Eastbourne Borough (0)1 Bath City (0)2

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Eastbourne Borough (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by Kelston Koppite on Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:59 am

Bath City secured their second away victory within a week with an assured performance against Eastbourne Borough at a windswept Priory Lane. After a nondescript first half in difficult conditions, the West Country side dominated proceedings after the break, but were forced to survive some late home pressure following the dismissal of George Rigg for a professional foul.

City began the match playing down the slope but with a stiff breeze against them, and constructive football proved elusive for both sides on the artificial surface. Shawn McCoulsky chased a through ball into the Borough box in the 10th minute and appeared to be pushed to the ground, but the referee, Mr. Christopher Pollard, waved away optimistic appeals for a spot kick.

The visitors were marginally in the ascendancy, and Josh Hare was cautioned for a crude challenge on Andy Watkins in the 17th minute as the wideman threatened to burst into the penalty box.

Billy Murphy’s free kick into the danger area on 30 minutes was headed away for a corner by Mark Hughes, who was under pressure from several Bath players. However, the first effort at goal did not arrive until ten minutes before the interval, when Nick McCootie cut in from the right flank, and keeper Lewis Carey made a smart save at his near post to turn the ball behind for corner.

Eastbourne’s only effort saw Ryan Worrell’s shot from distance comfortably clear Max O’Leary’s crossbar, and the referee’s whistle then brought a merciful end to an eminently forgettable first half.

With the elements now in their favour, City commenced the second period in enterprising mood and it took less than 2 minutes for them to find the opening goal. Murphy curled a free kick into the home box, and McCoulsky rose the highest to glance a precise header into the far corner of the net past Carey’s despairing dive.

The visitors now enjoyed a prolonged spell of dominance, both in terms of territorial advantage and possession. Another free kick from Murphy on 50 minutes almost released Watkins, who was just unable to find a telling touch.

There was a scare in the City defence shortly afterwards when Jack Batten’s attempted header back to O’Leary was intercepted by Jamie Taylor, but Axel Andresson made a timely tackle to avert the danger.

McCootie was causing problems down the right with his pace and power and, when he drilled in low cross in the 54th minute, Ian Simpemba almost turned the ball into his own net. However, seven minutes later, Borough were not so lucky when a virtually identical ball was played into the box by McCootie. This time, Shaun Hobson, who was under considerable pressure from Watkins, slotted the ball into the net beyond his own goalkeeper.

City continued to press forward, with Murphy being narrowly wide with a firm volley from 20 yards, and Andresson’s 67th minute free kick from outside the box just clearing Carey’s bar.

Shaquille Hunter replaced McCoulsky on 74 minutes, and the substitute came close to increasing the lead six minutes later when he raced on to a through ball and charged down Carey’s attempted clearance, but Hare was able to hack the loose ball to safety before the Cityman could benefit.

With the visitors in almost total control, the game took a sudden dramatic turn. In the 82nd minute, a ball over the City defence released substitute Reece Connolly with a clear run at goal, only for Rigg to remove his legs from beneath him just outside the box. The right back was shown an inevitable red card, and the punishment was augmented when Miguel Baptista curled the resulting free kick into the net via the inside of the post.

Sekani Simpson and Marvin Morgan were introduced at the expense of Watkins and McCootie respectively, but the hosts were now streaming forward in numbers in search of an unlikely equaliser, and Bath were forced to defend in numbers for the first time in the game. Taylor had a presentable opening in the 89th minute, but his shot from the edge of the area flew high over the stand behind the goal, presenting more potential danger to low flying aircraft than to O’Leary’s goal.

A corner from the left two minutes into stoppage time flew untouched across the face of City’s 6-yard box, but the pressure was then relieved through a brilliant run by Morgan. The forward gained possession inside his own half, beat off several challenges as he advanced goalwards, but lost control of the ball momentarily as he entered the box, allowing Carey to save bravely at his feet. The final whistle sounded moments later and was greeted joyfully by the travelling supporters and players alike.

Whilst the first half lacked any real quality, City were generally in control, and they certainly made the most of the following wind after the break to gain three fully deserved points. The hosts will, no doubt, feel that they failed to perform to an acceptable level and, except for the closing exchanges, presented precious little threat upfront. The truth of the matter is, however, that they were not allowed to play by a determined Bath side that quickly closed down any space throughout and, crucially, adapted far better to the conditions.

Eastbourne Borough; Lewis Carey, Josh Hare, Craig Stone, Mark Hughes, Ian Simpemba, Shaun Hobson, Miguel Baptista, Ryan Worrell, Nathaniel Pinney, Jamie Taylor, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain. Subs; Reece Connolly, Ryley Tate, Harry Ransom, Gavin McCallum, Charlie Horlock.

Bath City; Max O’Leary, George Rigg, Miles Welch-Hayes, Jack Batten, Axel Andresson, Frankie Artus, Andy Watkins (Sekani Simpson 82), Billy Murphy, Nick McCootie (Marvin Morgan 82), Chas Hemmings, Shawn McCoulsky (Shaquille Hunter 74). Subs not used; Naby Diallo, Josh Hutchison

Referee; Mr. Christopher Pollard
Attendance: 504

Kelston Koppite

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Re: Eastbourne Borough (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by Kevin Anderson on Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:47 am

Thanks, KK, for an excellent and balanced report, on what you rightly describe as a rather forgettable game. Our notorious Priory Lane wind had a good deal to do with that but it's fair to say that City coped better with the conditions. You are a strong, quick and upbeat side and Borough struggled to cope with the (legal) physicality. Chas Hemmings I thought bossed it in that (unfamiliar?) midfield role. The win was well earned and deserved. If we had a grouse, it was that we thought your two Macs were playing for free-kicks, and Hobson's challenge which drew the free-kick for the first goal had looked a fair one. We will, needless to say, scrutinise the video frame by frame....

It was good to meet the travelling City folk, including Comrade Powell whom I had envisaged as some sort of closet Stalinist but who is, of course, merely a genial retired schoolteacher (join the club). Hope you had a swift and joyous journey home, and best wishes for the run-in. Late play-offs even? And thank you for receiving my previous post so generously. I think we are of one mind that it isn't war, it's just a football match. Rivals not enemies.

By the way, are you sure you played "down the slope" first half? We thought we'd laid the 3G nice and flat...

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Re: Eastbourne Borough (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by Kelston Koppite on Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:17 am

Kevin Anderson wrote:

By the way, are you sure you played "down the slope" first half?  We thought we'd laid the 3G nice and flat...  

Having been to Priory Lane a few times I have always had the impression that the ground slopes (gently) towards the clubhouse end. Perhaps it is just an optical illusion!

Anyway, enjoyed my day in East Sussex and thanks for your comments.

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Re: Eastbourne Borough (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by the demon headmaster on Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:57 am

I listened to the radio. Great drama in the second half. If it was a fairly dull game to watch I recommend you all close your eyes and listen to the commentary.

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Re: Eastbourne Borough (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by comrade powell on Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:12 pm

And nice to meet you yesterday, Kevin! Despite the result, I'm afraid the journey home to Mosco Frome was neither swift or joyous, thanks to Southern Region. Never mind, I'm sure we'll meet up again next season and here's hoping our visit to the Borough is during an August heat wave! All the best...
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Re: Eastbourne Borough (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by BenE on Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:15 pm

Smashing report once again. Bath supporters are lucky to have these as well as the excellent t'internet radio coverage and the super video coverage by Palms. Very high quality output indeed.

Rigg will be missed but hopefully Sekani will not be too ring rusty.
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Re: Eastbourne Borough (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by Marc Monitor on Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:20 pm

Kevin Anderson wrote:Comrade Powell whom I had envisaged as some sort of closet Stalinist but who is, of course, merely a genial retired schoolteacher (join the club).

Ah, that's just what he wants you to think.
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Re: Eastbourne Borough (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by 2weirdtown on Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:09 am

A 'sleeper'.
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Re: Eastbourne Borough (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by Marc Monitor on Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:29 am

Well, it would have been a long day
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Re: Eastbourne Borough (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by kermit on Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:54 pm

2weirdtown wrote:A 'sleeper'.
I think with the delays on the trains on Saturday evening, a sleeper would have been more appropriate!
On the other hand, the coach came back in record time. Nick drives faster than Robert, but we did cut some corners, hope the kerbstones are still in place.
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