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Bath City (0)1 Wealdstone (1)3

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Bath City (0)1  Wealdstone (1)3 Empty Bath City (0)1 Wealdstone (1)3

Post by Kelston Koppite Thu May 02, 2019 10:15 am

Bath City’s season came to end at the first play-off hurdle as they were defeated by Wealdstone in a highly charged encounter at Twerton Park. Ryan Brunt was shown a straight red card for a second half challenge on Stones’ goalkeeper Jonathan North and, despite putting the visitors’ defence under considerable pressure, a late strike by former Roman Dave Pratt finally sealed City’s fate.

With a vibrant atmosphere at ground provided by an attendance of 2,201 (including 323 visiting fans) it was Wealdstone who started the brighter of the two sides. Danny Green dragged a volley well wide of Ryan Clarke’s goal from distance in the 4th minute and, shortly afterwards, Freddie Hinds was too high with a similar effort at the other end.

Stefan Brown scuffed a shot straight at Clarke on 8 minutes but the away side were in front three minutes later. Jake Sheppard picked up an intended clearance by Anthony Straker and cut across the face of the box, before drilling a firm drive into the bottom corner of Clarke’s net.

The hosts gradually came more into the game and, on 20 minutes, Tom Smith’s cross field ball released Ross Stearn down the right, only for his fierce shot to be blocked around his near post by North. Jack Batten’s close-range effort from the resulting corner was cleared off the line by a defender.

Tom Smith saw his shot from 25 yards well saved low down by North as City continued to threaten, but Wealdstone still pushed forward when able. Sheppard broke through a couple of challenges on the edge of the home box, but lifted a hurried shot over Clarke’s bar.

The hosts came close again after 28 minutes when North produced another save to deny Stearn and, after a frantic goalmouth scramble, Tom Smith’s swiveling shot was brilliantly repelled by the busy keeper.

Green made progress down the left before his 36th minute low cross was turned wide of Clarke’s near post by Simon Mensah, who had earlier replaced ailing goalscorer Sheppard.

Frankie Artus was cautioned for a heavy tackle in midfield before Freddie Grant, having already floored Stearn with an over-zealous aerial challenge, was shown a yellow card for unceremoniously scything down the same player on the stroke of half time. The final act before the break was the introduction of Sean Rigg for the injured Artus.

The second period continued at the same frenetic pace and James Morton’s free kick in the 47th minute found the head of Robbie Cundy, but the defender was unable to exert any real power, and North was able to save comfortably. Straker then made good progress down the left before producing an inviting cross into the danger zone that narrowly eluded the onrushing Stearn.

Wealdstone continued to enjoy their fair share of possession, and Green found space for a shot at goal in the 59th minute but the ball flew straight into Clarke’s midriff. The pacey Jeffrey Monakana saw an effort deflected by a City defender for a corner on the hour mark but, three minutes later, the wideman took advantage of Stefan Brown’s ball in from the right to fire into the net at the far post, doubling his side’s lead in the process.

Christian Smith shot from distance on 68 minutes but was well wide of the target, and Jerry Gill then sought to inject fresh legs as Adam Mann replaced Stearn.

Bath pressed forward with renewed urgency but their task was to be made more difficult by events in the 74th minute. Joe Raynes slipped a pass through for Brunt to chase into the box, but North reached the ball first and was caught in the face by the forward’s sliding boot. The keeper lay prone on the floor and, having assessed the situation, the referee showed the Cityman a straight red card. North was clearly in trouble and it took six minutes for him to be stretched off the pitch, doing so to warm applause from the terraces. He was replaced by substitute goalkeeper Dylan Paterson.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, the hosts continued to put the Wealdstone defence under pressure and the arrears were reduced in the 82nd minute. Mann’s shot from distance took a wicked deflection off a defender, the ball looping over the desperately back peddling Paterson and into the net.

Sol Pryce came on for Rigg as City went in search of an equalizer and, with the referee indicating a minimum of 9 minutes stoppage time, the atmosphere intensified around the ground. Raynes’ cross into the area from the right was headed back across by Batten, but the ball was just out of Mann’s reach.

The killer blow arrived in the 5th minute of added time when a loose back-header put Clarke under pressure from Pratt. Agonisingly, the ball squirmed from the keeper’s grasp leaving the former City favourite with the simple task of finding the back the unguarded net, an act that sparked wild celebrations amongst the travelling fans at the Bristol end of the ground.

Whilst this was a massively disappointing result, there is little more that City could have done on the night. Wealdstone made the most of their chances and, at times, the ball did not fall kindly in front of goal for the home side, who were also denied a number of times by the outstanding North before his premature departure. It can only be hoped that the goalkeeper’s injuries are not too serious and that he makes a full and speedy recovery.

After the dust has finally settled, the season will undoubtedly be viewed as a success where good headway has been made, both on and off the pitch. An attractive and exciting brand of football, a place in the play-offs achieved and an impressive increase in attendances are all positives, and it appears that the foundations are in place to allow optimism that further progress is attainable next season.

Bath City: Ryan Clarke; Joe Raynes, Robbie Cundy, Jack Batten, Anthony Straker, Frankie Artus (Sean Rigg 45+3, Sol Pryce 88)), James Morton, Tom Smith, Ross Stearn (Adam Mann 69), Freddie Hinds, Ryan Brunt. Subs not used: Harvey Wiles-Richards, Dan Ball.

Wealdstone: Jonathan North (Dylan Paterson 79); Rhys Tyler, Freddie Grant, Connor Stevens, Jerome Okimo, Godfrey Poku, Jeffrey Monakana, Christian Smith, Stefan Brown (Dave Pratt 67), Danny Green, Jake Sheppard (Simon Mensah 36). Subs not used: James Clark, Jean-Paul Antwi.

Referee: Mr. Matthew Russell

Attendance: 2,201
Kelston Koppite
Kelston Koppite

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Join date : 2014-02-23

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Bath City (0)1  Wealdstone (1)3 Empty Re: Bath City (0)1 Wealdstone (1)3

Post by BenE Thu May 02, 2019 11:24 pm

Well said KK

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