Bath City 0-0 Hayes & Yeading
By Kevin Porter
Photo’s by Simon Howe
Bath City and Hayes & Yeading United played out a tepid scoreless draw at a cold and windy Twerton Park. Neither goalkeeper was called into regular serious action, and the visitors held out for a valuable point in their fight to avoid relegation as City failed to make the most of their second half domination.
United caused an early scare for the home side when, in the 3rd minute, Christian Smith’s low free kick from the right skidded off the wet surface, and Jason Mellor needed to make an awkward blocking save. This proved to be the City keeper’s last meaningful action of the evening.
Luke Williams cut inside from the left on 12 minutes, but his shot was high and wide of Mellor’s goal.
With the elements against them, The Romans were struggling to put together their passing game, and it was not until the 28th minute that they carved out their first opening. Naby Diallo crossed from the left and found Andy Watkins at the far post, but the striker lifted his shot over the bar from barely 6 yards out.
Four minutes later, Ross Stearn’s dipping free kick from 25 yards narrowly cleared the crossbar. The same player found Phil Walsh beyond the far post with a deep right wing cross on 39 minutes, but the stretching centre-half was unable to direct his header on target.
The final chance of the half fell to Lewis Ferrell on the edge of the City area, but his side-footed effort was well over Mellor’s crossbar.
Whilst the hosts had the wind behind them after the interval, its strength had now decreased somewhat. Despite enjoying the territorial advantage, they were still unable to create clear openings in the face of some stubborn United defending. Dan Bowman threaded a neat pass through to Dave Pratt, only for the forward to be quickly closed down by two defenders before he was able to pull the trigger.
Pratt then did well to deliver an inviting cross from the right that was met by the diving Watkins, who was unable to make clean contact with his header, and the chance was lost.
Some slack defensive work by City in the 58th minute presented Dominic Green with a sight of goal, but his shot was deflected behind for a corner. It was the home side, however, that came close to breaking the deadlock on 65 minutes. Ashley Kington clipped a delightful cross into the Hayes box, and Pratt’s glancing header was just wide of the post, with keeper Grant Smith rooted.
The Somerset side came even closer to taking the lead after 69 minutes, when Watkins found space down the inside right channel, and saw his rising drive clatter against the face of the bar and away to safety.
Andy Gallinagh and Sekani Simpson came on for Bowman and Pat Keary respectively, as City continued to seek a breakthrough. Pratt turned cleverly inside the United area, but his shot comfortably cleared the bar, and Chris Allen then replaced Kington as Lee Howells used his final throw of the dice.
Chas Hemmings’ full blooded volley from 25 yards was narrowly wide of Smith’s post and, at the other end, Greg Morgan skipped past a couple of City challenges before wildly blazing his shot over the bar.
As full time approached, Stearn’s free kick from 20 yards was well wide and, shortly afterwards, appeals for a penalty were waved away by the referee, Mr. Simon Knapp, when the wideman appeared to have his heals clipped as he was about to shoot. Deep into stoppage time, Stearn also saw his angled shot palmed away by Smith at his near post.
This was a disappointing result against a side that showed little threat going forward, but credit has to be given to the visitors for their determined and well organized defending throughout. Bath will now travel to Havant & Waterlooville on Easter Monday, when they will hope to take advantage of their enforced rest on Saturday due to Salisbury City’s pre-season demise.
BATH CITY – Jason Mellor, Dan Bowman (Sekani Simpson 70), Naby Diallo, Phil Walsh, Dan Ball (c), Pat Keary (Andy Gallinagh 70), Ross Stearn, Chas Hemmings, Dave Pratt, Andy Watkins, Ashley Kington (Chris Allen 79). Subs not used, Jim Rollo, Louis Perry.
HAYES & YEADING UNITED – Grant Smith, Jim Fenlon, George McLennon, Lewis Ferrell, Christian Smith (c), Dean Inman, Greg Morgan, Adam Everitt, Elliot Benyon, Luke Williams (Manny Monthe 83), Dominic Green. Subs not used: Rhys Murrell-Williamson, Robbie Matthews, Chiwedu Vine, Calum Kitscha
Referee – Simon Knapp (Gloucestershire).
Attendance – 302