Bath City (0) 0 Chelmsford City (0) 0 – FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round – Saturday 14 October 2017 – Twerton Park
The battle of the cities ended all-square at Twerton Park as neither could make the breakthrough in this Fourth Qualifying Round contest. Jack Compton’s 47th penalty miss proved crucial as Bath barely carved up a clear opening after, though Jerry Gill will be impressed by the team ethic and determination against one of the strongest side in the division.
The Romans’ early tempo and fluidity was pleasing on the eye, with Tom Smith at the centre of things. The debutant chased and harried in midfield, pleading for the ball, giving Chelmsford the runaround. Andy Watkins was first to test visiting stopper Sam Beasant, but his powerful drive was too close to the keeper who initially spilled, but Nat Jarvis had little chance in converting the rebound with the ball flashing back at him. Chelmsford grew into the game with Craig Braham-Barrett’s tempting cross just missing Chris Dickson in the middle. City were grateful Ryan Case’s positioning on 21 minutes. The summer signing, who netted in the league fixture two months ago, proved as adept at his defensive game, clearing Dickson’s shot off the line after good approach play from Daniel Green and Scott Davies. The Clarets spurned two glorious opportunities on the half hour. Firstly, Lee Barnard’s goalbound shot took an almighty ricochet off Jack Batten, which saw the shot cannon against the crossbar. Matt Johnson was left free on the follow-up, but could only shoot wide. Within a minute they had another opening, Frankie Artus robbed by Dickson following a cleared City corner, but the lethal marksman tamely shot straight at Southwood from 18 yards. Compton tried his best to break the deadlock. A tidy half-volley warmed the gloves of Beasant, before he shoveled a shot into the hands of the keeper with Jarvis’ lay-off proving too difficult to control. The game’s major talking points arrived either side of the interval. With seconds left of the first half, Dickson flicked on a Beasant goal-kick, leaving Barnard in the clear. Surprisingly, the former Tottenham man lost all composure, ballooning over with just Southwood to beat.
Like the first half, City flew out of the blocks and won a penalty within 45 seconds of the restart. Neat link up play between Anthony Straker and Watkins saw the latter unceremoniously chopped down by away captain Elliott Omuzusi – a cast-iron penalty for Robert Massey-Ellis to award. Following a delay, Compton placed his penalty against the outside of the post, though Beasant, son of Dave, the first goalkeeper to save a spot-kick in an FA Cup Final, arguably had it covered regardless. Anthony Church headed straight at Southwood when the Bath defence had a rare lapse of concentration, as they soaked up a plethora of long throw-ins from the Clarets in the closing half hour. In response, Watkins’ teasing cross was slightly out of reach for the stretching Jarvis, and Smith fired over late on, unable to make himself an instant hero. Tempers flared in the closing minutes with Smith surprisingly booked when trying to wrestle the ball from Chelmsford boss Rod Stringer to take a throw-in. Seconds later a similar incident involving Bath chief Gill also needed referee Massey-Ellis to calm the situation down. Although it wasn’t the result wanted by most of the bumper 878 crowd, they would have witnessed encouraging signs as Gill looks to make his mark on his new side. They’ll warm to him even more if he can help inspire his team to victory in Monday’s tricky looking replay in Essex.
City’s Line Up: Southwood, Amankwaah, Straker, Smith, Case, Batten, McCootie, Artus (c), Jarvis, Compton (Rigg 61), Watkins. Subs not used: Lucas, Ball, Murphy, Wollacott, McNulty.
City Bookings: McCootie (82)
Officials: R Massey-Ellis, A Sheppard, M Halford, D Jones