Oxford City (0)1 Bath City (0)2

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Oxford City (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by Kelston Koppite on Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:58 pm

Bath City returned from Oxford City’s Marsh Lane ground with all three points thanks to a stunning strike by full back Joe Raynes two minutes into second half stoppage time.  Adam Mann had put the visitors ahead earlier after the break, only for Josh Ashby to respond for the home side, but The Romans were not to be denied their win.

The game started slowly with both sides seeming to struggle to find any rhythm on an artificial surface that, in places, resembled a beach on a volcanic island with puffs of black ‘dust’ being disturbed with alarming regularity.  Kabongo Tshimanga was the one player able to pose any threat inside the first 20 minutes when, firstly he turned on the edge of the Bath area but fired over Ryan Clarke’s crossbar, and then he ran half the length of the pitch before shooting into the outside of the side-netting at Clarke’s near post.

Bath finally managed to mount an attack of their own on 23 minutes, when a good move ended with Mann’s shot from the edge of the box being comfortably collected by home stopper Craig King.

It was, however, Oxford who continued to have the larger share of possession, with Zac McEachran’s effort in the 26th minute being deflected over Clarke’s bar and, from the resulting corner, the visiting keeper pulled off a good save low down to keep out Luke Ruddick’s shot through a crowded box from 20 yards.

The Somerset side gradually came more into proceedings as time wore on.  Sean Rigg sliced a shot well wide of the target from 25 yards and, on 37 minutes, Ross Stearn’s inviting free kick from the left was met by Jack Batten’s firm header, forcing King into a fine reaction save.  Two minutes later, Stearn found space on the edge of the area, and King pulled another useful save to turn his angled round the far post at the expense of a corner.

The final action of the half saw McEachran race towards the Bath goal, before shooting wastefully over the crossbar.

The second period commenced with a spell of home pressure, with Clarke making a good diving save to repel Matt Paterson’s effort.  Jerry Gill then looked to change to game’s momentum by introducing John Mills at Andy Watkins’ expense, and moved the formation to 4-4-2.  This had an almost immediate impact, as his side thereafter gained the upper hand.

A sweeping move on 57 minutes ended with Raynes dangerous cross from the right that just eluded Ryan Brunt beyond the far post.  At the other end, Ashby’s free-kick from the edge of the box was narrowly wide of Clarke’s post, but in the process of shepherding the ball to safety, the gloveman collided with the framework and consequently required lengthy treatment before resuming.

Bath finally broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute when Rigg delivered a deep cross from the left, that Mann headed over King and into the far corner of the net with pinpoint accuracy for an excellent finish.

To their credit, Oxford sought an early response and Batten was called upon to make a great blocking challenge to prevent Eddie Jones having a clear sight of goal.  The reprieve, however, was short-lived, and the home side were back on level terms after 69 minutes when Ashby unleashed a rising shot from distance that took a slight deflection before finding its way into the top corner of the net, despite Clarke’s best efforts.

The Romans pushed forward in search of a second goal and had a golden opportunity to restore their advantage on 72 minutes.  This time, Mann provided the cross from the right to the unmarked Rigg, but the midfielder was unable to direct his header on target.

Frankie Artus came on for James Morton, and Bath continued to probe for another opening.  Rigg crossed from the right, and Brunt’s downward header looked destined for the bottom corner, but King maintained parity with a breathtaking save at the foot of his post.  The keeper then tipped over a looping header from Batten, but he was able to make a much more comfortable save from Rigg’s under-hit shot on 80 minutes.

The Oxford goal was now under siege, and another Rigg effort flew straight into King’s midriff.  With one minute left on the clock, Rigg provided another cross from the left that picked out Mills in space, but the forward dragged his effort wide of the far post.

The winning goal finally arrived in the second minute of added time when a succession of attempted shots was charged down on the edge of their area by the overworked home defence, but the ball eventually rebounded to Raynes 25 yards out.  The full back took the ball in his stride and struck a low, powerful drive that fizzed into the bottom corner of the net, giving King no chance whatsoever.

Whilst the first half was shaded by Oxford, The Romans dominated for long spells after the interval and deserved their victory, although the home side always posed a danger on the break, particularly through the lively Tshimanga.  Marsh Lane has always provided the venue for close encounters between these two Cities, and this win is testament to Bath’s determination and adaptability.  They will now turn their attention to next week’s return to Oxfordshire for a challenging FA Cup tie against a confident Banbury United outfit.

Oxford City: Craig King; Eddie Jones, Ben Jefford (Arti Krasniqi 82), Josh Ashby, Luke Ruddick, Udoka Godwin-Malife, Zac McEachran (Craig Fasanmade 85), Reece Fleet, Matt Paterson, Kabongo Tshimanga, Kyran Wiltshire.   Subs not used: Carl Stewart, Mike Atkinson, Tom Carter.

Bath City: Ryan Clarke; Joe Raynes, Robbie Cundy, Jack Batten, Anthony Straker; James Morton (Frankie Artus 72), Sean Rigg, Adam Mann; Andy Watkins (John Mills 49), Ryan Brunt, Ross Stearn.  Subs not used: Kevin Amankwaah, Matt Richards, Kieran Hodges.

Ref:  Mr. Ryan Atkin

Att:  402


Last edited by Kelston Koppite on Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:36 am; edited 1 time in total

Kelston Koppite

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Re: Oxford City (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by comrade powell on Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:12 pm

After a very cagey first half the second was far more entertaining and the goal tally could easily have been doubled but the three we saw were each worth the wait. For the second week running we were often thwarted by an excellent keeper - his save from Brunt's header was stunning.

More of the same next week please. I see that Banbury lost 3-1 at home.
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Re: Oxford City (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by tovid on Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:08 am

Top summary of the game. Oxford were always dangerous and it was a stern test of our abilities at both ends.

It was not a great advert for artificial pitches. They had put far too much crumb down and it looked nearly black. The sight of plumes of crumbs every time the ball bounced was bizarre. I was surprised when Oxford played a neat passing game like us as I thought they would be lumping it forward to be held up by the crumbs. So it was no advantage to them.
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Re: Oxford City (0)1 Bath City (0)2

Post by tovid on Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:41 pm

My impression was that at least half the gate was Bath City fans. We were really out in force.
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