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Bath City (1)2 Chelmsford City (1)2

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Post by Kelston Koppite Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:30 pm

Bath City twice battled back from a goal deficit to gain a hard earned point against a strong Chelmsford City side at Twerton Park.

Despite the visitors arriving late at the ground following an unscheduled sightseeing tour of Bristol, they started the game brightly and took the lead inside the first three minutes. Shamir Mullings muscled Manny Monthe off the ball inside the home area and went to ground under the defender’s challenge. The referee, Mr. Matty Buonassisi, had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, although the award appeared a trifle generous. Shaun Jeffers took full advantage by sending Max O’Leary the wrong way from 12 yards.

Bath responded to this setback positively and Andy Watkins saw his 6th minute shot from outside the area deflect wide off a defender. The resulting corner eventually reached Monthe at the far post, and keeper Ross Fitzsimons pulled off a remarkable save on his goal-line to keep out the downward header.

Chelmsford were playing the more controlled football in midfield, and a slick move in the 13th minute resulted in Mullings firing a low shot narrowly wide of O’Leary’s post from the edge of the box.

However, the hosts continued to drive forward whenever possible and found an equaliser on 20 minutes. Naby Diallo played the ball through to Tyler Harvey on the right flank, who did extremely well to avoid the lunge of Daniel Blanchett in the corner. The striker advanced along the by-line before delivering an inch perfect cross to Marvin Morgan, and the centre forward planted his firm header high into the net at the far post.

The hosts now enjoyed a period of supremacy but struggled to carve out any clear cut chances against a well-organised Clarets defence. Harvey had an opportunity on the half hour mark, but his free kick from outside the area was too high to trouble Fitzsimons. At the other end, Robbie Willmott’s searching free kick from the left was flicked just wide of the far post by Chris Bush.

As half time approached Jack Batten looped a header on to the roof of the Chelmsford net following a Billy Murphy corner from the left, and Watkins’ effort from distance was well wide of the target.

Chelmsford emerged from the dressing in reinvigorated mood, and immediately put the home defence under pressure. Mullings sliced a shot horribly high and wide, and Jeffers’ effort was deflected behind off Batten for a corner, from which the visitors re-took the lead. The hosts failed to clear the ball, and Jeffers was given far too much time and space to turn and drill into the net from inside the 6-yard box.

With the damp conditions underfoot, the game then descended into a period of midfield stalemate, as Bath struggled to regain their composure and Chelmsford were content to contain the home side. Willmott’s free kick from 20 yards on the hour mark curled harmlessly over O’Leary’s crossbar, and Gary Owers acted by bringing on Chas Hemmings for Diallo in an attempt to find some penetration going forward.

Despite their endeavours, Bath failed to force Fitzsimons into serious action, and it was therefore somewhat out of the blue that they found a second leveller in the 80th minute. George Rigg’s cross into the box from the right appeared to present no undue threat, but Mark Haines made a complete hash of his attempt to chest the ball back to Fitzsimons, allowing the ever alert Watkins to nip in between them and poke the ball over the stranded keeper, finding the far corner of the net.

Bath now sensed an opportunity to snatch all three points but, by pushing forward, almost conceded again with two minutes left on the clock. Willmott raced on to a through ball, rounded the exposed O’Leary, but was unable to direct his angled shot on target. The final opening fell to the hosts when Murphy’s long free kick from in front of the away dugout picked out Hemmings, but the substitute’s header lacked the power to beat Fitzsimons.

Having been in arrears on two occasions, this can be viewed as a point gained by The Romans, but they may will feel that this was a missed opportunity where both goals conceded were eminently avoidable. Certainly, they were not outplayed by a side that were in the play-off places ahead of today’s game and, in the first half, they attacked with purpose. There were plenty of positives to take from the performance, and the Somerset side will hope to build on these as they go into next week’s important FA Trophy tie with Basingstoke Town.

Bath City: Max O'Leary; George Rigg, Jack Batten, Manny Monthe, Dan Ball; Billy Murphy, Lee Marshall, Tyler Harvey, Andy Watkins, Marvin Morgan, Naby Diallo (Chas Hemmings 63). Subs not used: Steve Phillips, Shaquille Hunter, Josh Hutchinson, Andrew Elcock.

Chelmsford City: Ross Fitzsimons; Ashley Miller, Daniel Blanchett, Max Cornhill (Elliot Buchanan 66), Chris Bush, Mark Haines, Josh Rees, Anthony Church, Shaun Jeffers, Shamir Mullings (Max Porter 80), Robbie Willmott. Subs not used: Billy Bricknell, Adam Bailey-Dennis, Luke Daley.

Referee: Matty Buonassisi.

Attendance: 540.
Kelston Koppite
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Post by BenE Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:59 pm

A very well written review as usual - and fair too. Chelsmford are a big muscular side and use all the niggly 'professional' tricks that the ref allowed them to get away with. I particularly don't like to see boots left in and this was particularly prevalent. 

I therefore think our lads did particularly well to come back into the game. It is exhausting playing against that. You feel as if you have been in a battle rather than a game.

Having said this I wouldn't have been surprised to see Ball sent off given the keenness of the penalty award (although Manny should never have let the guy have the chance).

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Post by comrade powell Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:38 am

Presumably Chelmsford liked what they saw of Bristol prior to the match so much that they returned there at half time. I can't remember a team taking so long to reappear...
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