Bath City (2) 6 Knaphill FC (0) 0 – FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round – Saturday 16 September 2017 – Twerton Park
Given Bath City’s recent record against lower-league teams in the FA Cup, Saturday’s six triumph over Knaphill will do just fine, thank you. In each of the past three seasons they have been knocked out of the famous competition by teams below them in the pyramid. There was no such trouble this time around. Rarely did the Romans have to get out of first gear against the Combined Counties league side to book their place in Monday’s third qualifying round draw. Jack Compton netted his third goal in two games to put City on the road to victory, but it was Nick McCootie and Nat Jarvis that stole the show. McCootie set up the next two goals for Jarvis and Andy Watkins, and wrapped off a man-of-the-match display with his first score of the campaign. Jarvis bagged himself a matchball come full-time with two late goals to complete a perfect hat-trick – left foot, right foot and headed strikes.
Jim Rollo, thrown into caretaker charge with Gary Owers taking over the reins at Torquay, had to make do without experienced duo Marvin Morgan and Darren Jones, with George Rigg also out of action. He could name only four subs out of a possible seven and also handed Bristol City loanee Jojo Wollacott a Romans debut in place of the benched Luke Southwood. As expected it was the home side that started on the front foot, with the opening goal almost arriving within three minutes. Watkins scampered away down the right flank and lifted in a cross for Jarvis, whose header was patted over the crossbar by Knaphill custodian Richard Shelley. They could not build on that, however, as the lowly visiting side dug in. There were even a few nervous moments for the Romans and Wollacott. He darted off his line to reach a long ball just outside the box but scuffed his clearance to Gavin Muir, unable to get the ball under his spell with the goal vacant. The youngster also got in a momentary mix-up with Jack Batten. With Knaphill players lining up for a tap-in, Batten was forced to take control and boot clear at the last. Perhaps the biggest heart-in-mouth moment came when Wollacott received a backpass from Anthony Straker and dallied on the ball, his last-moment clearance just beating the onrushing striker. Jarvis knocked a cross-shot across goal from a difficult angle and Compton scooped a free-kick into the wall as the Romans slowly began to impose themselves on the contest. The deadlock was broken on 23 minutes from another Compton free-kick in near the same spot as his first, 22 yards out and to the right of centre. Instead of aiming for the near post, the second occasion he aimed for the far stick and his curled shot bounced on the six-yard line en route to skipping past Shelley, who will have been disappointed not to make the save. A potentially dangerous Knaphill free-kick came and went with little fuss before the second City goal arrived. McCootie charged in to beat left-back Timmy Taylor to a bouncing ball and squared for strike partner Jarvis to sweep in on the slide. Even Straker looked to get in on the act. With Compton tucking, Straker overlapped on the left flank and ran onto a long ball, leaving his opposite number for dead and drawing a save at the near post. McCootie almost teed up Jarvis for a second but his low centre was booted clear, while Ryan Case blazed an ambitious 35-yarder wide of the right-hand post. A whipped corner by Knappers skipper Jimmy Norman gave Wollacott another uncomfortable moment as he flapped a finger-tip to turn it behind from among a gaggle of bodies in the six-yard area. Dan Taylor also had a long-range shot blocked for the Surrey visitors. City had the ball in the box once more ahead of the break but were denied a third goal as the referee blew for a foul among the melee on the goal-line, after a mis-hit McCootie effort dropped off the face of the bar.
The second half failed to take off for the first 15 minutes. Eventually, however, the Romans grabbed their third. McCootie was the architect again, timing his run perfectly to chase down a through ball and coolly playing a low pass back for Watkins to slot in. A missed clearance from Dan Ball handed Knaphill their best chance of the day as Rob Kersley picked up on the loose ball and dropped it off for Norman to hammer against the defence from the edge of the box. Substitute Jamie Lucas had his head in his hands when he missed a sitter. Having shrugged off his marker, the former Bristol Rovers man went one-on-one with Shelley, only to push his shot wide of the far post, Jarvis throwing his arms in the air denied of a tap-in. With a quarter-hour left on the clock, McCootie got his just rewards by booting in City’s fourth from the edge of the box on the back of a poor attempt to clear. Another opportunity was passed up by a tame Lucas header, which made a bee-line for the gloves of Shelley. Lucas’s best effort of the afternoon was his most difficult with an awkward, overhead hook that rattled the crossbar. The Romans made it an apt nap hand courtesy of a flying Jarvis header from Frankie Artus’s strong run and cross. And not done there, Jarvis completed his hat-trick and City’s dozen in stoppage time with a poacher’s finish after latching on to a Lucas dig.
City’s Line Up: Wollacott, Amankwaah, Straker, Batten, Ball, Case, Watkins (Lucas 66), Artus (c), Jarvis, McCootie, Compton. Sibs not used: Welch-Hayes, Murphy, Southwood.
Scorers: City – Compton (21), Jarvis (28, 86, 90+1), Watkins (62), McCootie (74)
City Bookings: None
Officials: D Wilding, A Berrow, M Loughlin