Bath City (0) 0 Wealdstone (0) 0 – Vanarama National League South – Saturday 23 September 2017 – Twerton Park
Bath City and Wealdstone finished with ten men each, but a draw was enough for Jim Rollo’s men to climb closer to the National League South play-offs. Darren Jones was sent off not five minutes into the contest, although the Romans showed no fear and looked dangerous regardless. The second half was a different story, however. After a quiet opening, the Stones’ Ryan Sellars was sent back down the tunnel for a second booking. There were to be no goals, however, as each side could only sporadically threaten and neither keeper called on to make any difficult saves.
It was a disastrous start for the Romans as Wealdstone pieced together a slick break and sent Daniel Green running in behind. He had too much pace for last-man Jones, whose desperate sliding challenge could only fell the forward on the edge of the D. Before leaving the pitch, Jones gave one of the blue-shirted number a firm shove in the chest. The hosts got away with it as the visitors slapped the free-kick into the wall. And in a busy start to the game for the officials, there were then home cat-calls for Stones stopper Jonathan North to be sent off. Jarvis chased down a lofted ball into the right-hand channel that North came dashing out to grab, his momentum taking his hands and the ball outside of the box. He would receive just a yellow card. Jack Compton, moved to central midfield with Nick McCootie dropping to wide left after the red card, went for goal with the free-kick and drew a comfortable save from a diving North. City were in no mood to hold back despite their disadvantage as they went on the attack again, with Kevin Amankwaah whipping in a demon cross that narrowly evaded both Jarvis and McCootie. When Wealdstone did get opportunities they were comfortable to knock the ball around and draw the hosts out in an attempt to make the most of Jones’ red card. They found coming through the centre of the pitch difficult against determined opposition, Whichelow pumping one effort miles wide from 35-yards out, but found more joy out wide. Jack Batten had to scramble a threatening back-header away from the line, while Abobaker Eisa failed to get over a cross and skewed a header over from the edge of the six-yard box. Still City threatened on the break and saw a presentable shooting chance for McCootie blocked after the 27-year-old showed excellent chest control and poise at the edge of the box. From the resulting corner, Amankwaah headed Compton’s left-wing delivery into the ground and over. Both Southwood and North had to touch away dangerous crosses from Whichelow and Compton respectively before the clearest chance of the half came for the Romans. It was from another Compton free-kick, coming deep out on the right, that curled perfectly onto the head of Jarvis, whose stretching but unmarked header could not find the target.
The second period failed to take off until Sellars was given his marching orders to even up the teams. It was a problem all of Wealdstone’s own making as they gave possession up to Watkins. The wideman proceeded on a forward run and was upended by Sellars for a second booking. In many respects the game became more cagey after that. City in particular could have taken more care in possession. The free-kick that followed Sellars’ dismissal was one of few openings for either side in the second half, Batten’s attempted header blocked and running through nicely for keeper North. A dazzling piece of skill from McCootie allowed him to get a shot away, nicked behind by the Stones backline, before he scooped a Straker cross wide. The Londoners huffed and puffed but found City dogged at the back, although Southwood was required to get his mitts on a spate of dead-balls. There was one final chance for the home side to nick the points. Jarvis tore his way down the left and played the ball inside to substitute Jamie Lucas. The former Bristol Rovers prospect showed neat footwork to create space for a shot, only to blaze over. Stones sub Luke Williams matched that effort at the other end with a booming high-and-wide effort. And though Wealdstone put on some final, late pressure, there was no breaching the home goal.
City’s Line Up: Southwood, Amankwaah, Straker, Batten, Jones (c), Case, Watkins (Welch-Hayes 84), Artus, Jarvis, McCootie (Lucas 81), Compton. Subs not used: Ball, McNulty.
City Bookings: None
City Dismissals: Jones (5)
Officials: L Brennan, N Whitfield, A Evans