Bath City (1)4 Maidenhead United (0)0

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Bath City (1)4 Maidenhead United (0)0

Post by Kelston Koppite on Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:33 am

Bath City swept aside the challenge of Maidenhead United at Twerton Park to secure their most convincing win of the season. This was despite the inclusion of former Premiership striker D J Campbell in the ranks of the Berkshire outfit, who found themselves reduced to 10 men for the final 26 minutes of the match following the dismissal of Harry Pritchard.

The visitors began brightly and had a presentable opportunity to take the lead in the very first minute. Danny Green weaved his way across the City penalty area, but fired over Jason Mellor’s crossbar from a central position 12 yards from goal.

Nick McCootie tried his luck from 20 yards two minutes later, but his shot lacked the power to trouble United goalkeeper Will Britt. It was, however, Maidenhead who continued to make the running, and Green scuffed another effort wide of the near post from just inside the home box. A 9th minute cross from the left found Eddie Hutchinson, but his header looped harmlessly over the crossbar.

Bath started to gain a foothold in proceedings and, on 14 minutes, McCootie broke into the Magpies’ area and picked out Frankie Artus, whose firm goal-bound shot was blocked by Leon Solomon.

City took the lead in the 18th minute in somewhat bizarre circumstances. Andy Watkins burst clear of the Maidenhead defence, but his initial shot hit Britt’s legs. The ball flew upwards allowing Watkins to nod it across the face of goal, where there appeared to be little danger given that Solomon was in the perfect position to provide cover for his prone keeper. Alas, the right back contrived to head the ball into the corner of his own net with great panache.

The hosts were clearly buoyed by their good fortune as they sought to press home their advantage, but it was United who almost restored parity on 25 minutes. A left wing cross was misjudged by Mellor and fell inviting to Green’s feet, but the midfielder’s effort was repelled by Andy Gallinagh’s determined block.

On the half hour mark, Chris Allen was unfortunate to see his curling ball in from the left hit the face of the far post with Britt beaten and, as half time approached, Artus’ dipping volley from 25 yards narrowly cleared the crossbar. The final action before the break saw McCootie advance goalwards from the right byline, but his low drive was pushed round the near post by Britt.

Maidenhead emerged after interval with more purpose in their play, and dominated the opening 15 minutes without putting the City defence under any serious pressure. Their only effort came from substitute Connor Waldon, but his shot from the edge of the area passed comfortably wide of the near post.

The home side suddenly sprang into life and doubled their lead on 62 minutes following an excellent move. Chas Hemmings released Dave Pratt down the right, and his accurate cross was volleyed into the net in emphatic style by the onrushing McCootie.

Matters deteriorated for The Magpies two minutes later when Pritchard was shown a straight red card for an off the ball spat with Dan Bowman. The ineffective Campbell was then replaced by Ryan Upward, as United manager Johnson Hippolyte attempted to reinvigorate his depleted side.

Lee Howells responded by bringing on Ross Stearn for the tiring McCootie as the home side tried to stretch their opponents’ defence. The substitute almost made an immediate impact when, on 73 minutes, he played a measured through ball into the path of Watkins, who was denied only by an excellent last-ditch tackle by Solomon. However, The Romans increased their lead from the resulting corner when Britt failed to hold the high ball, and Pat Keary stabbed home from close range.

City were now rampant, with Britt being forced into a brave save at Pratt’s feet after the striker had been put clear by Hemmings’ precise pass and, shortly afterwards, Stearn’s drive from distance was deflected behind for a corner.

Hemmings’ shot from 25 yards was well saved low down by the United goalkeeper, and Phil Walsh, on for Bowman, headed narrowly over the bar following Allen’s free kick from the left flank.

The hosts reserved the best until last as Hemmings produced a sumptuous ball from his own half that picked out Pratt’s forward run, and the leading goalscorer lifted the ball over the advancing custodian, finding the roof of the net with aplomb.

This was a richly deserved victory for City and, in the end, the margin of victory could have been wider. Maidenhead enjoyed brief periods of pressure but were unable to ruffle the home rearguard, which succeeded in keeping a third consecutive clean sheet. This sound base enabled the Somerset side to drive home their advantage in clinical fashion once their visitors had pressed the self-destruct button.


Bath City: Jason Mellor, Dan Bowman (Phil Walsh 80), Andy Gallinagh, Pat Keary, Sekani Simpson, Chas Hemmings, Andy Watkins, Chris Allen, Dave Pratt, Nick McCootie (Ross Stearn 68), Frankie Artus (Ashley Kington 74). Subs not used: Ben Adelsbury, Jim Rollo.
Maidenhead United: Will Britt, Leon Solomon, Harry Pritchard, Ashley Nicholls, Mark Nisbet, Simon Downer, Danny Green, Devante McKain, D J Campbell (Ryan Upward 66), Eddie Hutchinson (Connor Waldon 46), Dave Tarpey (Bobby Behzadi 40). Subs not used: Jacob Erskine, Sam Barratt.

Referee: Christopher O’Donnell (Leighton Buzzard).
Attendance: 539.

Kelston Koppite

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