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Havant & Waterlooville (1)1 Bath City (2)3

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Peter Newman
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Havant & Waterlooville (1)1  Bath City (2)3 Empty Havant & Waterlooville (1)1 Bath City (2)3

Post by Kelston Koppite Sat Dec 04, 2021 11:41 pm

Bath City came away from Westleigh Park (aka Draper Tools Community Stadium) with three points following their encounter with promotion hopefuls Havant & Waterlooville.  A performance full of character, determination, and gritty defending alongside a constant threat on the break meant that the Somerset side’s victory was both hard won and richly deserved.

The hosts began proceedings playing down the slope on their new 3G surface and put the City defence under early pressure.  Their momentum was curtailed when Josh Passley required lengthy treatment following a collision with Cody Cooke, and the fullback eventually had to be substituted.  Despite Havant’s bright start, the first real opening came to the visitors on 10 minutes, when a corner was cleared only as far as Elliott Frear on the edge of the Hawks’ area, but his shot was sliced well wide.  

Thereafter, Bath came more into the game and looked lively in attack. Indeed, they forged ahead in the 19th minute following Frear’s nicely flighted freekick into the home box.  Jack Batten reacted the quickest and directed his glancing header into the far corner of the net, giving home keeper Will Mannion no chance.

Hawks tried to respond immediately, but Billy Clifford’s 20th minute effort flew high over the stand behind Ryan Clarke’s goal and deep into the car park beyond.  The pressure of the City rearguard gradually began to increase, and Oscar Goburn’s swerving volley from 25 yards out was well held by Clarke.

The Hampshire side had the ball in the net on 29 minutes following a corner from the left, but the referee, Mr. Isaac Searle spotted an infringement against the Bath custodian and the ’goal’ was disallowed.  However, this reprieve for the away side was short-lived, and parity was restored six minutes later.  A high cross into the box was headed back across goal by Jake McCarthy, and Tommy Wright nodded past Clarke from close range.

Havant now sensed that the game was theirs for the taking and they swarmed around the City area. A 36th minute shot by Wright was partially blocked by a defensive challenge allowing Clarke to safely pouch the looping ball.

As half time approached, the visitors began to weather the storm and a half chance fell to Jordan Dyer at the far post after a Frear corner from the left, but the midfielder was unable to find the power to trouble Mannion.  With the game entering stoppage time, Joe Raynes won possession in the home half and progressed goalwards before laying a pass into the Cooke’s path.  The City top scorer took the ball in his stride and rocketed an angled shot into the roof of the net, beating Mannion at his near post in the process.

The hosts emerged early from the dressing room after the interval as they looked to find a way back into the match.  Predictably, they began to push forward earnestly, forcing City to defend deeply, but the visitors always possessed a threat on the break.  One such raid was mounted in the 47th minute with Raynes feeding Frear, whose cross-shot rolled narrowly wide of the far post.

James Roberts twice tried his luck with shots at goal but, each time, he was well over the target as his side struggled to make any serious inroads into the hardworking City defensive barrier.  In fact, it was the visitors who added to the score-line on 57 minutes following an intricate short corner routine between Frear and Mo Touray.  The latter backheeled to Frear whose cross from the by-line found Alex Fletcher on the edge of the box.  The striker struck a first-time volley that found its way into the bottom corner beyond Mannion’s despairing dive.

To their credit, Havant refused to throw in the towel and Clarke was forced into a parrying save to repel Clifford’s firm drive. Wright appeared destined to score from the rebound but, under pressure from Eddie Jones, he scooped his effort wide.

Tom Smith replaced Touray in the 73rd minute as Jerry Gill looked to introduce fresh legs into the midfield and stem the attacking intent of the home side.  However, the pressure was still on the City defence with, this time, Clifford shooting well of Clarke’s crossbar.

Smith found space on the right to swing a cross into Frear.  The wideman’s initial shot was blocked into the path of Fletcher, who could only scuff his effort wide of the far post.

Havant’s attacks were now becoming more desperate with Clifford firing high over the bar and out of the ground but, with three minutes left on the clock, the Bath keeper had to make a fine diving save at the expense of a corner to keep out McCarthy’s stinging low shot.  A minute later McCarthy headed wide of Clarke’s post from a presentable position.

Cooke gave way on 88 minutes to allow David Sims-Burgess to make his debut, but the final action of the game saw Abdulai Baggie’s run and eventual shot well saved by the City gloveman.

The final whistle was met with a generous and well-deserved ovation from the traveling supporters who appreciated an excellent all-round performance from their team.  Whilst it is true that Havant had the greater share of possession overall, they can have no real complaints about the outcome, where they were defeated by a City side that showed fortitude in defence, pace going forward, and greater incisiveness in front of goal.

Havant & Waterlooville:  Will Mannion, Josh Passley, Joe Oastler, Jake McCarthy, Billy Clifford, Abdoulai Baggie, Joe Newton, Jamie Collins, Oscar Gobern, Tommy Wright, James Roberts.  Subs: Benny Read, Charlie Searle, Theo Widdrington, Nicky Bailey, Leon Chambers-Parrillon.

Bath City:  Ryan Clarke, Eddie Jones, Jack Batten, Callum Wood, Zak Delaney, Jordan Dyer, Joe Raynes, Elliott Frear, Mo Touray (Tom Smith 73), Alex Fletcher, Cody Cooke (David Sims-Burgess 88). Subs not used: Omar Holness, Will Fuller, Lloyd James.

Referee:  Mr. Isaac Searle.

Att:
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Post by Colin Voutt Sun Dec 05, 2021 8:38 am

Thank you Kev,. It was a longish day for you, but, I trust enjoyable.

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Post by comrade powell Sun Dec 05, 2021 9:37 am

Excellent report on a fine performance. Hopefully there is footage of the match as those who couldn’t make it will enjoy seeing those three well taken goals.

Having replaced their problematic grass pitch I assumed that, as with most teams on a 3G pitch, Havant would keep the ball on the ground with patient build up. It was the complete opposite with the ball blasted out of defence at every opportunity. Meat and drink for our well organised defence.

You would have liked that, Junior!
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Post by Peter Newman Sun Dec 05, 2021 10:14 am

Excellent report.
I thought that on the day we were simply better than a Havant side who had been on a good run of results.
As regards Martin's comment on Havant's clearances from defence this was largely due to the way our front and midfield players harried them -so limiting the opportunities for defenders to play out.
Also I have noticed over recent games that Ryan Clarke has often been prepared to clear the ball long.

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Post by tovid Sun Dec 05, 2021 10:41 am

I am surprised there is a noticable slope to the pitch. We have been told artificial pitches need to be laid virtually level.
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Post by threeday week Sun Dec 05, 2021 12:23 pm

Is Anthony Straker still at Havant?

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Post by comrade powell Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:27 pm

According to Wiki, yes, but no mention of him on Havant’s website.
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Post by stillmanjunior Sun Dec 05, 2021 4:26 pm

comrade powell wrote:Excellent report on a fine performance. Hopefully there is footage of the match as those who couldn’t make it will enjoy seeing those three well taken goals.

Having replaced their problematic grass pitch I assumed that, as with most teams on a 3G pitch, Havant would keep the ball on the ground with patient build up. It was the complete opposite with the ball blasted out of defence at every opportunity. Meat and drink for our well organised defence.

You would have liked that, Junior!

I'm better off staying away - missed our last two wins at Havant and not seen us win there since 2004.

Listened in and sounded like we were pretty comfortable and deserved it. To say that we've achieved that at Havant is excellent. Same starting XI three games running too, we've found the right formula and I wouldn't change it any time soon. Dulwich have barely altered their team since September and they're flying.
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Post by BenE Sun Dec 05, 2021 4:49 pm

To be honest the turn round in the team over so few games is astonishing. Players have suddenly found a grit and determination that was lacking before and they are playing for each other and the manager.
Jack Batten and Touray are like new signings. I am hoping there is even more to come from the latter and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season again.
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Post by Guest Sun Dec 05, 2021 9:53 pm

I've got no idea what was going on in the dressing room during the autumn but great to see a postive reaction from the players and manager.

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