Bath City (0) 0 Margate (0) 0 – FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round – Tuesday 28 November 2017 – Twerton Park
Following an enforced delay for this FA Trophy tie to take place, the two sides will have to wait even longer to see who’ll travel to Hendon in round one as Bath City and Margate couldn’t be separated at a bitterly cold Twerton Park. Kevin Amankwaah returned from injury to captain the side in Anthony Straker’s absence, with George Rigg filling in for the departed Tom Smith.
The game started brightly with Andy Watkins shooting over inside two minutes, Margate grateful that he didn’t repeat his goal from a similar time when they last met in January. A lot has changed since then, Margate suffering relegation to the Isthmian League in April, with none of their 16-man squad in this clash featuring that previous meeting. Opi Edwards produced the night’s first shot on target, a swirling shot from 18 yards warming the gloves of Patrick Lee. Jordan Chiedozie proved a handful at the other end, jinking his way past Miles Welch-Hayes before his centre was flicked towards goal by Frannie Collin, Luke Southwood alert to tip it away at his near post. Chiedozie was at the forefront of ‘gate’s next attack. His superb hold-up play resulted in a lay-off to the onrushing Jack Evans, but the former Eastbourne man blazed over from 18 yards. City, in response, struggled to break down their well-organised lower league opponents, who’d only conceded 12 league goals all season, boasting eight clean sheets.
It wasn’t until just under the hour mark when they next posed a threat going forward. A swift breakaway saw Edwards’ ascent on goal ended by Liam Friend’s perfectly timed challenge. The loose ball fell to Rigg, who side-footed inches wide of Lee’s left-hand post. Matt Richards also curled off target, and these two near misses spurred on the visitors, who saw Kane Haysman’s effort deflected over following a mix-up in the Bath defence. The home side were then indebted to Southwood’s sharpness in goal, clinging on to efforts from Collin and Tom Mills, before he produced the save of the match with 15 minutes remaining. Dave Martin, part of the Bristol Rovers side knocked out by City in 2014, whipped in a cross which found Haysman completely unmarked eight yards out, but he couldn’t generate enough power on his header past the Romans custodian, who got a strong glove on it before pounding on the rebound. Jerry Gill threw on Nick McCootie, Issac Pearce and Marvin Morgan to try and trouble the resolute Kent outfit, but other than a Jack Batten header nestling onto the roof of the net, they failed to threaten. With 22 clean sheets between them now in all competitions this season, there was always the fear of a nil-nil, and it’s one which will give Bath players and supporters a dreaded 400-mile round-trip next Tuesday.
City’s Line Up: Southwood, Welch-Hayes, Amankwaah (c), Richards, Batten, Ball, Edwards (Morgan 83), Artus, Jarvis (McCootie 67), Rigg (Pearce 75), Watkins. Subs not used: Murphy, Hodges.
City Bookings: Batten (69), Artus (90)
Officials: J Durkin, C Barlow, J Pike