullings arriving on the left hand side. Bath’s defence then gifts Mullings a real chance just a minute later but Pat Keary manages to clear it at the last moment for a corner.
Havant have had by far the better chances going into half time, with Bath still extremely vulnerable at the back up against the strength, pace and tricks of the Havant front two. Watkins did manage to get in Bath’s first real chance after some hesitant defending but Young positioned himself well to save comfortably.
Change was needed at half time and Bath brought on Ross Stearn for Gallinagh to change the formation from 5-3-2 to 4-3-3. This didn’t matter as they then conceded after just three minutes from a freak goal. Havant keeper Ryan Young scores from his hands with a huge kick up field. The Bath defence were watching the roaming forwards (Mullings) and Mellor was caught between coming or going and the ball bounces over him into the empty net.
In the two minutes that followed Bath could have easily got themselves back into the game with Watkins holding off his marker only for Young to save with his knee, with Kington blasting the rebound wide of the far post. Then Pratt heads Stearn’s cross onto the bar after some direct running on the right hand side.
The threat of Stearn forces Lee Bradbury to bring on two defensive midfielders to help double up on Bath’s front three. This does increase the chance of fouling around the box and Stearn’s free kick, on 56 minutes, hits the wall and falls to him again but it flies wide of the far post taking a deflection on the way.
Havant were beginning to soak up the pressure and hit Bath on the break with pace. Swallow has a snap shot at the near post from the right hand side after a cut inside getting past Ball. Then five minutes later Adlesbury out of nowhere has a 40 yard pot shot, struck well but straight at Young to make the save and build another attack for Havant.
Bath finally had the chance they were looking for on 71 minutes. Stearn’s corner floated in over the heads of everyone failing straight on to the foot of Andy Watkins. He touches it and half volleys it into the near post giving Young had no chance for Bath’s first goal of the season.
Howells can sense Bath could get something from the game and throws Chas Hemmings into a front 4 with Stearn moving to the left hand side. Havant were still a real danger going forward and Mellor saves well at the feet of three unmarked Havent players, up from a corner, when Swallow crosses the half cleared ball back in.
Both sides had long shots in the final ten minutes with Chris Allen shooting from 40 yards, after being allowed the space to roam forward, whilst Mullings had a 30 yard effort saved by Mellor. The final good chance of the game was Havant’s when Hooper broke away and squared the ball to Mullings; putting him one on one. However Mellor read it well and was quick off his line to dive on the ball as Mullings struggled to get it out of his feet.
So a very poor game for Bath fans with their team looking extremely disjointed for long periods. The Hawks fans will be very pleased with the overall performance with their forwards looking lively and some very experienced midfield players putting in a great shift. Also who wouldn’t be happy when your keeper scores the winner!
Bath: Jason Mellor, Daniel Bowman, Daniel Ball, Andy Gallinagh, Pat Keary, Sekani Simpson, Chris Allen, Ben Adlesbury, David Pratt, Andy Watkins, Ashley Kington
Subs: Ross Stearn (HT for Gallinagh), Chas Hemmings (76min Adlesbury), Joe Burnell, Martin Slocombe (80min Bowman) Jim Rollo
Havant: Ryan Young, Josh Huggins, Daniel Blanchett, Perry Ryan, Edward Harris, Ryan Woodford, Ben Swallow, Scott Donnelly, Shamir Mullings, Johnathan Hooper, Nic Ciardini
Subs: Brian Dutton (53min for Woodford), Warren Cummings (90min for Swallow), Pedro Monteiro (53min for Ciardini), Harry Wedlake, (GK) Charlie Searle
Simon Howe’s photos for the game can be found here