Banbury United (1) 1 Bath City (0) 0 – Saturday 16 October 2021 – FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round – Spencer Stadium
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Kelvin Langmead’s goal in first half stoppage time saw Southern Premier Central Banbury United knock Bath City out of the FA Cup.
For the fourth time in five years the Romans fell short in the 4th Qualifying Round as they lost to a side in a lower division in the FA Cup for the first time under Jerry Gill.
Gill had no complaints afterwards as his side failed to build on a promising start, with Banbury’s Harry Reilly and Morgan Roberts nearly extending their advantage after the break.
Cody Cooke’s late header over was the closest City came to forcing a replay.
Ryan Clarke and Callum Wood returned from injury and international duty respectively in place of Murphy Mahoney and Tom Smith, the latter left out of the starting XI for the first time barring Somerset Premier Cup since March 2019.
Clarke was a virtual spectator early on. Bath forced four corners in the first seven minutes and Alex Fletcher’s half volley from 20 yards flew just over Jack Harding’s crossbar.
Banbury withstood the early pressure well and should have scored from their first meaningful attack on 18 minutes. Giorgio Rasulo charged forward unchallenged and saw his low strike parried wide of goal by Clarke, who was relived to see Eddie Jones slide in and prevent Ben Acquaye on the follow-up when he looked certain to net.
Fletcher had an opening just past the half hour when a rare lapse of concentration from the Banbury defence saw him unmarked straight from Elliott Frear’s throw, but he pulled a shot harmlessly wide.
The hosts took the lead one minute into first half stoppage time. After sustained pressure, Alex Babos found Wreh on the left. He cut inside of Jones and saw his stinging drive parried by Clarke to Langmead, who shuffled into room and shot on the turn past the helpless keeper from 10 yards.
Banbury flew out the blocks after the break with Reilly’s fierce volley tipped over by Clarke.
Smith was introduced for Jones on 56 minutes but his first involvement saw him robbed by Acquaye, who found Roberts on the right. The attacking midfielder cut inside of Wood and swerved an effort against the bar with Clarke beaten.
A last-ditch block by Rasulo thwarted Omar Holness as City managed to get some joy down the left via Frear, with the winger’s delivery on 85 minutes just too high for Cooke, who nodded over.
Connor Roberts felt the full force of Ben Gerring in the air as the Romans skipper was pushed forward as an emergency forward with Bath desperate to keep their FA Cup campaign alive.
In the end whatever they tried wasn’t enough as Banbury deservedly held on to land a home tie with Barrow and leave Bath City back to concentrating on getting their league campaign into gear.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke, Raynes, Gerring (c), Batten, Wood (James 90), Fletcher, Holness, Cooke, Frear, Jones (Smith 56), Owers. Subs not used: Fuller, Richards, Cannings.
Scorers: City – none; Banbury – Langmead (45+1)
City Bookings: Batten (46)
Officials: M Scholes, J Cox, I Croston