Concord Rangers (0) 0 Bath City (0) 1 – Vanarama National League South – Saturday 9 September 2017 – The Aspect Arena
Nat Jarvis stepped off the bench to snatch Bath City victory as they clambered into the National League South top ten at Concord Rangers. It was a second win in a week for the Romans after Tuesday’s triumph over Oxford City, giving them a return of seven points in their last three games. Home side Rangers had the better of a drab first half without ever looking as though they would break through, largely due to their own profligacy. It was City, however, that left with the points as Jarvis nodded in Jack Compton’s cross for his second goal of the season.
Neither team showed much quality in the opening ten minutes, but after Nick McCootie, barrelling towards the far post, narrowly missed a header from Compton’s free-kick, the hosts slowly began to create some openings. Harry Lee sent in a tame effort that barely made Luke Southwood sweat to finally get some life in the game. They had a much better opportunity when Steve Cawley picked a long ball over the defence for Jordan Cox. Had he taken a touch the striker could have been in behind, but instead chose a first-time volley that skewed a good 15 yards wide. Matt Paine’s attempted volley was little better, scything high and wide after Marvin Morgan had headed a corner as far as the edge of the box. The advertising hoardings were getting a beating from the home XI as Amos Nasha missed the target and Cox dropped a lob wide across goal. Finally City began to show some life just past the half-hour, with Compton swinging in a dangerous cross from the left that Concord custodian Louis Wells almost fumbled. A loose touch prevented Morgan getting in on goal after he shrugged off a defender to latch on to a long Darren Jones pass. Wells then had some work to do when McCootie stabbed goalwards on the volley, which was tipped up in the air and grabbed at the second attempt as it dropped towards the goal-line. Another Cawley effort had City hearts missing a beat as it sailed past the post yet again, while McCootie got the better of Jordan Brown in the other box, only for the defender to get back and block his shot behind. And that corner was the closest the Romans would come as Compton’s deadly, in-swinging near-post corner was headed onto the near post by Jack Batten. Before the half was up Cawley sent another meek shot into Southwood’s gloves, while Cox, completely unmarked at the back post, could not get over a cross and nodded over. Morgan, meanwhile, picked up on a loose kick from Roast, before twisting inside and firing into the legs of the defence.
The second period was livelier from the get-go as Morgan shot off target going for a placed shot into the far corner. Concord immediately countered as half-time substitute Adam Topley nailed a strike over the crossbar. Somehow Cawley squirmed away from three players and saw his shot deflected back to Southwood. Eventually the Romans began to get more of a foothold on the contest and had another excellent dead-ball opening when Batten, with no defenders close, stopped to head a Compton delivery off behind. Southwood had to make a sharp save in his first proper test of the game when Cox got to the byline and chipped back for Cawley to hit a stinging volley at the keeper. But the City continued to press and two quick chances came and went for Compton, who drew a save from Wells with a solid shot at his near post and then cracked over. A low McCootie cross narrowly evaded the touch of Lucas close-in and Compton had another free-kick, destine for the top corner, plucked from the air by Wells. Though a goalless draw had threatened for much of the match, City broke the deadlock on 73 minutes when Compton swung in a centre from the left flank that Jarvis headed down and in, beating the desperate stretch of Wells. Not content there, the visitors continued to come forward. They had an excellent chance when McCootie poached the ball in his own half, burst forward and slipped a pass across for Compton to scoop wide, attempting to curl into the top corner with the outside of his left boot. Home shouts for a penalty were quickly quelled when the offside flag went up against Cox, who had been felled by a sliding Southwood. Though Concord pressed late and twice had Southwood repel late efforts, neither Topley or Khale Da Costa troubled the Reading loanee.
City’s Line Up: Southwood, Amankwaah, Straker, Batten, Jones (c), Case, McCootie, Artus, Lucas (Jarvis 69), Morgan, Compton. Subs not used: Ball, Welch-Hayes, Wollacott.
Scorers: City – Jarvis (73)
City Bookings: Case (66)
Officials: W Cartmel, R Claussen, J Aldous