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Billericay Town (0)0 Bath City (0)2

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Post by Kelston Koppite Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:46 am

Bath City produced a sparkling display at Billericay Town’s AGP Arena to take all three points and, in the process, earned themselves a home play-off ‘eliminator’ tie with Wealdstone on Wednesday evening. Second half goals from Robbie Cundy and Tom Smith were just reward for a dominant and enterprising performance by The Romans, whose victory eventually cost their hosts a play-off spot of their own.

With both sides having to contend with a tricky cross-field wind, Billericay came out of the traps quickly and put the City defence under early pressure, but the visitors soon began to gain the upper hand in terms of possession. Indeed, the first opportunity fell to Tom Smith in the 7th minute, but his effort from 25 yards was narrowly wide of the target.

Freddie Hinds tried his luck from distance on 16 minutes, but home keeper Mark Smith did well to gather the ball which had bounced awkwardly just in front of him. Ross Stearn then made good ground down the right before crossing towards Ryan Brunt at the near post, who had the ball taken off his toe by Charlie Wassmer at the expense of a corner.

In the 23rd minute Stearn was penalised for a foul inside his own half and, from the resulting Callum Kennedy freekick, Joe Kizzi nodded wide of Ryan Clarke’s goal. However, the away side continued in the ascendancy and, on the half hour mark, Stearn cut inside from the right, raced into the box, and forced Mark Smith into a useful blocking save at the foot of his near post.

Billericay did have the ball in the net through Adam Cunningham on 34 minutes, but the effort was struck off by the referee, Mr. Lee Brennan, for a blatant trip on Cundy by the frontman.

City had a presentable chance five minutes before the break when Mark Smith punched James Morton’s corner into the path of Cundy, but the defender struck his firm rising shot just over the crossbar. The final chance of the half also fell to the visitors when Brunt was held back on the edge of the box. Morton’s free kick was parried by Mark Smith and, when the ball finally came to Cundy, he poked his shot wide of the post.

The second half commenced quietly with both sides seemingly struggling to master the elements. Hinds was felled 25 yards from goal in the 54th minute, but Stearn’s freekick clattered into the defensive wall. Otherwise, City were able to deal comfortably with any attacking threat that Town were able to muster.

The breakthrough came on 57 minutes when Morton’s corner from the left picked out Cundy at the far post, who rose majestically to thump a header into the net beyond the hapless keeper. It was no more that City deserved for their overall superiority, and they continued to push forward in search of further reward.

On the hour mark, Hinds was crudely tripped 25 yards out by the already booked Danny Waldron, who was extremely fortunate to escape further sanction. His side, however, were immediately punished from the ensuing free-kick. A clever routine saw the ball played to Tom Smith, whose shot took a slight deflection and squirmed through Mark Smith’s hands into the bottom corner of the net.
With the hosts needing to win the match, they now had no choice but to push forward in numbers, and they finally began to ask questions of the City rearguard. Dangerman Jake Robinson slid a shot wide of Clarke’s near post following a right wing cross from Jamar Loza, and Loza then had a shot that was partially blocked allowing the Bath keeper to gather comfortably.

Billericay’s best chance of the match fell to Robinson on 65 minutes when he had a clear sight of goal, only to be denied by an excellent diving save by Clarke low down to his right.

Adam Mann replaced Brunt on 68 minutes and, two minutes later, there were vociferous home penalty appeals when Loza went down under a challenge inside the City area. Mr. Brennan ruled that the striker had ‘taken a dive’ and duly issued a yellow card for simulation. Kizzi headed wide from a corner in the 74th minute but, thereafter, the ‘penalty’ decision seemed to have taken the wind out of the home side’s sails.

Mann shot well wide on 75 minutes after a swift breakaway, but City had now taken almost complete control of proceedings. Stearn’s cross from the right with six minutes remaining picked out the unmarked Hinds beyond the far post. The over-enthusiastic forward went for a spectacular volleyed finish, but succeeded only in launching his effort unfeasibly high into Essex airspace.

An 85th minute Joe Raynes’ cross from the right narrowly eluded Mann in front of goal before Hinds made way for the introduction of Sol Pryce. There was still time for Stearn to force a save from Mark Smith from his flicked header following Morton’s left wing cross.

The final whistle heralded scenes of celebration amongst the City supporters who had travelled in impressive numbers. It was certainly a well-deserved ovation in recognition, not only for an outstanding performance on the day, but also for a hugely enjoyable regular league campaign. It was great credit that they dominated this match against Billericay, a team that needed to win to extend their season, and limited them to very few goal-scoring opportunities, and it will certainly mean that Jerry Gill’s charges will go into Wednesday’s showdown with Wealdstone in confident mood.

Billericay Town: Mark Smith, Joe Kizzi, Callum Kennedy (Jamar Loza 58), Cole Kpekawa (Alfie Potter 76), Charlie Wassmer, Sam Deering, Jack Paxman, Danny Waldren (Adam Coombes 63), Jake Robinson, Jake Howells, Adam Cunnington. Subs not used: Michee Efete, Tam Eyong.

Bath City: Ryan Clarke, Anthony Straker, Jack Batten, Frankie Artus, Freddie Hinds (Sol Pryce 86), Ryan Brunt (Adam Mann 68), Ross Stearn (Dan Ball 89), Robbie Cundy, Joe Raynes, James Morton, Tom Smith. Subs not used: Harvey Wiles-Richards, Joe Romanski.

Referee: Mr. Lee Brennan

Attendance: 1,109
Kelston Koppite
Kelston Koppite

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Post by comrade powell Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:58 am

Thanks KK for all your efforts in bringing us these reports. And here's hoping you've got three more to do before a well earnt break!
comrade powell
comrade powell

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Post by the demon headmaster Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:40 pm

Excellent stuff KK. I thought the performance was much better all-round. We seemed to remember how to take corners and get good crosses in. I think several planes had to be diverted after Hinds' mega-volley! Enjoy a gentle stroll to the ground on Wednesday and think of me battling evening traffic.

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