Bath City supporter Kevin Porter writes an excellent match report for nearly all the games he attends; sharing them on the Bath City forum. I intend to help make his work available to another audience, complete with Simon Howe’s pictures and the club footage from Romans on Demand. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do when I can’t watch City.
Hayes & Yeading 0-3 Bath City
Report by Kevin Porter
Photos by Simon Howe
Videos by Romands On Demand
Bath City produced a dominant second half performance to defeat fellow strugglers Hayes & Yeading United and, in the process, preserved their National League South status for another season. Two Liam Kelly penalties and an outstanding solo effort from Nick McCootie proved to be the decisive factors as Gary Owers’ team took all three points back to the West Country.
Given the high stakes for both sides, the first half was inevitably a cagey affair with goal scoring opportunities at a premium. With a swirling breeze at York Road alongside a dry playing surface, it was always going to be challenging to produce constructive football. Indeed, the first opening of the match, after 5 minutes, resulted from a long kick down the slope from home keeper James Hamon. The ball was flicked on by Elliot Benyon, and Luke Williams drilled his shot narrowly over Steve Phillips’ crossbar.
The visitors had to wait until the 13th minute before threatening the United goal. The returning Frankie Artus slipped the ball through into the path of Andy Watkins inside the area, but the striker’s angled shot was wide of the far post. Ashley Kington then tried his luck with a dipping volley from 30 yards which landed on the roof of the net, with Hamon scrambling backwards uncomfortably.
City were now largely controlling matters and continued to pose the greater attacking threat. Jack Batten’s free kick into the box on 22 minutes fell into Watkins’ path, but his effort was blocked by the advancing Hamon.
The hosts were being restricted to occasional raids into Bath territory and, on the half hour mark, Adetayo Osifuwa latched on to a partially cleared corner, but his shot from the edge of the box deflected off a City defender and was easily gathered by Phillips. Three minutes later Williams’ fierce shot from 20 yards was blocked by Dan Ball, and his follow up strike flew straight into Phillips’ grateful arms.
Hayes were enjoying their best spell of the half, and Benyon turned adeptly inside the box before firing his shot wide of the target, when he probably should have done better.
Thereafter, the visitors regained the upper hand and, two minutes before the interval, could have taken the lead. A searching free kick from wide out on the left from Ball was nodded back into the danger zone by Dave Pratt, and Hamon had to make a stretching save to keep out Chas Hemmings’ glancing header.
With the gradient now in their favour, City commenced the second period in purposeful fashion as they pinned United back deep into their own half. Watkins headed high over the bar following a Kelly corner from the left after 53 minutes, but his side were in front two minutes later.
A poor back header from the experienced Darren Purse put Hamon under considerable pressure, and Pratt nipped in to steal the ball near the byline inside the box. As the forward bore down on goal he was tripped by the keeper, leaving the referee, Mr. Ian Rathbone, no choice but to point to the spot. There was a certain air of incredulity amongst the travelling fans behind the goal that Hamon’s participation in the game had not been terminated and, in the event, he was not even issued with a yellow card. However, the custodian was sent the wrong way as Kelly’s penalty kick found the bottom corner of the net with confident precision.
The lead was doubled on the hour mark when Pratt was again fouled inside the area, this time by Osifuwa. There was a feeling that it was a somewhat soft award, but the defender was on the wrong side of the frontman and effectively curtailed his progress from behind. This time Kelly crashed his spot kick into the roof of the net, giving Hamon no chance whatsoever.
The hosts were now clearly shell-shocked, and City looked dangerous every time they attacked. Watkins broke away in the 65th minute and raced right down to the byline, but there were none of his teammates in the box to apply the finishing touch to his inviting cross.
At the other end, Williams lifted a shot over Phillips bar from 20 yards in rare effort on the City goal, but Owers’ made an inspired substitution on 69 minutes when Nick McCootie came on for Pratt. Within 30 seconds, the replacement made a telling and definitive contribution by putting the game out of United’s reach. He burst forward towards goal from the half way line, held off the challenge of two defenders, and neatly rolled the ball into the corner of the net beyond the outrushing goalkeeper.
With a healthy advantage now secured, it was understandable that The Romans began to sit back deeper and thus allowed Hayes to come more into the game. Max Worsfold curled a shot wide from distance, before Kelly made way for Louis Perry.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, Phillips was called upon to make a useful save to keep out Benyon’s close range header, but it was City who remained to more likely to add to the scoreline. A series of shots were repelled by the home defence in quick succession before the ball broke to Perry on the edge of the area, but the substitute’s powerful low effort was just wide of the target.
With 4 minutes left on the clock, Hamon launched a long free kick into the Bath box, and Hemmings’ attempted headed clearance looped narrowly over his own crossbar, but the resulting corner was cleared without undue alarm.
Watkins cleverly turned Emmanuel Monthe on the half way line in the 86th minute and swiftly advanced into the area, but his angled shot passed agonisingly across the face of goal. There was still time for Hemmings to try his luck from distance after finding acres of space in the home half, only for his shot to fly high over the shed behind the goal and land several fields beyond.
This was a fully deserved victory for the Somerset side, and the importance of the triumph was not lost on the visiting supporters who had travelled in impressive numbers. At the final whistle the team showed their appreciation to those on the terraces for their vociferous encouragement throughout. There is no doubt, however, that the overriding feeling on the homeward journey for all of City persuasion will be one of immense relief.
Hayes & Yeading United – James Hamon, Adetayo Osifuwa (Tom Collins 74), Jordaan Brown (Shepherd Murombedzi 74), Adam Everitt, Darren Purse, Emmanuel Monthe, Ashley Lodge (Ismael Ehui 58), James Harper, Elliot Benyon, Luke Williams, Max Worsfold.
Subs not used: Olumide Durojaiye, Luke Ifil
Bath City – Steve Phillips, Dan Bowman, Chas Hemmings, Jack Batten, Dan Ball, Ashley Kington, Billy Murphy, Liam Kelly (Louis Perry 79), Dave Pratt (Nick McCootie 69), Frankie Artus, Andy Watkins.
Subs not used: Andy Gallinagh, Brad Williams, Josh Hutchinson
Referee – Mr. Ian Rathbone
Attendance – 258