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Billericay Town (1)1 Bath City (1)2

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tovid
Kelston Koppite
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Post by Kelston Koppite Sat Apr 23, 2022 11:35 pm

Bath City gained a hard-fought victory against Billericay Town at New Lodge to earn the three points that banished any lingering relegation fears and thereby secured their place in National League South next season.  Goals from Alex Fletcher and Cody Cooke overturned a one goal deficit as Jerry Gill’s men once again produced a performance of great fortitude.

Billericay started quickly and immediately pushed City back deep in their own half.  Zak Delaney was issued with an early yellow card by the referee, Mr. Richie Watkins, for a clumsy foul on Anthony Jeffrey.  Indeed, the speedy Jeffrey proved to be a constant threat throughout the match until his withdrawal late on.

The hosts’ first effort on goal arrived on 7 minutes when Femi Akinwande’s powerful shot was blocked away for a corner by Jack Batten.  Strong appeals for a home penalty six minutes later were waved away by the referee after the ball appeared to strike a defender’s arm inside the box, as Town continued to pressurise the City defence.

The visitors were struggling to make any headway into Billericay territory, but a half chance fell to Joe Raynes in the 18th minute.  However, the Cityman mishit his effort allowing home keeper Zaki Oualah to gather with ease.

The pressure on the Bath defence finally told in the 31st minute after Omar Holness was penalised for a foul on the halfway line.  The resulting freekick was lofted into the area and was met with a looping header by Michael Chambers that dropped into the bottom corner of the net.

To their credit City responded almost immediately and were back on level terms on 33 minutes.  Dave Sims-Burgess produced some good work on the edge of the box and found Fletcher 20 yards from goal.  The forward controlled the ball and then struck a delightfully curling shot into the top corner of the net beyond Oualah’s despairing dive.

The remainder of the half saw Billericay with the bulk of possession and attacking play, but they were unable to find a way past the well organised City rearguard.

The second period began in much the same manner with Town probing the City defence, but the Somerset side were becoming an increasing threat on the break. Indeed, Ben Seymour replaced Sims-Burgess in the 53rd minute and immediately had a major impact on the final outcome.  A poorly struck back pass by Chambers was intercepted by the substitute inside the box, and he was duly impeded by Oualah’s rash challenge, with Mr. Watkins pointing to the spot and cautioning the goalkeeper.  Cooke stepped forward and emphatically despatched the ball into the corner of the net from 12 yards, sending Oualah the wrong way in the process.

Elliot Frear tried his luck with a 62nd minute freekick from 25 yards out, but his effort sailed well over the crossbar.  Thereafter, the home side enjoyed the vast majority of possession without unduly troubling Ryan Clarke, whose involvement was largely restricted to plucking crosses out of the air and collecting overhit through balls.

A rare City foray into opposition territory on 70 minutes concluded with Cooke’s shot from the point of the area being comfortably held by Oualah.

Town were playing some good football in the midfield areas and playing long diagonal balls as they tried in vain to stretch the Romans’ back line.  Numerous crosses into the away box were being repelled by Batten and Dan Ball in particular, and Clarke continued to dominate his six-yard box.  The keeper was required to make one save with nine minutes left on the clock, but Akinwande’s tame effort from 20 yards was comfortably smothered.

Fletcher almost made the game safe for City in the 86th minute, but Oualah produced a good diving save to push his shot round the far post at the expense of a corner.  The final action saw another long freekick played into Clarke’s box but, this time, Chamber’s header was well wide of the post.

The final whistle, sounded after four minutes of stoppage time, was greeted with a great sense of relief from the numerous Bath supporters amongst the attendance of 1,130. The players were given a generous applause for their determination and stubbornness throughout the game.  Certainly, the team’s defensive organisation and general battling qualities have been key features of the recent upturn in results, and the final two home games can now be played out in less stressful circumstances than have been endured over the last couple of months.

Billericay Town:  Zaki Oualah, Toby Stevenson, George Wind, Michael Chambers, Anthony Jeffrey, Jack Munns, Femi Akinwande, Greg Halford, Anderson Pinto, Dylan Gavin, Josh Wright.  Subs: Lawrie Wilson, Joe Muscatt, Niko Muir, Gabriel Ipanga Mbambo, Kweku Lucan.

Bath City:  Ryan Clarke, Joe Raynes, Jack Batten, Dan Ball, Zak Delaney, Omar Holness, Tom Smith, Elliot Frear, Alex Fletcher, Cody Cooke, Dave Sims-Burgess (Ben Seymour 54 mins).  Subs not used: Eddie Jones, Will Fuller, Tom Richards, Ryan Jones.

Referee:         Mr. Richie Watkins

Attendance:  1,130
Kelston Koppite
Kelston Koppite

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Post by tovid Sun Apr 24, 2022 8:59 am

Excellent report as usual KK.
If you swapped the protagonists round it would read like a standard Bath City game from our season. Not troubling the opposition keeper and being undone by defensive lapses.
That we have managed to belatedly turned this round can only be the result of a lot of hard work. Although having a full bench means Jerry can pick the best team he can to suit the way he wants to play and to suit the opposition faced that day.
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Post by Colin Voutt Sun Apr 24, 2022 2:58 pm

Thank you Kev

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Post by Peter Newman Sun Apr 24, 2022 4:23 pm

Interesting that the pitch appeared to have a slope away from the main stand. Accept this could have been illusionary due perhaps to pre-event drink in the local Wetherspoons.

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Post by pete mac Mon Apr 25, 2022 11:16 am

Great day out. Thought Billericay a nice town. Welling for the drop I hope!

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Post by comrade powell Mon Apr 25, 2022 12:48 pm

I agree, Pete, it is a nice town and the ground is better than many in this division. However I see Welling as traditional rivals of ours, along with the likes of Chelmsford and Dartford, and despite being run down I’m fond of their ground. And for me The Robin Hood & Little John is the best pub in the League!
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