Bath City (1)2 Hungerford Town (0)1

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Bath City (1)2  Hungerford Town (0)1 Empty Bath City (1)2 Hungerford Town (0)1

Post by Kelston Koppite on Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:49 am

Bath City’s impressive start to the 2019/20 National League South campaign continued with a convincing victory over Hungerford Town at Twerton Park. Goals from Harvey Smith and Ross Stearn ensured that a late strike by the visitors was a mere consolation on a night that was illuminated by the home side’s silky midfield passing and movement.

Playing towards the Bath end, City pushed forward from the first whistle and created an opportunity in the opening minute.  Connor Riley-Lowe delivered a corner on to the head of Harvey Smith beyond the far post, but the defender could only nod over the bar.  Tom Smith then drove a shot narrowly wide of the post from fully 35 yards out.

Hungerford responded with an attack of their own in the 5th minute when a free kick from the right was headed goalwards by skipper Mike Jones, but home keeper James Pardington saved comfortably under his crossbar.

On 10 minutes, a long diagonal ball picked out Tyler Harvey in space on the right of the Town box, only for the striker’s firm angled effort to be blocked by the well positioned visiting goalkeeper Adam Siviter.

The hosts were dominant in the midfield areas and Hungerford were beginning to chase shadows, but the away side always broke swiftly whenever the opportunity arose.  One such raid concluded with Zidan Akers’ powerful shot being blocked by Harry Hamblin’s determined challenge at the expense of a corner.

City continued in the ascendancy and almost took the lead after 24 minutes when a cross from the left was headed back across goal by Adam Mann. The ball fell to Tom Smith, whose thumping low drive through a crowded area flew straight at the thankful Siviter.

On the half hour mark, home captain Joe Raynes sent over an angled cross from the right that found Harvey, but the forward’s glancing header was narrowly wide of the far post. Bath finally made the breakthrough seven minutes before the break when Riley-Lowe’s free kick from the left fell to Harvey Smith, and his deflected low shot from close range found the back of the net despite the attempts of both Siviter and Marcus Johnson-Schuster on the line.

The remainder of the half saw City continue their dominance of possession, and this pattern was replicated after the interval.  It was not until the 59th minute that there was a further effort at goal but, in the event, Harvey’s free kick from the edge of the box sailed high and wide of the target and over the perimeter wall behind the Bristol end terracing.

Stearn, who had replaced Andy Watkins ahead of the restart, cut inside from the left and raced down the byline, before shooting into the outside of the side netting from a narrow angle. Siviter then produced a useful save to push Harvey’s shot from distance round the foot of his post.

The Romans doubled their lead on 64 minutes when Siviter could only parry Hamblin’s blistering drive from 25 yards, and Stearn expertly directed the loose ball into the net beyond the prone custodian.
City were now on the rampage and Siviter was called upon to make a fine save to keep out Harvey’s effort from outside the area, before Ryan Brunt came on for Mann in the 67th minute.

Despite the home side’s dominance, The Crusaders were still breaking with intent, but they were unable to put the home defence under any concerted pressure.  Indeed, they only had Akers’ 70th minute shot to show for their efforts, and that flew well over Pardington’s crossbar.

Bath came close to further stretching their lead after 74 minutes when Brunt made good ground down the right and pulled the ball back into Stearn’s path, Siviter making an exceptional save to repel the resulting goalbound shot.  Stearn was first to the loose ball and was clearly pushed in the back by a defender, but the referee, Mr. Dale Wootton, waved away the fervent home penalty appeals.  Alex Hartridge headed over the bar from the ensuing corner kick.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, the lively Stearn burst through on goal, but his eventual shot was blocked by a well-timed defensive challenge at the expense of a corner.   Jordan Simpson replaced Harvey, before Brunt had a header cleared off the line following another corner.

Hungerford began to come more into the game thereafter, and Joe Tomlinson wastefully volleyed high over Pardington’s bar from an 83rd minute corner, but his side halved their arrears as stoppage time loomed.  A ball threaded through the home defence presented Kofi Halliday with a clear run at goal, and he calmly slipped his shot past the advancing Pardington.  

The previously relaxed atmosphere around the ground immediately changed to one of anxiety but, in reality, there was no undue cause for alarm before Mr Wootton’s whistle brought matters to a conclusion after four added minutes.

This was a fully deserved victory for the Romans and, at times, their midfield play was nothing short of dazzling.  Other than the late goal, the defence was characteristically sound and well organised, and the side always looked dangerous going forward.  For their part, and to their credit, Hungerford refused to ‘throw in the towel’ and played some good football of their own when they were able, but they were simply overwhelmed at times by City’s pace and passing movement.   Jerry Gill’s men will now go into Saturday’s home game with Tonbridge Angels with confidence and will look to consolidate their early season promise.

Bath City;  James Pardington, Joe Raynes, Alex Hartridge, Harvey Smith, Connor Riley-Lowe, Harry Hamblin, Tom Smith, Tom Richards, Adam Mann (Ryan Brunt 67), Andy Watkins (Ross Stearn H/T), Tyler Harvey (Jordan Simpson 80).  Subs not used; Harvey Wiles-Richards, Matt Bower.

Hungerford Town;  Adam Siviter, Marcus Johnson-Schuster, Joe Tomlinson, Mike Jones, Josiah Dunstan, James Rusby, George Smith, Dan Bailey, James Constable, Liam Ferdinand, Zidan Akers.  Subs; Kofi Halliday, Louis McGrory, Conor Lynch, Matt Berry-Hargreaves, Matt Jones.

Referee;  Mr. Dale Wootton

Attendance;  901


Last edited by Kelston Koppite on Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:47 pm; edited 1 time in total

Kelston Koppite

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Post by the demon headmaster on Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:16 am

Thought Hungerford showed enough quality to cause problems for other teams and felt the ref did very well too. From my perspective he called the penalty correctly, because Stearn went down too easily for my liking. It wasn’t a dazzling display of attacking football, but it was very controlled and efficient. Loved what I saw of the new left back. Thought we’d miss Strakes, but he was superb tonight as was every single player.

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Post by LB on Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:34 am

Totally agree about Riley-Lowe at left back - he could easily have been M-o-M as could just about anybody else! Thought we never really got into top gear but didn’t really need to which is what nearly caught us out in the end. From listening to Jerry’s post-match interview he has clearly taken that on board as a learning point for the future.

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