Hemel Hempstead Town (0)0 Bath City (1)3

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Post by Kelston Koppite on Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:02 am

Bath City returned to winning ways at a warm and sunny Vauxhall Road, the home to Hemel Hempstead Town. Despite the appalling playing surface, a blend of sand, dust and grass, and a gusty wind blowing down the slope, the visitors scored three quality goals without reply to earn three valuable points.

City began the game playing with the elements and gradient in their favour, and they enjoyed the ascendancy in the early stages. Frankie Artus hooked a shot over the crossbar from 16 yards in the 3rd minute after a cross from the right had been flicked on by Chas Hemmings.

The Somerset side came close to taking the lead on 6 minutes in bizarre circumstances. Dave Pratt charged down home keeper Laurie Walker’s attempted clearance, and the ball rebounded goalwards only to bounce over the unguarded net after taking an unnatural leap off the unpredictable pitch.

The match was brought to a pause after 10 minutes when one of the linesmen suffered a calf injury and was replaced by a willing replacement from the stand. Play resumed after an eleven minute break, and the hosts gradually came more into contention, employing an aerial strategy similar to that utilised by last week’s FA Trophy opponents. Consequently, there was very little constructive football on show, as City struggled to find their passing game.

The Romans won a free kick 20 yards from goal in the 27th minute, and Artus’ curling effort just cleared the bar, as Walker back peddled frantically. At the other end, Ed Asafu-Adjaye tried a speculative shot from 30 yards that was too high to trouble Jason Mellor.

Andy Gallinagh lifted a volley over the crossbar from distance after a corner had been partially cleared, and Hemel responded with a right wing cross from Dominic Hyam that was met with a header by Oliver Hawkins, only for Mellor to save comfortably.

Ross Stearn replaced Andy Watkins on 45 minutes as the striker pulled up with an apparent leg injury, as eleven minutes of stoppage time was signalled from the technical area.

Four minutes of added time has elapsed when the home side came close to breaking the deadlock, when Matty Harriott’s first time volley from the edge of the box passed narrowly wide of Mellor’s post.

Two minutes later Bath were in front through a well worked goal. After a good move involving Dan Bowman down the right flank, the ball eventually found Artus 20 yards out, and the midfielder beat Walker with a crisp low drive that found the corner of the net. Vociferous complaints from the home players that the replacement linesman had momentarily raised his flag ultimately fell on deaf ears.

The final action of the half saw Hyam head over the City bar following a long free kick into the danger area.

Within a minute of the restart, the home team rattled the City woodwork twice in quick succession. Firstly, a weak cross-shot from Zane Banton rolled across the face of goal and came back off the post and then, when the loose ball ran to Jordan Parkes, the skipper clattered his shot against the other upright.

Ashley Kington fired over the bar from a useful position on 52 minutes, but the hosts hit the self destruct button immediately after. A City challenge on the halfway line caused a fracas in front of the dugouts, and right back David King saw fit to headbutt Kington. The referee, Mr. Robert Hooper, flourished the red card to confirm King’s inevitable banishment from the field of play.

Both benches then rang the changes, as the Town management responded with a triple substitution on 58 minutes and, for the visitors, Chris Allen replaced Dan Bowman on 62 minutes.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, The Tudors continued to enjoy the upper hand territorially as they persisted with their lofted long balls down the middle, but Phil Walsh and Dan Ball dealt admirably with any threat.

Pratt found space down the left in the 71st minute, but his cross was just to high for the onrushing Artus, who was unable to make a good connection with his near post header.

Hemel’s last real opportunity came with 12 minutes left on the clock when Banton cut in from the right, and Mellor was forced into an excellent diving save to tip his angled rising drive over the bar.

The hosts were beginning to tire, and City suddenly found more space to make their passes. Indeed, they had a golden chance to increase the lead after 83 minutes as Stearn broke away from deep inside his own half. He bore down on goal and, with only Walker to beat, there was an unfortunate bobble as he shot, and he ballooned the ball harmlessly over the crossbar from close range.

However, the substitute had little time to curse his luck, as he broke clear again within a minute following a pass from Artus. This time, he made no mistake, producing an emphatic finish from the edge of the box.

The visitors were not finished, and they drove home their advantage three minutes from time. Kington found Pratt with a measured pass, and the leading scorer burst into the box down the inside right channel, eventually drilling his shot across Walker and into the far corner of the net.

There was still time for Pratt to be denied further reward, when the Hemel shot-stopper produced a good blocking save at his near post to preserve an air of respectability to the final score.

This was a victory that demonstrated the character and determination of the squad after a difficult seven days. The quality of the game as a whole was never destined to rise above mediocrity given the underfoot conditions and keen wind, but any constructive football came from the away side. They were, no doubt, given a helping hand by the ill-judged actions of the Town right back, but overall they deserved to prevail.

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD TOWN: Laurie Walker, David King, Jordan Brown (James Potton 58), Jordan Parkes, Dominic Hyam, Jorell Johnson, Dennis Oli (Kyle Connolly 58), Matty Harriott, Oliver Hawkins (Nicke Kabamba 58), Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Zane Banton. Subs not used: Arthur Lee, Jamie Head.
BATH CITY: Jason Mellor, Sekani Simpson, Andy Gallinagh, Phil Walsh, Dan Ball, Chas Hemmings, Ashley Kington, Dan Bowman (Chris Allen 62), Dave Pratt, Andy Watkins (Ross Stearn 45), Frankie Artus. Subs not used: Nick McCootie, Ben Adelsbury, Jim Rollo.
Referee: Robert Hooper.
Attendance: 709.
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Post by comrade powell on Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:27 am

Thanks, Kevin. This was a more entertaining read than the game itself. Incidentally, when does a pass become 'crisp' and a wind 'keen'? I have this picture of you having a sliding scale of adjectives to fit all eventualities!
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Post by BenE on Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:50 am

good writing indeed.

My idea of a crisp pass is one with pace on it anda low trajectory but not too much zip that it can't be contolled when received.

A keen wind is one that one that has enough force to penetrate thin clothes or bring a blush to the cheek.
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Post by comrade powell on Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:37 am

Actually, 'crisp' should have applied to a 'crisp low drive' not a pass - my mistake - so a crisp pass should be controllable on receipt but a crisp shot should be too hard for the keeper to save? This could be confusing...

Your definition of a keen wind is very good but according to this site, is described better by  'penetrating'....

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/thesaurus-category/british/describing-and-measuring-the-wind

Personally, I think 'gentle' would have applied yesterday, but of course one has to take into account where one is stood in the ground. I wasn't near Kevin (luckily for him!)
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Post by Kelston Koppite on Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:48 am

comrade powell wrote:

Personally, I think 'gentle' would have applied yesterday, but of course one has to take into account where one is stood in the ground. I wasn't near Kevin (luckily for him!)

The wind certainly felt 'keen' when I was out in the open during the first half (not sure if my cheeks were flushed or not though!). Admittedly, it was a lot less noticeable at the back of the shed behind the goal in the second half! I don't think that the players would have described it as 'gentle' noting how quickly the ball was running away from them down the slope before the break. Still, I suppose it is all relative.

In the end, the main thing was getting the three points. Up the City!
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Post by City Awayday on Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:19 pm

A crisp passer of the ball was an epithet regularly applied to the late Dave Mackay and which appeared in several of the recent obituary notices.

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Post by BenE on Sun Mar 08, 2015 4:40 pm

yes a player certainly knew he'd been passed to after one of Dave's exocet passes.
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Post by miker on Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:57 pm

Just seen a report of the game in the Hemel Gazette which states that City's first goal was scored by Artus from 18 years. That's one hell of a shot!!

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Post by Kelston Koppite on Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:00 pm

miker wrote:Just seen a report of the game in the Hemel Gazette which states that City's first goal was scored by Artus from 18 years. That's one hell of a shot!!

On the basis that he is now 26, he must have taken aim when he was only 8. Either he was a very long way out from goal, or it was a particularly weak effort!
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Post by stillmanjunior on Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:29 pm

Reminds me of the Chronicle once stating "Martin Boyle squared it to Graham Withey who stabbed him from six yards".
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Post by the demon headmaster on Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:05 pm

I bet Comrades pupils really look forward to getting their marked books back.

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Post by comrade powell on Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:15 pm

Rewrite that post, this time taking greater care with apostrophes!
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