Truro City (1) 1 Bath City (1) 2 – Vanarama National League South – Tuesday 15 August 2017 – Treyew Road
Frankie Artus’ first goal in eight months secured Bath City’s first three points of the season, in a scrappy encounter at Truro. The hosts led through Cody Cooke’s side-footed effort on 25 minutes, before Connor Lemonheigh-Evans equalised from the spot eight minutes later after Marvin Morgan was hauled down. That was swiftly followed by another penalty appeal soon after against the same front man, this time Gary Owers’ protestations were deemed sufficient enough by referee Scott Jackson to banish him from the touchline at the interval, and indeed the stadium. So whilst the Romans were busy kick-starting the season, the City boss was left wandering around the Cornish city, leaving Jim Rollo to step up in charge for the remaining 45.
Owers made one change going into the game against the previously unbeaten White Tigers, bringing in George Rigg for Miles Welch-Hayes in a straight swap. The opening exchanges lacked any semblance of quality, summed up by Lemonheigh-Evans firing two free-kicks comfortably off target, whilst Andrew Neal also blazed over from distance for the hosts. Truro finished last season just clear of relegation with 99 goals leaked in a troubled campaign. One of their new defensive recruits, Ed Palmer, narrowly headed Noah Keats’ corner over, before one of their attackers made their next effort count three minutes later. A couple of ricochets in the penalty box following a Ben Harding effort saw the ball find kindly to Cody Cooke, who stroked home from 10 yards. Just past the half hour, City found themselves back on level terms. Rigg’s hanging cross was aimed for Morgan, but Ben Gerring pulled on the forward’s shirt as he tried to connect, with referee Jackson pointing to the spot. Lemonheigh-Evans, who was successful against Chippenham a week ago with the game already lost, proved that he possesses the nerve in a pressured situation, slamming his kick past Tom McHale who’d dived the wrong way. A previously tepid encounter was now in full swing. Cooke had a goal disallowed for offside before Nick McCootie was cautioned for a tussle with Billy Palfrey. Within 30 seconds, the City number nine chased a long ball and left a foot high in the vicinity of McHale. Following a stern talking to from Jackson, Owers took no chances and immediately withdrew his front man with Nat Jarvis in his place. There was barely time to catch breath before Morgan again appeared to be upended in the box, but appeals were waved away.
This proved the final straw for Owers, already angered by a possible foul in the build-up for Truro’s opener. During the interval, he was adjudged to have been too over-zealous in making his point, and was banished from not only the dugout, but a view of the game at all. His absence didn’t seem to distract his players, as straight from the restart, Andy Watkins was denied by a smart save from McHale. The former Truro man had a hand in City’s second on 49 minutes. The quick feet of last year’s top scorer was too much for Gerring who chopped him down 30 yards from goal, receiving a caution in the process. Anthony Straker took responsibility with the free-kick, with his intended shot rebounding into the net via the chest of Artus from close range, wrong-footing McHale. It proved to be a rare moment of note in a turgid second half, littered with free-kicks, with nearly 40 awarded across the 90 minutes. Keats volleyed straight at Southwood when well-placed, before the same midfielder drilled dangerously across goal when the Bath custodian fumbled a Harding free-kick. A workmanlike effort at the back kept the Romans in front, with centre-backs Jack Batten, Dan Ball and Ryan Case taking no chances, hacking clear on numerous occasions to frustrate the home side. Even the introduction of former Roman Tyler Harvey failed to spur on the White Tigers, who rather meekly fell to their first defeat for the season. For City though, it’s a result which they’ll hope will kick-start theirs, and meant the manager was the recipient of a happy phonecall at the final whistle.
City Line-Up: Southwood, Rigg, Straker, Batten, Ball, Case, Lemonheigh-Evans, Artus (c), McCootie (Jarvis 40), Morgan, Watkins (Murphy 76). Subs not used: Lucas, Compton, Welch-Hayes.
Scorers: City – Lemonheigh-Evans (pen 33), Artus (49); Truro – Cook (25)
City Bookings: McCootie (36)
Officials: S Jackson, S Rothwell, M Senor