Bath City April 2015

Bath City FC April 2015

There have been lots of developments in the last week at Bath City so we’ll attempt to bring you reports on the key events. We’ll start be taking a look at two of Kevin Porter’s match reports from the last two games then look briefly at the Legends evening.

Bath City 2-1 Ebbsfleet United
Conference South
Twerton Park

By Kevin Porter

Bath City returned to winning ways with a much improved performance against Ebbsfleet United at Twerton Park this evening. Despite the openness and pace of the game there were few clear goal scoring opportunities, but two strikes from leading marksman Dave Pratt proved sufficient to earn victory for the hosts.

The opening quarter of an hour was confined to the midfield areas with a distinct air of ‘cat and mouse’, but the match sprang into life on 16 minutes. Naby Diallo found Frankie Artus inside the box with a neat pass, and the midfielder was pulled back as he turned his marker. The referee, Mr. Marvyn Amphlett of Kidderminster, had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and, tellingly, there was precious little dissention from the Ebbsfleet players. Pratt stepped forward to confidently drill his low shot into the centre of the net, as Preston Edwards tumbled to his right.

The home side’s advantage lasted less than a minute as United responded almost immediately. Matt Godden, finding himself in acres of space, volleyed goalwards and, with Jason Mellor only able to parry, Stuart Lewis was presented with the most straightforward of tasks to tap the loose ball into the net from 10 yards.

Ashley Kington found room on the edge of the Ebbsfleet area but shot straight at Edwards and, at the other end, Luke Rooney’s angled low drive came back off the face of Mellor’s near post.

Both sides sensed that the game was there to be won, but it was City who came the closest to adding to the score line. Pratt seized on a defensive error on 28 minutes and raced clear on goal, only for Edwards to deflect his shot behind for a corner. The same player weaved his way beyond three challenges four minutes later but, off balance, he was unable to exert the power in his eventual shot to beat the goalkeeper.

Rooney tried his luck with a low shot from 18 yards that almost slipped under Mellor’s body, but the keeper gathered at the second attempt. Pratt was then desperately unlucky with a ferocious drive from 25 yards that clattered into the upright, with Edwards comprehensively beaten.

The final chance of the half arrived in the first minute of stoppage time when, after making a swift break, Diallo found Kington in space, but the midfielder’s effort was comfortably saved by Edwards.

Again the second period began slowly with the visitors generally on top, but Andy Gallinagh’s cross-shot in the 56th minute flew dangerously across the face of Edwards’ goal with no teammate being able to apply a telling touch. Fleet responded with a low shot from Rooney that Mellor did well to push round his near post to safety.

Ebbsfleet were now enjoying the upper hand in terms of possession, but were failing to make inroads into the City rear-guard. Chas Hemmings shot wide of the target from 25 yards on 69 minutes and, slightly against the run of play, his side were back in front three minutes later. Nick McCootie, who was a handful for the United defence throughout, showed great tenacity to beat Anthony Acheampong to a through ball down the left and squared his pass across the goalmouth, where Pratt slid home at the far post.

Thereafter, Ebbsfleet tried to find a way back into the game but, despite having the territorial advantage, they were unable to force Mellor into further serious action, and City held out for the three points without undue alarm.

After the struggles of recent weeks, this was a welcome victory for The Romans and, those in attendance were appreciative of their lively performance. Lee Howells’ men will now look to take this improved form into Saturday’s final home game of the season against Sutton United.

Bath City: Jason Mellor, Sekani Simpson, Andy Gallinagh, Phil Walsh, Dan Ball, Chas Hemmings, Ashley Kington, Naby Diallo, Dave Pratt, Nick McCootie (Andy Watkins 84), Frankie Artus. Subs not used: Ross Stearn, Dan Bowman, Chris Allen.

Ebbsfleet United: Preston Edwards, Kenny Clark (Alex Osborn 88), Aiden Palmer, Theo Lewis, Anthony Acheampong, Tom Bonner, Matt Godden (Sean Shields 88), Stuart Lewis, Tyrone Marsh, Adam Cunningham (Michael West 74), Luke Rooney. Subs not used: Matt Johnson, Jamie Turner.

Referee: Marvyn Amphlett (Kidderminster)

Attendance: 309

Hayes & Yeading 2-0 Bath City
Conference South
York Road

By Kevin Porter

Bath City’s recent poor run of form continued on its downward spiral as they produced a miserable performance against struggling Hayes & Yeading United at York Road. The hosts, currently ground sharing with Maidenhead United, needed victory to ensure their Vanarama Conference South survival, and this was effectively achieved by virtue of City’s calamitous defending in the opening 12 minutes of the contest.

The game was played out on a hard, dusty and uneven surface that, alongside a deceptively gusty wind blowing down the slope, made constructive football almost impossible, but it was United who adapted better to the conditions.With the gradient and elements in their favour, the home side quickly put the Bath defence under pressure, and Jason Mellor was called upon to save Christian Smith’s curling free kick in the 3rd minute. A minute later, Hayes were in front when a corner from the right was allowed to travel across the face of goal, and the unmarked Dean Inman planted a firm header into the corner of the net.

The visitors were unable to make any impression on proceedings, and the lead was almost extended on 9 minutes. Greg Morgan’s cross into the box picked out Robbie Matthews, whose header was brilliantly saved by Mellor.

Frankie Artus drove a free-kick into the home defensive wall after Nick McCootie had been tripped, but United doubled their advantage after 12 minutes in freakish circumstances. Morgan, out wide on the right and close to the halfway line, hoofed the ball aimlessly downfield and, crucially, Mellor momentarily stumbled as he began to back-peddle. Aided by the wind and an exaggerated bounce, the ball eluded the stranded keeper and, almost in slow motion, serenely entered the unguarded net.

The hosts were now happy to sit back on their lead, but City were unable make any inroads going forward. Indeed, Hayes came closest to adding to the score line in the 25th minute when Phil Walsh gave the ball away to Morgan on the edge of the box, but Mellor made a timely challenge to avert the danger.

The visitors finally produced a shot at goal on 34 minutes when Dan Ball ran at the home defence, but his eventual effort was wildly high over the crossbar and landed somewhere deep in central Maidenhead.

The final chance of the half fell to the home side, but Smith’s header was wide of Mellor’s far post following a corner from the right.

Andy Gallinagh was replaced by Ross Stearn ahead of the restart as City attempted to find a way back into the match. There was an improvement in the tempo and urgency thereafter, but they still struggled to exert any sustained pressure on the United defence. Dave Pratt ran on to a through ball in the 47th minute but, under pressure from George McLennon, fired wide of the near post.

McCootie found himself with a clear sight on goal on the hour mark, but could only shoot against keeper Grant Smith’s legs. The ball looped invitingly into the air but, as it dropped, the striker headed wide of the target. Three minutes later Stearn won a free kick 25 yards from goal following a foul by Adam Everitt, which earned the latter a yellow card. The substitute dusted himself down, and then saw his shot come back off the face of the crossbar with the keeper beaten. Pratt attempted to force home the rebound but was in an offside position.

Andy Watkins came on for Artus, but was unable to exert any influence on proceedings as City’s challenge petered out. Stearn’s 65th minute cross caused Grant Smith some concern as he was forced to claw the ball away from under his crossbar, but he was not called into any further serious action.  McCootie’s volley from 20 yards was well over the bar and, with 4 minutes left on the clock, the same player headed wide of the far post following Chris Allen’s cross from the right.

The final whistle was greeted by the home fans as their side successfully avoided relegation, but there was precious little to cheer for the travelling support.   It can only be hoped that the side can lift themselves for the remaining three games so that their season can be prevented from an ignominious conclusion.

Hayes & Yeading United: Grant Smith, Jim Fenlon, George McLennan, Adam Everitt, Lewis Ferrell, Dean Inman, Greg Morgan, Christian Smith, Robbie Matthews, Luke Williams, Rhys Murrell-Williamson. Subs: Emmanuel Monthe, Dominic Green, Jack Thomson-Wheeler, Chinedu Vine, Calum Kitscha.

Bath City: Jason Mellor, Sekani Simpson, Andy Gallinagh (Ross Stearn 46), Phil Walsh, Chas Hemmings, Naby Diallo, Chris Allen, Frankie Artus (Andy Watkins 64), Dave Pratt, Nick McCootie, Dan Ball. Subs not used: Dan Bowman, Pat Keary, Ashley Kington.

Referee: Chris O’Donnell.

Attendance: 228

The night before the Hayes trip was the Bath City Legends evening on Friday 10th April. This was a celebratory evening and the main event of Bath City’s 125 season whereby former key players from the 1970s, 80s, 90s and 00s were invited back to the club to talk about their time at the club.

Dave Payne was the first to speak about the atmosphere at the club when he was playing, including an insight into what players actually hear from the terraces. Former Welsh International Paul Bodin also took to the stage to describe his joy when he was first appointed manager. There were 15 legends sat on the 15 tables, with fans given the chance to talk to them during the meal and entertainment.

Charlies and Randalls bar was packed out with around 200 people enjoying themselves and there was a signed auction to cap off the evening. It was excellently marshalled by the energetic Bob Chester who has been the busiest man at the club this season.

The next home game is against Sutton United this Saturday in a 3pm ko. This is the last home game of the season so make sure you get down to show your appreciation to the lads. There are still just a few 125 t-shirts left in the Supporters HQ, along with limited run pin badges. Also if you are a member of the Supporters Club or Supporters Society then make sure you get to their meetings before the game!

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