Bath City (0)2 St.Albans City (0)0

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Post by Kelston Koppite on Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:00 pm

Bath City bounced back from last week’s FA Cup debacle with a commendable victory over St. Albans City at Twerton Park.  Goals in the second half from Ross Stearn and substitute Dave Pratt ensured that the visitors returned to Hertfordshire empty handed.

The home side began brightly and had a presentable chance to take the lead in the 2nd minute.  Andy Watkins broke away down the left flank and delivered a cross into the danger zone.  Nick McCootie, not for the only time during the afternoon, lost his footing as he tried to make contact, but the ball found its way into the path of Stearn, who blazed over the crossbar from 8 yards out.

Six minutes later, McCootie cut in from the left, only for his firm rising shot to be tipped over the bar by Saints keeper Joe Welch.  Frankie Artus then shot straight at Welch from the edge of the box.

St. Albans were beginning to gain some control of the midfield areas but did not create a chance until the 16th minute.  A free kick into the home box eventually fell to Steve Wales, but his shot lacked the power to trouble Jason Mellor.

Lee Chappell unleashed a rasping low drive from 20 yards that flew narrowly wide of Mellor’s post and, on 22 minutes, John Frendo turned 18 yards from goal but fired his effort straight at the grateful Bath custodian.

The Romans responded through Watkins who ran at the away defence, only to see his shot pass the wrong side of the near post.  At the other end, St. Albans’ skipper demonstrated exactly why he is a centre half by launching a 26th minute volley unfeasibly high over Mellor’s’ crossbar from inside the penalty area.

Thereafter followed a period of midfield stalemate during which the man-in-black, Mr. Ryan Atkin of Farnborough, contented himself by issuing string of cautions to Bath players, much to the chagrin and frustration of the majority of those on the terraces.

The visitors finished the half in the ascendancy in terms of possession, and the final action saw Frendo’s free kick from 25 yards comfortably find Mellor’s midriff.

The Somerset side started the second period by putting the St. Albans’ defence under pressure, and took the lead on 47 minutes. Watkins sent over an inch perfect cross from the left, and Stearn leapt highest at the far post to plant a firm header into the roof of the net.

The game reverted to a midfield battle with The Saints again seeing more of the ball, but they continued to be unable to convert this into clear-cut openings.  Chris Allen made a welcome return on the hour mark as he replaced Chas Hemmings, and proceeded to add some energy and impetus into the home side’s play.  

Stearn was beginning to cause problems down the right wing and, on 66 minutes, he sent in a searching cross which McCootie headed well wide of the target.  Four minutes later the visitors almost found a leveller following an enormous throw from Chappell.  The ball reached Frendo beyond the far post, but the striker’s effort bounced harmlessly over the bar.

Bath were now beginning to gain the upper hand and Allen tried his luck from distance, but was well wide of the goal.  With fifteen minutes left on the clock, Stearn robbed Chappell on the right and raced goalwards, but could not keep his shot down.

Stearn’s 25-yard free kick on 79 minutes took a slight deflection off the defensive wall and appeared destined for the top corner, until Welch made a brilliant diving save at full stretch.  The same player then produced a mazy run into the box, beating a number of challenges, but shot just wide of the far post.

McCootie found Stearn with an accurate pass in the 81st minute, but the winger fired straight at Welch from inside the area and, shortly afterwards, Chappell came dangerously close to registering an own goal after McCootie has just failed to make contact with an Artus cross.

It was now almost exclusively Bath pressure, but there was always the fear that St. Albans might score against the run of play.  Indeed, the hosts were relieved to see Frendo’s shot go wide of the post after a neat turn on the edge of the box.

McCootie glanced a header wide of the far post following another cross from Artus, before being replaced by Pratt on 85 minutes, earning a well-deserved ovation from the terraces in the process.

It took just two minutes for Pratt to make a telling contribution when, following a blistering run down the left by Watkins, he neatly tucked home the resulting cross from close range.

Despite four added minutes, the visitors were unable to break down the Bath rearguard, with their only effort seeing James Comley’s header loop over Mellor’s bar to safety.  The icing was almost applied to the home cake in the final minute when Welch did well to palm away Stearn’s well struck shot, and the keeper recovered quickly to gather Watkins’ overhead kick from the rebound.

This was a hugely improved performance by Bath City, and was full of gutsy determination following the recent events in Essex.  Whilst they were well worth their victory, they certainly did not have matters all their own way.  St. Albans enjoyed the greater share of possession over the 90 minutes as a whole, but the home side finished very strongly and the margin of victory could easily have been wider.   Perhaps the most reassuring factor was that the defense remained solid throughout, and limited St. Albans to very few goalscoring opportunities.  Memories of last Saturday are, of course, still raw, but today’s performance at least provides a basis to move forward.


Bath City: Jason Mellor, Sekani Simpson, Dan Ball, Pat Keary, Andy Gallinagh, Frankie Artus (Louis Perry 89), Ross Stearn, Chas Hemmings (Chris Allen 60), Nick McCootie (Pratt 85), Andy Watkins, Ben Adelsbury. Subs not used: Ashley Kington, Pierce Mitchell.

St Albans City: Joe Welch, John Kyriacou, Lee Chappell, Charlie Gorman, Ben Martin, Darren Locke (Lee Clarke 70), Sam Corcoran (Danny Green 78), James Comley, John Frendo, Sean Shields, Steve Wales (David Keenleyside 72). Subs not used: Tom Ward, James Kaloczi.

Referee: Ryan Atkin (Farnborough)

Attendance: 499


Last edited by Kelston Koppite on Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:20 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Post by Beau Nash on Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:56 pm

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Post by comrade powell on Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:20 pm

Weren't you there? Perry appeared towards the end..
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Post by City Awayday on Sun Nov 02, 2014 10:05 am

Spirited comeback by City after last week's debacle. Players looked very uncertain and confused in first period not helped by the micro management from the bench but were allowed to express themselves in the second half and play to their strengths. Stearn and Watkins were transformed and put in outstanding performances complemented by the incisive runs of Allen for the last half hour when we looked really dangerous. Encouraging signs after the gloom last week.

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Post by Micawber on Sun Nov 02, 2014 1:33 pm

One small point KK. I thought our ground was back to being called Twerton Park this season. Or is there another year to go?


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Post by Kelston Koppite on Sun Nov 02, 2014 1:43 pm

Micawber wrote:One small point KK. I thought our ground was back to being called Twerton Park this season. Or is there another year to go?


A good point well made. It is a fair cop and I have made an appropriate amendment. I cannot keep up with all this change!
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Post by Luton Roman on Sun Nov 02, 2014 2:03 pm

A reminder that while the Xmas market will be up and running when City play St.Albans in the return in 5 weeks, the admission price for the game is £15, a price they are even charging tomorrow night for their county cup match v. Cheshunt.

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Post by Colin Voutt on Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:04 pm

"Bath City: Jason Mellor, Sekani Simpson, Dan Ball, Pat Keary, Andy Gallinagh, Frankie Artus (Louis Perry 89), Ross Stearn, Chas Hemmings (Chris Allen 60), Nick McCootie (Pratt 85), Andy Watkins. Subs not used: Ashley Kington, Pierce Mitchell."
Ben Adelsbury was no. 11.

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Post by Marc Monitor on Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:40 pm

Why has the website report listed Watkins as Man of the Match? Do they choose a different one?
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Post by comrade powell on Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:16 pm

Yes, if the Gibbons are the match sponsors! Cool
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Post by Mcnulty on Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:07 pm

Artus was man of the match for me. Very influential and our best passer, he was also the hardest working midfielder by some distance. I still feel if we had a real dogs of war defensive midfield ball winner playing alongside him in central midfield then we would improve in a lot of other areas as a result.
Watkins and stearn very infliential second half and the defence all played well, really pleased for gallinagh who needed a good game and had one.

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Post by Dave on Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:16 pm

Mcnulty wrote: I still feel if we had a real dogs of war defensive midfield ball winner playing alongside him in central midfield .

Our feeder club might be grooming one for us Wink

http://westonsmareafc.co.uk/jamie-edge-signs-cirencester/
Described as “a powerful midfielder with the ability to break up play in the middle of the park and also to push forward and create goals”
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Post by Mcnulty on Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:25 pm

Sounds ideal! The more I see of our midfield this year the more I think we are missing the work rate of a Keats, Burnell or dare I say it Connolly. Kington puts in a shift but is a bit too pedestrian for me.

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Post by LB on Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:47 pm

When Phil Walsh is back I would be tempted to try Dan Ball in the midfield role that I think we all agree is missing - he has the ability to win the ball and take it forward as he has shown on a number of occasions. I expect though that as he is one of the young players Keary will have to make way for Walsh.

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Post by comrade powell on Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:51 pm

Or could Walsh play in midfield?
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Post by Luton Roman on Sun Nov 02, 2014 11:16 pm

Ball on 5 bookings. Too much to hope he misses Shepton game?

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Post by stillmanjunior on Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:23 am

I think McCootie is banned soon as well?
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Post by A36 on Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:25 am

Yes, McCootie misses the game at Ebbsfleet next Saturday, and Ball misses the game at home to Maidenhead the following Saturday.

Also, note that Pratt and Hemmings are both one booking away from a suspension.

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Post by pete mac on Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:35 pm

Suspensions and injuries will probably make this debate irrelevant?

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Post by comrade powell on Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:43 pm

I feel another loan signing coming on...
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