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Post by Kelston Koppite on Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:02 am

Bath City slipped to their third successive defeat in depressing fashion at Mayday Trust Park, when Basingstoke Town took full advantage of their lacklustre hosts with a solitary goal victory.

City reverted to a flat back four following the surprise departure of Mark Preece, and failed to find any cohesion throughout the ninety minutes. The game commenced, as it was destined to continue, with Basingstoke dominating possession and virtually monopolising what few the goal-scoring opportunities were created throughout.

The first chance fell to Simon Dunn, whose dipping volley from 20 yards flew narrowly over Jason Mellor’s crossbar. City then had a narrow escape on 10 minutes when Shaun McAuley’s low shot slipped through Mellor’s grasp, only for the keeper to recover in the nick of time to prevent the ball rolling over his goal-line.

Shortly afterwards Manny Williams attempted a cross shot, which proved so wayward that it went for a throw in on the far side of the pitch, and Wes Daly’s strike from 25 yards was well wide of the target.

The home team finally mustered an effort at goal in the 25th minute, but Andy Watkins’ speculative volley from distance drifted just over the bar. Dave Pratt was then wide with a far post header following Ross Stearn’s free kick from the right.

The final chance of a tepid first half presented itself to Jordace Holder-Spooner, but his angled shot was wide of Mellor’s far post.

The home faithful were no doubt hoping for an improvement in their team’s performance after the break, but the game continued much in the same vein. Basingstoke remained in the ascendancy, and City were unable to create any momentum or purpose in their play.

Holder-Spooner cut in from the right in the 55th minute and saw his low shot blocked by Mellor’s legs and, two minutes later, Aaron Brown almost registered an own goal when his attempted clearance passed just wide of the post.

On the hour mark, Dan Ball nodded over the crossbar from a Brown corner kick, but it was the Dragons who remained the more likely to open the scoring. Daly fired straight at Mellor from the edge of the area, and McAuley curled a dangerous shot narrowly wide of the home goal.

City registered their first shot on target after 75 minutes when Pratt released Stearn down the right. The winger cut inside, but his angled shot was straight at Town custodian Louis Wells.

Jake Reid and Josh Low came on for Watkins and Stearn respectively as Lee Howells tried to create some forward impetus, but little improvement was evident. Indeed, it was Basingstoke who continued to push forward, and they almost took the lead when Mellor again saved with his legs at the foot of the near post, this time from Louie Soares.

The visitors were not to be denied, however, and made the breakthrough on 83 minutes. Right back Nathan Smart was allowed to advance unchallenged towards the home area, and took full toll by unleashing a ferocious dipping shot from 25 yards which went into the net off the underside of the bar, giving Mellor no chance.

City tried to find a way back into the game, but the only opening fell to Reid deep into stoppage time. Alas, his shot-on-the-turn was comfortably wide of Wells’ goal.

This was a disappointing defeat for the hosts on an afternoon where they were never able to produce any constructive football, and Basingstoke were fully worthy of their victory. Maybe the City players were affected by the departure of Preece, or perhaps the effect of playing on heavy pitches over recent weeks has taken its toll. One thing for sure, however, is that they will need to improve their performance next Saturday when they visit league leaders Bromley.

BATH CITY: Jason Mellor, Sekani Simpson, Aaron Brown, Dan Ball, Andy Gallinagh, Adam Connolly, Ross Stearn (Josh Low 81), Chris Allen, Dave Pratt, Andy Watkins (Jake Reid 80), Noah Keats. Subs not used: Dan Bowman, Scott Wilson, Jim Rollo.
BASINGSTOKE TOWN: Louis Wells, Nathan Smart, Andrew Jenkinson, Simon Dunn, Jay Gasson, David Ray, Wes Daly, Shaun McAuley (Robbie Matthews 71), Jordace Holder-Spooner (Kezie Ibe 65), Manny Williams, Louie Soares. Subs not used: Neil Barrett, Rob Rice, Ross Adams.
Referee: Chris Powell (Poole).
Att: 519.
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Post by BenE on Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:21 pm

to be fair it was an absolutely stunning shot from their right back.
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Post by 2weirdtown on Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:25 pm

swerved markedly just when Mellor had it covered.
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Post by stillmanjunior on Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:59 pm

Is that so? We couldn't tell from the stand, at the time I thought Mellor could have tipped it over but if it swerved then no chance.
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Post by Kelston Koppite on Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:03 pm

stillmanjunior wrote:Is that so? We couldn't tell from the stand, at the time I thought Mellor could have tipped it over but if it swerved then no chance.

I was right in line with it and the ball wobbled all over the place in its flight. Mellor had no chance.
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Post by stillmanjunior on Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:11 pm

Pretty spectacular then. Totally out of place with the game!
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