Banbury United (0)0 Bath City (2)2

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Banbury United (0)0 Bath City (2)2

Post by Kelston Koppite on Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:49 pm

Bath City avoided a proverbial banana skin in the form of Southern League Premier Central outfit Banbury United, as they progressed smoothly to the 3rd Qualifying Round of The Emirates FA Cup.  A brace of strikes by Ross Stearn before the break was sufficient to see off the challenge of their lower league opponents.  

City began proceedings at a rainswept Spencer Stadium on the front foot as they immediately began to probe the home defence.  However, the first effort on goal was provided by United in the 4th minute, but Mark Bell’s speculative volley from distance was comfortably collected by Ryan Clarke.

As ‘The Romans’ continued to attack, Ryan Brunt tried his luck with a rising shot from the angle of the area on 10 minutes, but it was directed wide of the near post.

The visitors were now well on top in terms of possession and Adam Mann’s effort from 20 yards was deflected wide.  Mann took the resulting corner from the left, which was met by a looping header from Robbie Cundy that home stopper Jack Harding clutched under his crossbar.

Despite City’s overall ascendancy, Banbury were always lively going forward, with particular nuisance being caused by the willing running of both Greg Kazibone and Ravi Shamsi.  The hosts had a presentable chance in the 20th minute when Anthony Straker lost the ball inside his own half, which allowed Kazibone to cross from the right, only for Ricky Johnson to nod wide of Clarke’s far post.

Bath were playing some neat football and were stretching the home rearguard with their passing movement.  In the 27th minute, Stearn saw his shot from the edge of the United box balloon high over Harding’s bar, but his side were ahead on the half hour mark.  Mann struck a thunderous shot from 20 yards that Harding did extremely well to parry, but Stearn latched on to the loose ball and lashed it high into the net.

Stearn’s free kick from the left on 33 minutes just eluded both Brunt and Frankie Artus at the back post as City continued to push forward.  Indeed, their advantage was doubled two minutes before half time when Harding came for, and missed, Mann’s corner from the left.  The ball was only cleared to the edge of the area, where Stearn was poised to strike an unstoppable volley into the net, with Harding still scrabbling for position.

The Somerset side were totally worthy of their two-goal lead at the interval, but must have suspected that the hosts would emerge from the dressing room with increased vigour at the start of the second half.  This proved to be the case and, for fifteen minutes, they put the away defence under pressure, particularly causing problems down the right flank.  Despite this, they were unable to carve out any clear-cut openings, and Clarke was rarely called into serious action.

It was City who remained the more likely to add to the scoreline, and home centre-half Lee Henderson was forced to pull back John Mills as he raced through towards goal in the 47th minute.  The referee, Mr Jamie O’Connor of Chesterfield, chose to show the yellow card with the defender perhaps fortunate that the sanction was not more severe.  Stearn lifted the resulting free kick into the box finding Cundy, whose looping header was held by Harding.  Mills was then replaced by the returning Tom Smith on 56 minutes.

Jack Self shot from the edge of the City box in the 58th minute, but his effort was wide and, on the hour, a cross from the right just failed to pick out Johnson at the far post.  Thereafter, Bath began to regain control in the midfield areas and they pushed forward in numbers in search of further reward.

Mann found space in the box but saw his shot blocked by Harding, the keeper then repelling Stearn’s drive, before making another good save to keep out Smith’s follow-up effort.  Mann then struck a fierce shot from distance that clattered against the face of the post.

Another Stearn goal-bound attempt on 75 minutes was headed round the post by Centre-back Charlie Wise, and Mann’s shot from distance was also deflected for a corner.

Sean Rigg ran half the length of the pitch before seeing his angled effort pass agonisingly wide of the far post, before he made way for Andy Watkins on 77 minutes.  The substitute made an instant impact as he troubled the home defenders with his injection of pace, and this resulted in The Puritans being reduced to ten men.  Henderson pulled the Cornishman back as he raced towards the right-hand side of the box, giving Mr O’Connor little choice but to brandish a second yellow card.

Mann found Smith with his free kick whose shot was flicked on by Watkins, but only into the arms of Harding.  Brunt then slipped a pass through into Watkins’ path inside the area in a promising position, but the keeper managed to cannon the ball off the striker’s legs and away for the goal-kick.

Jerry Gill’s final substitution was to bring on James Ollis for Stearn, as City continued to seek a third goal.  Brunt’s angled shot rolled wide of the far post and, in the final minute, Joe Raynes’ cross from the right was volleyed wide by Mann.

This was an outstanding performance by City and they produced some excellent football throughout.  The only mystery is how they only registered twice and, but for the heroics of Harding between the sticks, Banbury could have had no complaints if the scoreline had been trebled.  The away supporters, who had travelled in impressive numbers, gave their side a rousing ovation at the end of the match, and the draw of the next round will be eagerly anticipated on Monday.  

Banbury United: Jack Harding; Charlie Hawtin, Marvin Martin (Amer Awadh 78), Jack Finch, Charlie Wise, Lee Henderson, Mark Bell (Jordy Ngathe HT), Jack Self, Ricky Johnson (Steve Diggin 67), Ravi Shamsi, Greg Kaziboni. Subs not used: Giorgio Rasulo, Eddie Odhiambo, George Nash, Charlie Barnett.

Bath City: Ryan Clarke; Joe Raynes, Robbie Cundy, Jack Batten, Anthony Straker; Frankie Artus, Sean Rigg (Andy Watkins 77), Adam Mann, Ross Stearn (James Ollis 86); John Mills (Tom Smith 56), Ryan Brunt. Subs not used: Kieran Hodges, Kevin Amankwaah, Matt Richards, Dan Ball.

Ref:  Mr. Jamie O’Connor (Chesterfield)

Att:  654


Last edited by Kelston Koppite on Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:27 am; edited 1 time in total

Kelston Koppite

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Re: Banbury United (0)0 Bath City (2)2

Post by pete mac on Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:01 pm

Very very impressed with today. Showed what the players and management team are about- organised, professional and with some real flair. Nervous we might lose today against an ambitious Club but proved wrong by the boys. Proud to be a City fan tonight.

Looking forward to next week.

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Re: Banbury United (0)0 Bath City (2)2

Post by BenE on Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:13 am

Thanks KK another excellent report.
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Re: Banbury United (0)0 Bath City (2)2

Post by comrade powell on Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:56 am

Excellent report of an excellent performance. Really pleased with the determination showed by all the players - when the attitude is spot on like that you rarely get cup upsets.
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