Eastbourne Borough (1) 2 Bath City (1) 3 – Vanarama National League – Saturday 18 November 2017 – Priory Lane
Miles Welch-Hayes’ Bath City renaissance continued as his 16-yard strike saw the Romans come out on top of a five-goal battle against Eastbourne Borough at Priory Lane, giving Jerry Gill his first away league victory as manager.
The visitors were the first side to have a shy at goal; Frankie Artus’ 20-yard strike going narrowly wide of the Eastbourne upright. However, the Romans had Jack Batten to thank for the game remaining goalless on the 28-minute mark with the central defender providing a vital last-ditch challenge to deny Jamie Taylor after Luke Southwood could only parry Charlie Harris’ initial drive. The Romans responded well and a slick move looked like it was going to end with Tom Smith breaking the deadlock, only for Iain Simpemba to produce his own fine bit of individual defending. It was City who took the lead a few minutes later though, when Nat Jarvis scored his first goal since mid-September. After Jack Batten’s initial header from Matt Richards’ corner had hit the Bath City striker, it was Jarvis who reacted quickest with his swivel shot from seven yards; finding the bottom corner. The visitors were in the ascendency and could have doubled their lead minutes later when Opi Edwards was played in behind the Eastbourne defence, but the Bristol City loanee blazed over with Jarivs and Andy Watkins both well placed. As had been the case at Hampton and Richmond Borough three weeks ago, City’s good first-half work was undone in stoppage time when their hosts equalised from a free-kick. On this occasion, it was Kane Wills’ set-piece which found Lloyd Dawes and the former Worthing man headed in the equaliser.
Unlike at The Beveree, City maintained their performance level after the interval and continued to play on the front foot. Nick McCootie, on for Andy Watkins, curled straight at Smith in the Eastbourne goal before the Romans did retake the lead in the 68th minute. After good build-up play, Miles Welch Hayes’ dangerous low cross was inadvertently turned into his own net by Kiran Khinda-John, under pressure from Jarvis. The hosts tried to summon a response; Dan Ball producing a last-ditch clearance to deny Taylor before Luke Southwood comfortably saved Ian Simpemba’s header from the resulting corner. However, a double salvo at the other end did prove fruitful. After Nick McCootie’s flick over the top, Nat Jarvis’ shot was turned around the post by debutant Matt Smith before Miles Welch-Hayes found space at the far post from the following corner and hammered home from 16 yards for his second goal in as many games. The down-side of the goal was that the right-back picked up a slight niggle in scoring and was forced off a few minutes later. With City unable to immediately make a change, they were temporarily playing with ten men and the hosts made them pay as Lloyd Dawes picked up a loose ball and curled home from 20 yards to reduce the arrears. That gave Eastbourne hope with four minutes remaining and the hosts could have nicked a late leveller but for Matt Richards’ headed goal-line clearance. That was to be The Sports’ only late chance though, as Nat Jarvis and Nick McCootie ensured the ball spent most of the five minutes of injury time located in the Borough half.
The result means City move back inside the top ten of the Vanarama National League South table, only three points outside the play-offs, following two wins and seven goals in the space of a week..
City’s Line-Up: Southwood, Welch-Hayes (Morgan 85), Straker (c), Richards, Batten, Ball, Edwards, Artus (Rigg 72), Jarvis, Smith, Watkins (McCootie 61). Subs not used: Lucas, Hodges.
Scorers: City – Jarvis (37), Own Goal (68), Welch-Hayes (82); Eastbourne – Dawes (45, 87)
City Bookings: Batten (90)
Officials: R Whitton, T Ellsmore, P Saunders