Bath City (0) 0 Bognor Regis Town (0) 0 – Vanarama National League South – Saturday 9 December 2017 – Twerton Park
The timer ticked over to 284 minutes without a goal at Twerton Park as Bath City played out a third straight 0-0 draw on home soil against Bognor Regis Town. An even first half was followed up by a second the Romans had the best of, but their inability to create and take clear-cut chances again cost them two points. Marvin Morgan’s one-on-one chance in the dying minutes, saved by Dan Lincoln’s legs, should have been the difference, while Opi Edwards had a deflected shot cleared off the line in the first period. Yet Bognor also had an opportunity to win it when Jimmy Muitt failed to hit the target with a flashing volley on a rare foray forward at the end.
Both teams set out to play possession, passing football, and for much of the early stages it was Bognor that made a better fist of it. Jack Compton stuck an ambitious effort wide and followed up with a dangerous near-post corner that skimmed through the box, but much of the running came from the visitors. Former Romans loanee Ben Swallow swiped wide following some neat build-up play, while Muitt also scooped over and then found nobody with a dangerous cross. Again Compton took an effort on goal that was blocked by a Bognor defender in brief respite for City, whose passing game was stymied somewhat by an opposition that pushed up and limited options. There were more efforts from the Rocks which, in a running theme, never trouble Luke Southwood as Harvey Whyte twice made a mess of the final shot. Southwood’s instincts were finally tested when a through ball cut the City defence apart, the keeper sprinting off his line to beat Ibra Sekajja to the ball, just. Sekajja then had a shot blocked from a low, near-post corner before the Romans finally began to get a foothold in the game. They put concerted pressure on the Bognor defence and saw Nat Jarvis miss the target. There were also a number of corners for the hosts, although Town made it difficult to make much of them by leaving three men upfield as Matt Richards and Compton delivered, limiting the number of black and white shirts in the box. The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock followed a neat exchange between Edwards and Jarvis, the former tearing into the box. His deflected effort looped up and over Dan Lincoln, only for scrambling Calvin Davies to clear the ball off the line. Jarvis also headed over a floated cross from just behind the penalty spot as the first period ended with little fuss.
The second half was by and large dominated by the home side as Bognor rarely came forward. However, City’s lack of incision, and against a determined opposition, cost them.
The crossbar was rattled from a corner when the ball deflected off a Bognor head and landed on top of the woodwork. Another Compton flag kick just evaded Miles Welch-Hayes, and Edwards failed to pick out a pass on a burst into the box. Steadfast Bognor got men behind the ball and frustrated Tom Smith, twice, and Welch-Hayes with blocks on shots. The main threat at the other end came from a series of Swallow strikes, which either ended safely in Southwood’s arms or bouncing off the advertising hoardings behind his goal. Veteran midfielder Richards failed to make the most of a presentable free-kick by hitting the wall, although City recycled for stooping Dan Ball to warm Lincoln’s gloves with a header. Smith also blasted wide, while substitute Morgan failed to get enough power on a deflected Smith cross, Lincoln saving his header with ease. Bognor could have stolen the lead when Muitt stabbed wide from a Calvin Davies cross. Yet the finish was frenetic as Isaac Pearce bundled his way through a challenge and fed Morgan, who was denied one-on-one by the Town keeper. There were chances for either side in stoppage time as Bognor, after attempting to keep the ball in the corner and play for the draw, picked up the City clearance and were only denied by a block. From there the Romans broke, with a Swallow foul halting their charge. The resulting free-kick was sent into the area and nodded back across goal where Ball could only hook wide to close out the match.
City’s Line Up: Southwood, Welch-Hayes, Kelly, Richards, Amankwaah (c), Ball, Edwards, Smith, Jarvis (Morgan 73), Compton (Pearce 66), Watkins (Artus HT). Subs not used: Rigg, Hodges.
City Bookings: none
Officials: L Brennan, A Berrow, J Ainscow