Bath City (0)1 Wealdstone (1)1

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Post by Kelston Koppite on Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:11 pm

Bath City and Wealdstone took a point each from a tough and hard fought National League South encounter at blustery Twerton Park. Home debutant Sol Pryce scored midway through the second half to bring the scores level after an earlier own goal by the unfortunate Robbie Cundy had afforded the London side a slender advantage.

The initial exchanges of the game were largely locked in midfield stalemate as the sides strove to master the swirling wind. The first shot at goal came from the visitors in the 6th minute, but Godfrey Poku’s effort from 20 yards was wide of the target. City responded through Freddie Hinds in the 11th minute, but is shot was scuffed, and was easily collected by Jonathan North in the Stones’ goal.

Hinds tried his luck again two minutes later from 20 yards and, this time, North was required to help the rising drive over his crossbar. Frankie Artus headed over the top from the resulting Ross Stearn corner. Stearn’s next corner kick in the 18th minute was also nodded over the bar by Jack Batten, being a similar position from where the central defender scored against Hampton & Richmond Borough on last Tuesday evening.

With the elements generally in their favour and playing down the slope towards the Bath End, Wealdstone were now edging the balance of possession and they created an outstanding opportunity to open the scoring in the 23rd minute. Simon Mensah ran at the City rearguard before finding Tarryn Allarakhia in space inside the box, but the wideman was denied by an excellent diving save from Clarke.

Joe Raynes flashed a ball across the face of North’s goal from the right on 24 minutes, but Ryan Brunt was unable to apply a telling touch at the far post. Stearn then delivered a long free kick into the box from the left which was headed back across goal, allowing Artus to produce an acrobatic overhead effort that was well saved by the diving North.

The deadlock was broken after 28 minutes following some trickery by Allarakhia down the right, before his low cross from the byline was deflected into his own net by Cundy from close range.

City tried to find a way back into the game but were struggling to create clear cut openings in the face of the hardworking Wealdstone defence. Hinds saw another shot deflected behind for a corner in the 33rd minute, and Raynes then charged down an attempted clearance with the ball ricocheting to Brunt, but the forward was unable to direct his hurried shot on target.

Home appeals for a penalty were waved away by the referee, Mr. Daniel Lamport, when Brunt appeared to be pushed in the back following a ball into the Stones’ area. As the half time whistle loomed, Batten struck an optimistic shot high over the bar from just inside the box.

Now with the wind and the terrain in their favour, City were hopeful of generating some concerted pressure on the away side’s back-line. However, they were unable to wrestle the balance of possession from their opponents in the early stages and there was an air of increasing frustration amongst the home faithful. Jerry Gill acted by bringing on Pryce in place of Stearn on the hour mark, but Wealdstone still created the next chance. A deep free kick from the right found Jerome Okimo, but his header was wide of Clarke’s far post.

Pryce’s persistence inside the Stones’ box in the 66th minute paid dividends. His initial shot was blocked by North and his follow up effort was deflected agonisingly wide of the far post. Raynes took the resulting corner from the right, and Pryce rose highest to plant a thumping header into the roof of the net from 8 yards for an emphatic finish.

The visitors now looked rattled for the first time in the afternoon, and City pushed forward in search of a winner. Raynes 69th minute cross from the right again found Pryce but, this time, the substitute’s header was just over the crossbar.

Hinds curling shot from outside the area was comfortably held by North and, in the 75th minute, Raynes fired in a shot from 25 yards that had North scrabbling across his goal, but the ball ended narrowly wide of the near post.

Thereafter, Wealdstone regained control of the midfield, and consequently largely nullified any further Bath goal threat. Poku was testing Mr. Lamport’s patience by committing a string of niggly offences having already been cautioned, and was perhaps slightly fortunate to see out the full course of the match.

Former Roman Dave Pratt just failed to make contact with Allarakhia’s dangerous cross, and Freddie Grant was unable to take advantage of Jeffrey Monakana’s ball into the home box, but it was the hosts who had the final chance of the game. Hinds found space outside the Wealdstone area, only for his shot to be deflected high over the bar by Okima’s brave blocking challenge.

Both sides were given a generous reception by their respective supporters as the final whistle sounded and, overall, a draw was probably the fairest outcome. Whilst there was not an abundance of clear chances, the game was a highly competitive affair between two evenly balanced teams and was always engaging for those on the terraces. Having been a goal in arrears against a strong side with one of the best divisional away records, this could prove to be a very valuable point come the season’s final reckoning.

Bath City; Ryan Clarke, Jack Batten, Robbie Cundy, Joe Romanski, Anthony Straker, Joe Raynes, Frankie Artus, James Morton, Ross Stearn (Sol Pryce 60), Ryan Brunt, Freddie Hinds. Subs not used; Kevin Amankwaah, Dan Ball, Harvey Wiles-Richards, Tom Smith.

Wealdstone; Jonathan North, Jake Sheppard, Freddie Grant, Christian Smith, Jerome Okimo, Godfrey Poku, Tarryn Allarakhia, Simon Mensah, David Pratt, Daniel Green, Stefan Brown. Subs: Jeffrey Monakana, Dylan Paterson, James Clark, Jean-Paul Antwi.

Referee; Mr. Daniel Lamport

Attendance; 966
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Post by comrade powell on Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:24 pm

Considering the difficult conditions I thought the game was a credit to both teams. Yet again our defence were superb while Pryce's introduction transformed the game.

Wealdstone showed why they are on such an excellent run away from Grosvenor Vale and if they had a better home record would be certainties for the play offs. But I don't think it's impossible that we may be seeing them again this season.
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Post by stillmanjunior on Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:29 pm

I guess you have to give credit to Wealdstone for earning a point with so many players out and others playing through illness. They had a strong starting XI but little back-up. Monakana who came on had supposedly been struggling to shake off a virus, or something. If they had someone to come on, i.e. Charles and Green at their place, we could have been given a much stiffer test.

I thought they perhaps played too negatively at 1-0 up. They had no outlet, they were defending well but clearing it to no-one. It's the quietest I've seen Dave Pratt play, he had nothing to work off. But maybe their player availability dictated that.

Still, an enjoyable game and heading into it I would have taken a draw. Gives us quite a gap over Wealdstone. Those three points knocked off for Concord could be very costly...
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Post by SteveBradley on Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:29 am

Almost a thousand spectators was a great turn out for such a windy day.

Crowds this season have been fantastic overall. We'll soon need a new 2,000BC group Wink

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Post by yuffie on Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:15 am

Agree that it was another excellent crowd, especially because Wealdstone, although they are one of the better supported teams in the division, didn't seem to have as many as in previous years. No doubt the grim weather forecast put a few off (I was expecting my fourth soaking of the season) even if it didn't come to pass. It does show how far we've come this season when it's almost a disappointment not to reach 1000.

As for the game itself, after the two wins in the week I'd have been happy with a point before the match and even more so after going a goal behind. Once again the defence was outstanding and, although I'm probably a little bit old to have a favourite player, Robbie Cundy just gets better and better each week. This despite a rare early misplaced header then losing possession trying to run the ball out of defence. But he clearly didn't let this affect him and barely put a foot wrong after that (i'm sure he could nothing about the own goal).

It was interesting to hear that Wealdstone were struggling number-wise (though we were also missing three players) as they looked one of the better teams we've player recently. As for Pratty, he seemed to spend most of his time helping out in midfield and even at the back but apparently he's getting a bit of stick from their fans for his (relative) lack of goals.

You'd think three more wins would be enough now to make the play-offs but obviously a couple more would be nice to secure third and avoid the first round.

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