Bath City (1)2 St Albans City (1)1

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Bath City (1)2 St Albans City (1)1

Post by Kelston Koppite on Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:10 pm

Bath City concluded their season with a hard-fought victory over St. Albans City at Twerton Park in front of a bumper crowd of 1,023. The Hertfordshire outfit still had faint hopes of a play-off slot at the commencement of play, but these were extinguished by Matt Richards’ second half penalty kick which ultimately secured the points for Jerry Gill’s men.

Bath began the game strongly as they took the game to the visitors with an impressive display that comprised both neat passing and swift movement. The first opening fell to James Morton in the 3rd minute, but his shot from 20 yards was comfortably held by keeper Dean Snedker.

The hosts had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 5th minute when Antoine Semenya forced his way into the St. Albans’ box and went down under the challenge of Percy Kiangebeni. The referee, Mr. Tom Reeves, awarded a penalty, but Snedker guessed correctly and pushed away Richards’ spot kick, much to the delight of the large away following who were camped behind the goal at the other end of the ground.

Undeterred, The Romans continued to push forward, but Andy Watkins was well off target with an effort from outside the box on 8 minutes. Richards delivered a dangerous free kick towards goal in the 15th minute, only for Jack Batten’s diving header to pass the wrong side of the far post.

Despite the hosts holding the upper hand, St. Albans were playing some good football of their own, and home stopper, Luke Southwood, was grateful that Tom Bender’s header was directed straight into his midriff following a long throw-in from the left. Zane Banton then crossed from the same flank and found David Noble inside the box, whose volley was deflected just wide of Southwood’s far post for a corner.

The visitors were now coming more into the match, and Bender’s extravagant overhead kick in the 20th minute was straight at Southwood. Bath responded almost immediately when Semenyo’s downward header was well gathered by Snedker on the goalline.

At the other end, Kieran Monlouis tried his luck from distance, but succeeded only in skewing his shot well wide of the target. It was, however, the hosts that took the lead on 32 minutes in truly stunning fashion. Tom Smith picked up the ball midway inside the St. Albans’ half, advanced goalwards, and then produced a fierce shot from 25 yards that fizzed into the bottom corner beyond Snedker’s despairing dive.

The Somerset side were now in buoyant mood and threated to take the game away from the visitors. In the 35th minute, Smith slipped the ball through to Andy Watkins inside the area, and Snedker made an excellent save with his feet to prevent greater adversity for his team.

Another long throw into the Bath box saw Bender’s glancing header well saved by the diving Southwood, but The Saints were once again indebted to their keeper as half time approached. Semenyo’s perseverance saw him gain possession inside the away box and, after turning his marker, watched as Snedker produced a wonderful one-handed save to push his shot round the post.
As the first half entered stoppage time, the visitors grabbed themselves a lifeline when the Bath defence failed to deal decisively with a corner. The ball finally fell to Banton 12 yards out, who drove his shot into the corner of the net through a crowded goalmouth. This heralded a heated spat between the two dugouts, which seemed to have been ignited by some earlier unsavoury behaviour by someone in the St. Albans’ technical area, but matters appeared to calm down after a lengthy intervention by Mr. Reeves.

The second period commenced with the away side enjoying an increased share of possession with Bath struggling to rediscover their momentum from before the interval. Semenyo’s 49th minute effort from 25 yards was too high to trouble Snedker, and the game settled into a period of midfield stalemate for a time thereafter.

Miles Welch-Hayes sent in a cross from the right in the 64th minute, but Semenyo’s flicked header was well wide of the far post. Semenyo then made good ground down the left, raced into the box, but his angled shot was held at the near post by Snedker.

The Saints missed the chance to snatch the advantage on 68 minutes, when Southwood was beaten to a through ball by Banton. The wideman found the unmarked Sam Merson but, with the keeper stranded and the goal at his mercy, the forward sliced his shot wide of the far post. At the other end, Oaklan Buck shot straight at Snedker after some good work by the tireless Semenyo.

It was Buck’s final action as he was replaced by George Rigg in the 72nd minute and, four minutes later, Bath were back in front. Watkins found the space to drive into the box, where he was unceremoniously upended by Jamie Sendles-White, leaving the referee no option but to point to the spot. This time, Richards confidently sent Snedker the wrong way to see the ball nestle in the corner of the net.

St. Albans pushed forward in numbers as they desperately sought a second equaliser and, in the 83th minute, Shaun Lucien’s free kick from 25 yards drew an outstanding full-length diving save by Southwood. From the resulting corner, the ball struck Richards’ arm, and Mr Reeves awarded the third penalty of the afternoon, albeit this was perhaps the harshest of those decisions. Merson began his rather eccentric run up facing in the wrong direction, but Southwood was not to be fooled, and made a fantastic save at the foot of his left-hand post.

Another St. Albans penalty claim was waved away for a challenge on Lucien by Welch-Hayes, but the hosts should have put the result beyond doubt deep into stoppage time. Semenyo weaved his way past several defenders inside the area and squared the ball to Watkins, who somehow contrived to miss the target from inside the 6-yard box.

The final whistle was greeted joyfully by the home faithful, and the hosts were rightly given a rousing and prolonged ovation. This was a deserved victory against good opponents in a highly competitive match and, particularly before half time, it was an outstanding and entertaining performance.

In many ways, the first half aptly summed up the season, where City played well but failed to make the most of their chances, thereby allowing the opposition back into the game. That said, there is much from which to take encouragement, particularly in the manner and style of play, and the next campaign can be anticipated with great optimism. Certainly, it was fitting that Luke Southwood’s tenure between the sticks concluded with a fine penalty save, and this capped a highly successful time with the club that was a privilege to witness.

Bath City: Luke Southwood; Miles Welch-Hayes, Jack Batten, Dan Ball, Anthony Straker; Matt Richards, James Morton; Oaklan Buck (George Rigg 72), Tom Smith, Andy Watkins; Antoine Semenyo. Subs not used: Kevin Amankwaah, James Ollis, Kieran Hodges.

St. Albans City: Dean Snedker; Tom Gardiner (Rhys Murrell-Williamson 56), Tom Bender, David Noble (Shaun Lucien 78), Jamie Sendles-White, Percy Kiangebeni, Ben Herd (Charlie Walker 78), Solomon Sambou, Sam Merson, Kieran Monlouis, Zane Banton. Subs not used: Harvey Bradbury, Tarik Moore-Azille.

Referee: Mr. Tom Reeves

Att: 1,023

Kelston Koppite

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Re: Bath City (1)2 St Albans City (1)1

Post by the demon headmaster on Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:55 pm

Top stuff! Thanks KK

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