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Bath City (0)2 Shortwood United (1)2

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Bath City (0)2  Shortwood United (1)2 Empty Bath City (0)2 Shortwood United (1)2

Post by Kelston Koppite on Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:04 am

Bath City were relieved to survive this helter-skelter FA Cup tie with Shortwood United after twice coming from behind against their Southern League South & West Division opponents. They now travel to the Gloucestershire village on Tuesday evening in search of further progress in this season’s competition.

The first thirty minutes of this match were fairly low key and there was little indication of the drama that would later unfold. The first action, in the 5th minute, saw Andy Watkins’ searching cross earn his side a corner kick, from which the ball eventually reached Pat Keary in a good central position, but the defender could not find a telling touch. On 13 minutes, Chas Hemmings expertly controlled a long through ball, but his early shot was well blocked by Shortwood custodian, Tom King, at his near post.

Thereafter City continued to enjoy the upper hand in terms of possession without creating any clear-cut openings. Ben Adelsbury tried his luck from 25 yards in the 29th minute but was just wide of the target. Two minutes later Dan Ball produced an excellent run down the left flank, and his dangerous cross was tipped on to the top of the crossbar and behind for a corner by King.

Sekani Simpson saw his effort from the edge of the box pass narrowly the wrong side of the post, and Dave Pratt headed over the crossbar after Ashley Kington’s cross had been nodded across goal by Hemmings.

Just as it seemed a City breakthrough was imminent, United took the lead on 37 minutes with their first meaningful excursion into the home box. Matt Bennett’s cross from the left picked out the towering figure of Lewis Sommers, and the centre forward found the corner of the net with his header, despite Jason Mellor’s best efforts.

The visitors were clearly lifted by their newly found advantage, but Tim Haddock’s 40th minute shot from the edge of the penalty area passed harmlessly wide of Mellor’s post.

City tried to respond but Kington’s volley from 20 yards flew high into the terracing behind the Bristol end goal, and Adelsbury’s speculative effort from distance resulted in the assistant on the far side of the pitch flagging for a Shortwood throw in.

The second period commenced with Bath in the ascendancy as they went in search of an equaliser, with Ross Stearn replacing Kyle Patten on 53 minutes. The substitute’s first contribution was to unleash a fierce rising free-kick from 25 yards that King did well to push over the bar.

United, however, reminded their hosts of their attacking threat when a quick break saw Sommer’s header fall into the path of Haddock, but the midfielder succeeded only in firing his shot over the top from a good position.

Kington lifted his shot from 20 yards over the target the hour mark, and Stearn’s chipped effort was too high to trouble King as City continued to press forward in search of parity. Indeed, strong penalty appeals were turned aside by the referee, Mr. Adrian Quelch of Christchurch, when Watkins’ powerful header from Pratt’s cross appeared to strike the outstretched arm of a defender.

Watkins delivered a pinpoint cross on 71 minutes that found the onrushing Hemmings, whose downward header was brilliantly saved by King at the foot of his post. Five minutes later, a ball into the box dropped to Kington, but the midfielder was again denied by the advancing goalkeeper. From the resulting Stearn corner kick, Hemmings’ thumping header came down off the underside of the bar and, although it appeared that the ball had already crossed the line, Adelsbury left nothing to chance by bundling home from close range.

The home crowd now anticipated that their side would continue to dominate, but Shortwood were finally stung into action and began to pose problems for the City rearguard. A sustained period of pressure ended when Mellor needed to be alert in turning Sommers’ header behind for a corner.

At the other end, King made another useful save to deny Hemmings after the forward had won possession in the Shortwood box, but the visitors retook the lead with nine minutes left on the clock. Former City player Josh Egan miscued his shot across the face of Mellor’s goal but it fell inviting for Haddock, who joyfully side-footed into the net from 6 yards.

To their credit, the home side refused to lie down, and the United defenders were forced into a number of heroic blocks as City efforts were repeatedly repelled. The hosts were not be denied and were back on level terms in the 87th minute. Hemmings gathered a through ball and produced a delightful curling shot from 20 yards out that found the far corner of the net beyond King’s despairing dive.

It seemed that Bath were now the more likely of the sides to find a winner, and Hemmings headed wide from Stearn’s corner. However, it was the men from Gloucestershire who came desperately close to snatching victory when Bennett’s low shot found its way through a crowded penalty area, only to strike to foot of Mellor’s far post.

If the Bath City faithful were left to bemoan their side’s failure to turn their overall supremacy into victory, they could not justifiably claim that they were provided with a lack of drama or entertainment. It cannot be disputed that the home side dominated for long periods and were undoubtedly the better side, but it would be hard and unjust for anyone to begrudge Shortwood their result. They harried and harassed their hosts throughout, and regularly put their bodies on the line in resolute defence of their goal. There is no doubt that Lee Howells’ men will need to crack a very tough nut if they are to progress into the 4th Qualifying Round on Tuesday night in Gloucestershire.

BATH CITY: Jason Mellor, Sekani Simpson, Andy Gallinagh, Pat Keary, Dan Ball, Ben Adelsbury, Andy Watkins, Kyle Patten (Ross Stearn 53), Dave Pratt, Chas Hemmings, Ashley Kington. Subs not used: Nick McCootie, Jim Rollo, Beau Taylor.

SHORTWOOD UNITED: Tom King, Sam Rawlings, Nick Humphreys, Ash Thomas, Jake Lee, Nick Haddock, Ross Langworthy (Josh Egan 66), Nick Hancock, Lewis Sommers, Adam Price (Dominique Njoya 72), Matt Bennett. Subs not used: Marley Thomas, Phil Veal, Alex Sykes, Hoskins.
REFEREE: Adrian Quelch.
ATTENDANCE: 641.
Kelston Koppite
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Post by BenE on Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:32 am

I tried to give Quelch the benefit of the doubt but his performance appeared to favour the minnows. and there is little doubt either he or his minion would have given Chas the first goal.

We had a fear throughout the game that it would be settled by a late Shortwood penalty. Thankfully that failed to come to pass.
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Post by RUDI GULITS on Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:49 pm

great report
that last 15mins was what cup football is all about
end to end and not knowing wich way the result was going to go
going to be a very intresting replay
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Post by 2weirdtown on Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:52 pm

Thanks for the report, it's much appreciated.
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