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Post by Kelston Koppite on Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:11 pm

Bath City secured a hard earned victory against Eastbourne Borough at Mayday Trust Park this afternoon from a highly competitive and, at times, brutal match. An eccentric refereeing display by Mr. Barry Holderness of Wickford saw the man in black attempt to allow play to continue at every opportunity, but his lack of overall control inevitably led to tempers flaring between the sides from time to time. Indeed, Borough manager Tommy Widdrington was banished to the stand midway through the second half for inappropriate behaviour.

City began the game the stronger of the teams and, as early as the third minute, they posed a threat to the Eastbourne goal. Chris Allen’s free kick into the box reached Ben Adelsbury, but his angled shot was deflected behind for a corner. A minute later, Allen’s diagonal cross was glanced wide of the far post by Andy Watkins’ header.

The hosts continued to push forward, and Andy Gallinagh’s hooked shot from the edge of the box was just wide of the post. It was, therefore, much against the run of play when Eastbourne took the lead in the 10th minute. A low cross into the Bath box from the left was flicked on by Elvis Hammond, and Simon Johnson was on hand at the far post to score from close range.

This setback took the wind out of City’s sails for a period, and Borough began to look the more dangerous going forward, but they were unable to bring debutant home keeper Stuart Moore into meaningful action. Stacy Long tried his luck from 20 yards in the 16th minute, but was well wide of Moore’s goal.

City gradually clawed their way back into the game and came close to finding a leveller on 18 minutes. Watkins worked his way to the byline and cut the ball back into the path of Noah Keats, but the midfielder’s goalbound shot was brilliantly blocked by a last ditch defensive tackle. Josh Low then had a golden opportunity to score when he nicked the ball past Eastbourne keeper Craig Ross but, with the goal at his mercy, he delayed his shot too long allowing the recovering Ross to save at his feet.

Moore pulled off a good diving save to repel Long’s low curler, but the home team found a deserved equaliser after 34 minutes. Low exploited space out on the left by finding Dave Pratt with his deep cross. The striker controlled the ball well and picked out Watkins in front of goal, who made no mistake from 6 yards.

City were now playing with increased confidence and the pace of Allen, Watkins and Pratt was causing consternation in The Sports defence. Allen released Watkins down the left on 35 minutes, and his pinpoint cross picked out the unmarked Low in an inviting position. Alas, Low’s glancing header was wide of the target.

Allen’s driven effort was well saved at full stretch by Ross but, as half time approached, Adelsbury needed to be replaced by Adam Connolly after a lengthy delay following a nasty clash of heads.

The Romans emerged after the break with renewed urgency, and Allen’s free kick from the left was volleyed narrowly wide of the near post by the onrushing Phil Walsh. The pressure on the Eastbourne defence finally told on 57 minutes when Lee Howells’ side forged in front. Low put Pratt away down the right flank with a neat pass, and the striker drove his way towards the byline from where he pulled the ball back to Keats. This time, the Cityman man calmly found the back of the net with an assured finish from 8 yards.

For a spell, the hosts sought to put the game beyond their opponents, and Low was extremely unlucky with a shot from 20 yards that thudded against the foot of Ross’ post. Connolly then found Allen out on the right with controlled pass, and Pratt headed over the crossbar from the eventual cross.

A series of substitutions for the East Sussex side saw them throw caution to the wind, and City were consequently being pushed back deeper into their own territory, relying on breakaways whenever possible to ease the pressure.

Moore needed to be alert in the 67th minute to push away Johnson’s low cross, with Hammond waiting to pounce. Adam Watts then sliced his shot wide of the far post from a promising position after Jack Deaman had done well to find him from the byline.

Dan Bowman came on for Low with eleven minutes left on the clock, and was almost immediately upended by a crude and late challenge from Frankie Raymond, who was duly cautioned. The game was becoming increasingly fractious with tempers clearly fraying, and this eventually manifested itself into a number of ugly exchanges in the closing minutes, none of which were deemed worthy of any sanction by Mr. Holderness.

Eastbourne came close to restoring parity on 86 minutes, but Johnson’s powerful volley whistled just wide of Moore’s post. With the visitors now committed to total attack, City almost profited when Pratt beat Ian Simpemba to a long ball over the top. He poked the ball past Ross, but the keeper did well to save at his feet as the forward prepared to shoot.

Despite nearly six minutes of added time, the home team held out for the three points without any further alarm.

This was a hard fought victory against a side who were desperate for points to keep their slim play-off hopes alive. Eastbourne employed a highly physical approach throughout, and the referee did little to ease matters as a plethora of infringements went unpunished. In the end it was testament to City’s resolve and determination that they held out for their win.

BATH CITY: Stuart Moore, Sekani Simpson, Dan Ball, Andy Gallinagh, Phil Walsh, Ben Adelsbury (Adam Connolly 45), Chris Allen, Noah Keats, Josh Low (Dan Bowman 79), Dave Pratt, Andy Watkins (Joe Burnell 90): Subs not used; Aaron Brown, Ross Stearn.

EASTBOURNE BOROUGH: Craig Ross, Lewis Tallack, Jack Deaman, James Stinson, Ian Simpemba, Adam Watts, Stacy Long, Frankie Raymond, Elvis Hammond, Simon Johnson, Elliott Levy: Subs; Tom Derry, Matt Aldred, Ollie Rowe, Charlie Gorman, Darren Lok.

Referee: Mr. Barry Holderness (Wickford)

Att: 593
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Post by comrade powell on Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:20 pm

A very good summary of a well deserved win. After comments on here of a lack of desire on Tuesday, it was good to see such a commited approach. Eastbourne had a nasty streak to them with some appalling play acting to boot. Would not fancy watching them play Boreham Wood....
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Post by Mcnulty on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:00 pm

Spot on report. only thing I would add is I thought Eastbourne were more petulant than aggressive. I thought our players conducted themselves admirably in the face of such provocation particularly from their no. 7 who should have gone for numerous dissent offences and the number 9 who was actually a decent player but looked like he had been seriously injured several times only to make a lazurus like recovery each time.
As comrade said, this rabble vs Boreham wood wouldn't be for the purists.
I have said we aren't streetwise enough before but I am grateful that our players are honest.

Some really good displays throughout , Pratty tireless and effective as always, Allen and Adelsbury both continuing their good form. Walsh solid again, captain played well also. Finally, although they came at us in the last 20 it was refreshing that we didn't totally sit back and still remained a threat. I like Bowman coming on in the last quarter to run at tired defenders (though he'd be coming on for Stearny in my team not Low !). in fairness Josh had one of his better games for us today. lovely cross for the goal although he also missed two sitters!

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Post by BenE on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:09 pm

Adelsbury may have clashed heads but he went off with a bad ankle injury. It was wrapped in ice as he went down the tunnel.

I think you could make a fortune from re-packaging whatever the Eastbourne players drink as they make rapid remarkable recoveries from apparent crippling injuries.

Simmo is developing a bit of aggression. First he shouts at Stearn for not passing then he starts a free for all today. I never thought it would ever happen.
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Post by comrade powell on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:20 pm

Make Simmo captain!
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Post by the demon headmaster on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:48 pm

I love Chris Allen. He is the one who really provides the kind of service our nippy forwards like. We constantly posed problems for their defenders and he was always involved. I like the way he has become much stronger. It was a dynamic attacking display from the whole team and we did well to protect our shaky replacement goalkeeper because under more pressure I'm sure he wouldn't stand up.

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Post by Kelston Koppite on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:57 pm

BenE wrote:Adelsbury may have clashed heads but he went off with a bad ankle injury. It was wrapped in ice as he went down the tunnel.

I must admit that I was not sure. I thought it was a bang on the head and put his laboured exit from the pitch down to feeling groggy. However, it does make more sense that he was also suffering a damaged ankle. Thanks for the clarification.
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Post by LB on Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:17 pm

When we went behind early on I thought it was going to be another first half like we have seen too many times this season, but we came back strongly and really deserved to be ahead at half time not just level. We dominated the second half but rather like in the Dorchester game we had so much possession without getting the goal to give us that two goal cushion. When Eastbourne pushed men forward at the end it had the makings of another game where two points were going to slip away, but this time we held on for a deserved win.

Agree with Demon Headmaster about Chris Allen. I was very impressed by him when he first joined, but his form definitely dipped and he hasn't held down a place until recently but I think he is back to the form he showed initially. He gives the midfield the bit of 'flair' that it has lacked for a while. Think he is a bit harsh on the keeper though - he couldn't do much about the goal, and thought he did okay.

I also think Josh Low had one of his best games (although whether he should be starting instead of Ross Stearn is another matter). His run and cross for Andy Watkins' goal was something he has rarely produced, and his clever pass to Dave Pratt set up Noah Keats for the winner. I have often commented that he never looks as if he is enjoying himself on the pitch, but he really seemed up for it today.

As for Eastbourne, they were sadly typical of a lot of the teams in this league, and I like the comparison with Boreham Wood. Sadly teams like that thrive because referees like the one today let them get away with so much.

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Post by Marc Monitor on Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:15 pm

I thought it was a pretty ropey match, to be honest. The ref and Eastbourne made it into a match where I feared there would be a leg-breaking challenge. We definitely deserved the win in the long run and did well to hold onto it. However, if any of the other Eastbourne players had had the nous of Hammond, we could have been 2 or 3 down before we scored.

Seriously, though, the ref - he ignored pretty much everything in the second half and then randomly decided to penalise City for something that was innocuous. Then he refused to even card Hammond for having his hands on a player. It looked like Britton may go the way of their manager and, while not seeing the incident that got him sent off, I have a bit of sympathy, to be fair, as my language towards the ref wasn't pure and I am not one to have a go at refs willy-nilly.

Anyway, another 3 points in this weird topsy-turvy season for City.
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Post by comrade powell on Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:48 pm

i don't know about the ref, but the lino on the stand side certainly earnt his money today. he was the one who alerted the ref to whatever the visiting manager had said/done. and that was after he had bawled at adie in the 1st half and ordered him to sit down. and then he had regular altercations with their gobby number 7. the bloke did well!
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Post by Marc Monitor on Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:52 pm

His counterpart, however, was the epitome of inertia.
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Post by sean on Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:54 am

Didn't see what their manager got sent off for. I assume he said something as it appeared the linesman on the dugout side brought it to the attention of the referee.

I thought their number 9, Hammond, was lucky to avoid the red card. I think most people noticed the altercation by the dug outs, but he also raised his hands and shoved Simmo during the handbags in the second half. Was similar to what Jason got sent off for a couple of weeks ago.

Not a very nice team and like Comrade says, I wonder what would happen if they played Borehamwood.

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Post by Mcnulty on Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:28 pm

Yeah, echo the thoughts on the stand side linesman - he took a lot of verbals from no. 9 and 7.
Elvis ,their number 9, couldn't stand up for falling down.
I am glad our players don't feign injury all the time. When Adelsbury went down you knew it was serious unlike his counterpart who looked like he'd be shot only to jump up and start arguing with the ref which he continued for the rest of the game.
Really glad we beat this lot.

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Post by Luton Roman on Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:36 pm

Ref showed weaknesses in first 10m which players went on to exploit. Delay in showing their first yellow card, seemingly only to do so after Allen's pleading was indecisive, players quick to pick up these things.

Thought Walsh was dominant at the back, very consistent in what I've seen of him, would be great to sort out something with him next season and get round the travel issue somehow. Again Dave Pratt's work ethic is phenomenal, right to the last minute in charging down the goalie's clearance, first name on team sheet for me and would be my player of the season comfortably. Was impressed with Alen's play more than I have been where I have thought his slightness of frame seemed to inhibit him. Got too involved with the ref for my liking and seemed to go missing during their good spell in 2nd half. Low blew it for me in 1st half with some poor touches and an inexplicable delay in shooting. Granted a better 2nd half and more nfluential, but not man of the match across 90 mins.

Took an Eastbourne goal to get us going but we should have been out of sight by half time. At times a distance between us and them, all the more infuriating that we have no nailed down a play off spot. Others teasing us by not plling away but I suspect within the week it will become clearer. Still, 2 points more than last season with 4 to go, a good confidence about the team and all looks promising for a real push next season.

Finally, anyone else see Stearn straight to the dressing room when not brought on? did he come back? Thought he would have exploited the Eastbourne sluggish defence, but in the end it was the lively Bowman. Perhaps signs of the future.

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Post by Eddie Hitler on Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:50 pm

Mcnulty wrote:....Elvis ,their number 9, couldn't stand up for falling down....
I gather he needed extensive treatment after the game for bed-sores.

In terms of the ref, i was a bad omen when he made thier bloke change his underwear after 5 minutes!
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Post by Marc Monitor on Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:03 pm

Kelston Koppite wrote:Low exploited space out on the left by finding Dave Pratt with his deep cross.  The striker controlled the ball well and picked out Watkins in front of goal, who made no mistake from 6 yards.

The video has just reminded me. Pratt didn't find Watkins. He shot, the goalie made a good save but only as far as Watkins who scored on the rebound.
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Post by Kelston Koppite on Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:44 pm

Marc Monitor wrote:
Kelston Koppite wrote:Low exploited space out on the left by finding Dave Pratt with his deep cross.  The striker controlled the ball well and picked out Watkins in front of goal, who made no mistake from 6 yards.

The video has just reminded me. Pratt didn't find Watkins. He shot, the goalie made a good save but only as far as Watkins who scored on the rebound.

Quite right Marc. I did not detect the keeper's save from my position at the other end of the Pop Side. I can only report what I saw (or thought I saw) and the video evidence clearly confirms that I was wrong! Just shows how we all see things differently from different angles, and why people's opinions vary.
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Post by Marc Monitor on Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:58 pm

Well, I was absolutely sure that Keats goal was an own goal so it happens to us all.
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Post by Paul1978 on Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:46 pm

dave pratt was superb, my player of the season. easy win really. poor away support. seen five fans behind the goal. I thought they had better support than that.
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Post by Eddie Hitler on Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:34 am

I though the young lad Moore did ok in goal when called upon.
It must have been difficult after the Somerset Cup incident which would have marred his debut and shaken his confidence, but fair play to him for bouncing back. Made a lot more difficult I would suggest by unhumourous comments whenever got the ball at his feet for the first 15 minutes, from City-supporters!
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Post by Luton Roman on Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:49 am

Gallows humour. He will need to dw far worse. He did get noticeably gd support when he came to claim crosses.

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Post by comrade powell on Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:05 am

Paul1978 wrote:dave pratt was superb, my player of the season. easy win really. poor away support. seen five fans behind the goal. I thought they had better support than that.

there were at least 15 more in the enclosure. it's a long way and i don't remember more city fans making the trip there a few weeks ago...
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