Bath City (2)6 Knaphill (0)0

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Bath City (2)6 Knaphill (0)0

Post by Kelston Koppite on Sat Sep 16, 2017 6:58 pm

Bath City eased into the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup with a comfortable six goal win over Combined Counties League outfit Knaphill. It was a game in which City’s supremacy was rarely in question and, in the end, the margin of victory could have been considerably wider.

The hosts, playing towards the Bath End in the first half, began strongly and their opening effort on goal arrived in the 3rd minute. Andy Watkins’ cross from the right was met by a firm header by Nat Jarvis that Knaphill keeper Richard Shelley palmed over the crossbar.

City continued in the ascendancy and, on 12 minutes, Jarvis battled his way towards the by-line, only for his shot from an acute angle to fly across the face of goal. The visitors were extremely fortunate to maintain a full complement of players on the pitch, when a horribly reckless lunge by Rob Kersley on Jack Batten went completely unpunished by referee, Mr. Darren Wilding. Indeed, it was the first of a number of highly questionable challenges throughout the afternoon that failed to elicit any form sanction from the official.

The pressure on the Knaphill defence finally resulted in a home breakthrough after 23 minutes. Watkins was felled as he raced towards the ‘Knappers’ penalty area, and Jack Compton’s resulting free kick from 20 yards found the far corner of the net beyond the flailing Shelley.

JoJo Woollacott, making his home debut in goal as replacement for the rested Luke Southwood, was called into action in the 26th minute when a free kick into his box was nodded on by Jack Collins, but the ball flew straight into the keeper’s midriff. Two minutes later, the hosts had doubled their advantage as Nick McCootie bustled his way into the area, and crossed for Jarvis to slide the ball past Shelley at the far post.

Anthony Straker sprang the offside trap on the half hour mark and made rapid progress into the Knaphill box, but his eventual shot was pushed round the near post by Shelley at the expense of a corner.

As half time approached, Ryan Case was well off target with a shot from distance and, in the 43rd minute, Compton’s free-kick into the danger zone saw McCootie’s effort pushed on to the bar by Shelley and, although the rebound was bundled into the net, Mr. Wilding spotted an infringement.

The second period commenced with Knaphill trying to close down their higher division opponents and, for a while, proceedings were more evenly contested. Collins tried his luck on 53 minutes with a free kick from the left, but the ball drifted well over Woolacott’s crossbar and, thereafter, City gradually turned the screw as the Surrey side visibly began to tire.

Compton’s deep corner from the right in the 55th minute was nodded back across goal by McCootie, but Jarvis’ header lacked the power to beat Shelley. However, six minutes later, Bath once again breached the visitors’ defence when McCootie broke away down the right and pulled the ball back into Watkins’ path, the forward making no mistake with his side footed strike from inside the box.
Watkins was then replaced by Jamie Lucas, who should have stretched his team’s lead further on 70 minutes. The substitute shrugged off the attentions of George Rowley to latch on to Compton’s perfectly weighted through ball, but he curled his shot wide of the far post with only Shelley to beat.

City struck again after 74 minutes when Compton’s cross from the left was only partially cleared by the Knappers’defence, and McCootie drilled his low shot past Shelley from 15 yards out.

Knaphill were gamely trying to find some consolation, and Woolacott had to make a brave block at Danny Taylor’s feet after the winger had burst into the home box, and then the custodian produced a tumbling, but comfortable, save to repel Kersley’s shot from 20 yards.

City remained threatening up front and Kevin Amankwaah’s cross from the right was met by Lucas, but his header was straight at Shelley, and Dan Ball then headed wide of the near post from Compton’s left-wing corner kick. Lucas also hooked a shot against the top of the crossbar following McCootie’s flick on, but goal number five arrived on 85 minutes. The industrious Frankie Artus made space on the left side of the Knaphill box and his cross picked out Jarvis, who scored with a thumping header.

Jarvis then completed his hat-trick as the match entered stoppage time, when an intricate City move ended with Lucas delivering an inviting low cross that was swept into the net by the striker from close range.

This was a convincing victory by a dominant City team, who will have been glad to avoid a potential banana skin, particularly after the unanticipated events earlier in the week. For their part, Knaphill battled valiantly throughout, but were ultimately outclassed by a side from three divisions above. The hosts will now eagerly await the draw for the 3rd Qualifying Round, although thoughts will inevitably now turn to Wealdstone who are the visitors to Twerton Park next Saturday in the National League South.

Bath City: JoJo Wollacott; Kevin Amankwaah, Jack Batten, Dan Ball, Anthony Straker; Andy Watkins (Jamie Lucas 67), Ryan Case, Frankie Artus, Jack Compton; Nat Jarvis, Nick McCootie. Subs not used: Luke Southwood, Miles Welch-Hayes, Billy Murphy.

Knaphill: Richard Shelley; Ross Cheek, Timmy Taylor, Jimmy Norman, George Rowley, Jack Collins, Danny Taylor (Danny Turner 84), Rob Kersley, Eddie McKinlay, George Frith (Dan Thorogood 40), Gavin Muir (Craig Castle 63). Subs not used: Max Roffey, Luke Whiddett, Harry Roberts, Harry Rapley.

Ref: Mr. Darren Wilding

Att; 497

Kelston Koppite

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