St. Albans City (1)1 Bath City (0)0

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Post by Kelston Koppite on Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:46 am

Bath City suffered a hugely disappointing defeat at frosty Clarence Park, home of St. Albans City.  Despite enjoying the vast majority of possession and territorial advantage, City could not find a way past a determined home side who were also reduced to ten men for the final 32 minutes of the game.

The match started in disastrous fashion for the visitors as an innocuous high ball looped over Phil Walsh’s head inside the first minute, and the back-peddling centre half failed to make sufficient contact with his attempted header to Jason Mellor.   John Frendo took full advantage by nipping in to place his shot beyond the stranded keeper.

Bath responded by taking control of the midfield area, Frankie Artus being particularly prevalent, but were unable to find the killer touch in front of goal.  Ben Adelsbury delivered an inviting cross from the left in the 4th minute, only for Nick McCootie to head over the crossbar.  Dan Ball then tried his luck from distance but Joe Welch in the Saints goal collected comfortably.

Despite being pushed back into their own territory, it was the home side who looked the more likely to add to the score-line.  Frendo cut inside from the left on 8 minutes, but his rasping rising effort was brilliantly pushed over the bar by Mellor.

Artus produced a neat turn 20 yards from goal, but his shot was straight at Welch, and then Andy Watkins sliced a shot wide of he target from the edge of the box.

St. Albans almost stretched their lead on 17 minutes when Frendo again turned inside the Bath box, only for Mellor to deny him once again with an outstanding diving save low down.

Thereafter, the game descended into midfield stalemate for the remainder of the half, with the only chances falling to The Romans just past the half hour mark.  Firstly, Artus nodded over the crossbar from Ashley Kington’s left wing free kick, and then Pat Keary’s speculative shot from 30 yards flew high, wide and handsome.

The second half continued with Bath again in the ascendancy, but still unable to penetrate the home rearguard.  Kington’s effort from 25 yards was wide of the target after 48 minutes, and Artus’ cross shot from the edge of the box was narrowly wide of the far post.

St. Albans had another scare on 53 minutes when Artus sent in a dangerous free kick from the right that was glanced on by Watkins’ flicked header, but the ball skidded just the wrong side of the far post.

The flashpoint of the game arrived on 58 minutes, when Charlie Gorman was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Dan Ball on the half way line.  Dave Pratt had just replaced Adelsbury, and Bath now looked to press home their numerical advantage.

Kington’s corner from he left on the hour mark was flicked on by Ball, but Welch was able to smother at the near post.  Ross Stearn then came on for McCootie and, almost immediately, tried a cheeky chip from the edge of the area that was too high to trouble Welch.

There was drama on 71 minutes when one of the assistant referees sank to the ground with an apparent calf injury, and there was a ten-minute delay before a replacement emerged from the terraces.  The timing of this pause in proceedings certainly did Bath no favours as they lost any forward momentum that they were beginning to build.  

When play did eventually restart, Ball sent in a cross from the left that found Kington, but his header lacked the power or direction to beat Welch.  With one minute of normal time remaining, Bath came desperately close to finding an equaliser.  Stearn was brought down 20 yards from goal and dusted himself off before taking the resulting free kick.  The ball was curled perfectly over the defensive wall and left Welch clutching at thin air, but it struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced away to safety.

Despite 13 minutes of stoppage time, the away side had only Kington’s shot in the 93rd minute to show for their efforts, and this was straight at Welch.  Indeed, the hosts successfully ran down the clock with increasing ease and could have extended their lead on the break.  A quick raid ended with the ball falling to Steve Wales, but his clipped effort was confidently held by Mellor.

At the final whistle, the travelling supporters could not quite believe that their side had lost this game.  Bath had almost total domination of possession throughout against a home team that posed virtually no attacking threat beyond the opening 20 minutes.  Their downfall came through their inability to find the guile and incision to break down a resolute defence, particularly in the final half hour when their opponents were numerically disadvantaged.


St. Albans City: Joe Welch, John Kyriacou, Nathan Green, Charlie Gorman, Ben Martin, Ian Gayle, Omar Beckles, James Comley, John Frendo (Cameron Lancaster 67), Jon Nouble (Steve Wales 56), Charlie Smith (Sam Corcoran 63), unused subs; David Longe-King, Tom Coulton.

Bath City: Jason Mellor, Sekani Simpson, Andy Gallinagh, Pat Keary, Phil Walsh (Chris Allen 73), Ben Adelsbury (Dave Pratt 59), Andy Watkins, Ashley Kington, Nick McCootie (Ross Stearn 66), Dan Ball, Frankie Artus, subs; Louis Perry, Jim Rollo.

Referee: Lee Betts (Norwich).

Att: 448.
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Post by comrade powell on Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:01 am

An excellent report, KK, which accurately sums up a very frustrating afternoon for City fans.
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Post by BenE on Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:10 am

good report as usual.

You have to say that we got out of the game exactly what we might have expected from the start.

What side at any level starts without their two main goal threats, especially when the contribution from the rest of the team is so poor? The only justification would be if they were being rested for next week.

Assuming they are - it is ample demonstration of the management's priorities and ambitions.
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Post by comrade powell on Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:16 am

Sorry, I don't buy that for one second. If we were playing Rovers on Tuesday, maybe but why not save other vital players like Artus and Ball? The usual reason given is that players are carrying injuries - both looked very fresh to me when they eventually appeared.
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Post by BenE on Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:22 am

I didn't say they were I just offered it as an excuse as I don't want to publish what I really believe.
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Post by BenE on Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:31 am

although possibly they were being saved from injury??
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Post by comrade powell on Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:35 am

Even the St Albans fan in my avatar thought we were awful...
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