Bath City 3-2 Hayes & Yeading
Mayday Trust Park
13/04/14 Ko 3.07pm
Bath City headed into the game remarkably still just two points off a play-off place. It still gives the Somerset club something to play for despite having played at least a game more than the rest of the chasing pack; with Havent still having to play an extra 3 games! Hayes however have more to play for as they sit just one point above the relegation places. A midweek 3-0 loss to fellow strugglers Gosport Borough kept them firmly in the relegation mix. So both teams will be looking to pick up all 3 points with everything still to play for this season; a draw wouldn’t suit either team.
Thankfully for Bath City they had a little bit more left in the tank over the course of the 90 minutes. This keeps Bath still just two points behind Dover in the last play-off place, and Hayes & Yeading still have a lot to do at the wrong end of the table.
The game got off to a quick start with a goal on just four minutes for the visitors. Luke Williams took a shot come cross which found Paul Cox, who was under pressure from Sekani Simpson; with the ball hitting the unlucky Bath defender to put Hayes & Yeading 1-0 up. It wasn’t long until Bath went close with Josh Low, playing as the central striker, getting between two defenders but his first time strike hit the post. Noah Keats forced the keeper into a routine save after a decent cross from Low on the right after a neat step over from Andy Watkins on 17 minutes. It was then Watkins turn to test the keeper after Low’s header sent the Bath striker through but only for Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz, the Hayes & Yeading keeper, to make a decent stop.
Bath got back on level terms on 34 minutes though from 12 yards. A corner came in from the right but David Pratt was brought down for a penalty in a congested penalty area. Pratt grabbed the ball and cooly slotted the ball home into the bottom right hand corner. Low then curled a shot wide inside the area after a cross from Watkins on the right as the half ends; with Bath coming more into the game after a sluggish opening.
So it was 1-1 at half time which was a score line that wouldn’t suit either manager so both teams came out a lot more determined to get all 3 points. The former Hayes & Yeading player, Phil Walsh, went close just after the break with his headed effort from a free kick went just wide. On 55 minutes a corner brought about chances for Simpson, Low and finally Keats who blazes over. Low then went close again after being played through; with the midfielder having one of his best games in a Bath shirt.
However it was on 72 minutes when a break through finally came, but it was the visitors who went 2-1 up. A flowing break away move started by Matty Harriott, who fed the ball on to substitute Frankie Merrifield. Merrifield then turned the Bath defence inside out looking for an opening but decided to pull it back to Cox, who took it on first time and the ball flew into the bottom right hand corner from a good 25 yards out. Bath’s Head Coach Lee Howells saw this as the time to introduce the pace of Ross Stearn and Danny Bowman to try and get a response from his team.
Bath were getting the better of the chances in the final third and they equalised on the 84th minute. The impressive Pratt produced a bullet header, from a cross on the left hand side, to put the ball out of the reach of Jaimez-Ruiz. This goal really made the game come to life with a flurry of chances for both teams. Harriott went close from range on 86 minutes for Hayes & Yeading, whilst Stearn made a mazzy run into the heart of the Hayes defence only for his shot to be straight at Jaimez-Ruiz.
At last there was a winning goal on the 90 minute mark as Bath wrapped up all 3 points to keep them in the play-off hunt. A long clearance up field was allowed to bounce, with Pratt and Watkins chasing the centre back down, and it was Watkins who nipped in ahead of the pack to volley the ball into the bottom left hand corner. It wasn’t plain sailing for Bath as there were 4 minutes of injury time to play out. Jack Mills tried a long range effort, Cox had his shot well saved and Harriott blazed a final shot over for Hayes & Yeading. So there was relief all around Mayday Trust Park as Bath came away with all 3 points to keep their slim play off hopes alive.
Some great footage from Hayes & Yeading, really shows what an open attacking game it was. The crowd was 553 which is about average for Bath this season, but it can be a lot better. So if you enjoyed reading this then please share it round and get down to Mayday Trust Park for the last home game of the season on Monday 21st April!