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Sutton United (1)1 Bath City (0)0

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Sutton United (1)1  Bath City (0)0 Empty Sutton United (1)1 Bath City (0)0

Post by Kelston Koppite Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:33 am

Bath City’s interest in this season’s Buildbase FA Trophy competition ended with a narrow defeat at the hands of National League Premier Division outfit Sutton United. With dreary conditions overhead and a skiddy artificial surface, there were precious few scoring opportunities with neither goalkeeper being able to make claims of being overworked. It was perhaps fitting therefore that a fluke goal by substitute Ben Jefford seven minutes before half time proved decisive.

The home side started brightly and created an opening inside the first minute. Roarie Deacon flicked the ball on to Maxime Biamou who found space inside the box, but his shot was straight at grateful custodian Max O’Leary.

Sutton continued to enjoy the upper hand and Nicky Bailey headed a good chance tamely over the crossbar following a corner from the right on 10 minutes. The major threat to City’s defence was the pace and trickery of Deacon out wide on the right, and the winger found his way into the box in the 21st minute but, when he fell to ground under Billy Murphy’s challenge, penalty appeals were waved away by the referee, Mr. Robert Massey-Ellis.

Gary Owers reshuffled his pack in an attempt to nullify the danger being posed by Deacon by switching debutant Oxford United loanee Miles Welch-Hayes from right back to left back, moving George Rigg to right back, with Murphy resuming midfield duties. Despite this, the wideman almost opened the scoring on 34 minutes when his low cross-shot flashed across the face of O’Leary’s goal, with no United player able to apply a telling touch.

However, the hosts had to wait only another four minutes before taking the lead in hugely fortunate circumstances. Deacon won a free kick out wide on the right midway inside City’s half which was taken by Jefford. His curling free kick zipped off the surface into a crowded goal area, eluded an attempted clearance by Marvin Morgan, and the ball nestled in the far corner of the net with O’Leary wrong footed.

It was a cruel blow for City who had gradually come more into the game without seriously troubling Ross Worner between the home sticks. Rigg tried his luck from distance on 39 minutes, but his effort passed harmlessly wide of the target.

With two minutes left on the clock before the interval, Bath had a golden opportunity to equalise when Nick McCootie latched on to a through ball, advanced into the box, but slid his angled shot agonising wide of the far post as Worner raced off his line.

Chas Hemmings was replaced by Andy Watkins ahead of the restart, and City now had their best spell of the match. Frankie Artus threaded a ball through to Morgan on 49 minutes and the forward lashed his shot into the roof of the net, only to be denied by an offside flag. Tyler Harvey sensed a goalscoring chance three minutes later when the ball fell to him inside the Sutton area, but his deflected shot was blocked by a defender, and optimistic appeals for handball were dismissed by Mr. Massey-Ellis with distain.

Deacon had now long ceased to be a threat, bearing tribute to the performance of Welch-Hayes, but the home side almost increased their advantage in the 65th minute from the left flank, when O’Leary produced an excellent diving save to keep out Jefferd’s deflected drive from the edge of the area. The keeper also did well to close down Biamou as he burst into the box shortly afterwards, and the eventual clipped effort was wayward allowing a defender to clear the danger.

Shaquille Hunter came on for Harvey after 71 minutes, as home side upgraded their second half time wasting tactics to ‘phenomenal’ status. Certainly, the home side’s cause was helped by the referee, who did nothing to discourage their modus operandi, and only served to frustrate the visitors with a series of petty stoppages. The game was now being played almost exclusively in the Sutton half, and McCootie’s 78th minute cross from the left found Watkins beyond the far post, but his header was deflected for a corner which came to nothing.

Josh Hutchison replaced Morgan in a last ‘throw of the dice’ but, despite their efforts, City could not find a way back into the game. The closest they came was McCootie’s turn and shot inside the box, but the ball drifted wide of the far post.

Whilst defeat was, of course, disappointing there was no disgrace in losing to a side from a higher division. Indeed, some credit must be taken by the way their more illustrious hosts were content to sit back on their slender lead for the majority of the second half. However, the major worry for the Somerset side will be their inability to create clear cut goalscoring opportunities. The bleak reality was that, despite their second half domination, Worner was not forced into a serious save throughout.

Sutton United: Ross Worner, Kevin Amankwaah, Jamie Collins, Bradley Hudson-Odoi, Craig Eastmond, Nicky Bailey, Dan Spence, Roarie Deacon, Maxime Biamou, Simon Downer, Matt Tubbs; Subs, Ben Jefford, Adam May, Craig McAllister.

Bath City: Max O’Leary, Miles Welch-Hayes, Billy Murphy, Jack Barren, Axel Andresson, Chas Hemmings (Andy Watkins 46), George Rigg, Frankie Artus, Tyler Harvey (Shaquille Hunter 71), Marvin Morgan (Josh Hutchinson 85), Nick McCootie: Subs not used, Steve Phillips, Lee Marshall.

Referee: Mr. Robert Massey-Ellis (West Midlands)
Kelston Koppite
Kelston Koppite

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Post by comrade powell Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:17 pm

Very fair summary there, KK. I agree with your description of the goal, yet someone on the Sutton forum described it as a class delivery! Presumably the home supporters felt it would be petty to complain about the poor entertainment offered by their team as the entrance charge had been reduced.

You sum our problem up well at the end - 11 goals in 10 away league matches isn't bad, but take out the 6 in the Hemel and Truro games, and it's pretty clear where improvement is needed. A few shots on target (or even off) would help...
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Post by BenE Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:39 pm

Excellent report.

Personally I think the fact Sutton were happy to sit back reflects badly on us. They had obviously realised we are toothless up front.

The Sutton manager asked me who our best player was. I realised immediately that none of our strikers could be called that. Marvin Morgan is on an extremely high wage for this division. Does he show it? Coots wants too much time to get a shot away. The rest are attacking midfielders at best.

Tyler hasn't really clicked. Possibly he isn't fully fit.

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