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Wealdstone (0)3 Bath City (2)3

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Post by Kelston Koppite Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:54 pm

Bath City came away from Wealdstone’s Grosvenor Vale ground with a point after sharing six goals, including a hat-trick from Ross Stearn, following a frantic spell of play during the final fifteen minutes that yielded no fewer than four goals.  The travelling supporters endured a rollercoaster of emotions during this entertaining encounter, which saw their side gain a comfortable two goal advantage before the hosts twice drew level in the closing six minutes.

The game commenced with City playing down the slope in extremely heavy rain, on a pitch that was slippery in places, and particularly sodden in the goalmouth they were attacking.  Wealdstone showed some early intent when, following some trickery down the right by Bradley Hudson-Odoi, Godfrey Poku side-footed his shot over Ryan Clarke’s bar from the edge of the box.

Frankie Artus won the ball in midfield in the 3rd minute and fed Adam Mann, who found Stearn with his pass.  The wide-man took the ball in his stride and drove a shot across keeper Jonathan North into the far bottom corner of the net.

It was an excellent start for the West Country side, and they went on to dominate the remainder of the first half, producing some slick passing in the process.  Michee Etefe delivered a cross into the box from the right on 10 minutes that was met by Joe Raynes, but his glancing header passed narrowly over the angle of crossbar and post.  However, the visitors were not to be denied, and their lead was doubled after 12 minutes.  Raynes turned cleverly and found Stearn 20 yards from goal, who drilled his shot into the net beyond the rooted custodian.

James Morton headed goalwards from the 18 yard line following a partially cleared corner in the 20th minute, but North held on comfortably.  The influential Sean Rigg then fired just wide of the target as City continued to press forward.

At the other end, on a rare home attack, Bradley Bubb found space down the right, but his eventual cross-shot flew across the face of Clarke’s goal.  Hudson-Odoi then tried his luck with a free-kick from 25 yards out but was well over the crossbar with his effort.

The Romans remained on top as the interval approached and Mann’s shot was just wide.  The hosts had another scare on 43 minutes when, following a City corner kick, Poku headed the ball narrowly wide of his own goal with North stranded.

The second period saw The Stones enjoying the majority of possession as they made use of the gradient and aquatic conditions, but it was Bath who crafted the first attack of note, when Stearn’s angled shot in the 52nd minute passed just wide of North’s far post.  Home skipper then nodded straight at Clarke from substitute Fumnaya Shomoton’s cross.

Rigg broke away down the right on the hour mark before finding Mann, who produced a perfectly weighted pass into the path of the unmarked Raynes, only for North to make an outstanding blocking save to repel the midfielder’s shot.  Cundy then headed a Mann corner kick goalwards, but his effort lacked the power to trouble North.  The home keeper then did well to hold a skidding drive from Rigg.

Whilst City remainder dangerous on the break, Wealdstone were gradually building up a head of steam and began to pin the away side deeper into their own territory.  

Tom Smith replaced the tiring Rigg in the 70th minute and, five minutes later the Bath lead was halved.  Jack Batten was cautioned for upending Simon Mensah and, from the resulting free-kick, the unfortunate Anthony Straker headed into his own net, giving Clarke no chance.

The noise levels from the home faithful increased dramatically as they sensed that their side were right back in the game.  Their team responded as they swarmed around the City box, with Clarke being forced into a superb double save to keep out, firstly a deflected shot, and then Mensah’s follow up effort.

Ryan Brunt came on for the hard working Mann on 83 minutes, but this could not prevent The Stones equalising a minute later.  A long free kick into the box was adjudged to a struck Cundy’s hand by the referee, Mr. Christopher O’Donnell, who pointed to the spot.  Substitute Elliott Charles confidently found the back of the net from 12 yards, shooting firmly straight down the middle.

City were now reeling but somehow found the strength and spirit to mount another telling attack.  A good passing move ended with Morton drilling the ball across goal, where Stearn was on hand to turn in at the far post to complete his treble.  However, their celebrations were short lived as Wealdstone mounted another assault on the City defence.  A free kick into the away area was glanced on to his own bar by Batten and, following a desperate goalmouth scramble, Clarke pushed a shot from Charles on to the post, but was unable to prevent the ball spinning over the line and into the net.

Despite five minutes of stoppage time neither side was able to find a winning goal, and both camps had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Having led by two goals at half time, City will feel greatly disappointed that they could not hold on for victory, but credit must be given to Wealdstone for their response in the second period after a lacklustre opening 45 minutes. There is no doubt that Jerry Gill’s men produced the better football overall and, had North not performed heroics to deny Raynes on the hour mark, they would almost certainly have come away with an outstanding victory.  However, having eroded Bath’s advantage with six minutes remaining, Wealdstone had the momentum and they appeared to be the only side who would take all three points, so Stearn’s hat-trick goal was both crucial and timely.  That the lead was allowed to slip again was undoubtedly galling but, when the dust has settled, a draw away from home against a fellow play-off hopeful is a very laudable outcome.

Wealdstone; Jonathan North, Rhys Tyler, Joe Payne, Jerome Okimo, Glenn Wilson, Godfrey Poku, Bradley Hudson-Odoi, Simon Mensah, David Pratt, Bradley Bubb, Christopher Regis.  Subs, Jake Sheppard, Fumnaya Shomoton, Jeffrey Monakana, Daniel Green, Elliott Charles.

Bath City;  Ryan Clarke, Michee Efete, Anthony Straker, Robbie Cundy, Jack Batten, Frankie Artus, James Morton, Sean Rigg (Tom Smith 70), Adam Mann (Ryan Brunt 83), Joe Raynes, Ross Stearn.  Subs not used; Harvey Wiles-Richards, Ricardo Rees.

Ref:  Mr. Christopher O’Donnell

Att:  901
Kelston Koppite
Kelston Koppite

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Post by tovid Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:20 am

I missed the BCIR commentary on the game so it is great to get this excellent report. I understand it was Monsoon conditions which is always difficult to play in and clearly the slope makes a difference.
Brunt seems to be out of favour at the moment which means we only really have one way of playing. Jerry obviously feels Mann gives us more movement up top although Ryan may be carrying an injury. I see we only had four on the bench again. It was fortunate Batten was fit to play.

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Post by the demon headmaster Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:16 pm

Sergio Mann was indeed fantastic, but so was Stearn, Raynes, Rigg and Artus. The defence were unlucky, because the only dodgy decision of the game was crucial. The penalty was very harsh. The ball bounced up and hit his arm, which was by his side. However, Wealdstone showed great spirit in the second half and put us under tremendous pressure.

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