Bath City (0) 0 Coalville Town (0) 0 – Saturday 13 January 2024 – FA Trophy 4th Round – Twerton Park
(City lost 4-3 on penalties)
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Bath City were made to pay the ultimate price for squandering several clear chances as they exited the FA Trophy against lower league Coalville Town on penalties.
Dan Greenslade and Dan Hayfield missed for the Romans, enabling the Leicestershire side to add a fourth cup scalp in two seasons after previous wins over Notts County, Chesterfield and Boston United.
Scott Wilson and Andi Thanoj had a penalty saved for each side in the first half, Josey Casa-Grande marking his City debut by denying the Albanian.
Jordan Thomas and Alex Dean hit the upright at either end in the closing stages in a captivating contest which somehow ended goalless before further drama in the shoot-out.
Oscar Thorn teed up Chris Lines for City’s first chance, pulling back to the midfielder but he spooned over from 10 yards.
Thorn created another when he held off Dean and rolled on to Wilson, who off-balance and under pressure from Herve Pepe-Ngoma shot too close to Paul White.
Wilson won City a penalty on 37 minutes. Joe Raynes’ low ball was miscontrolled by Ashley Carter who appeared to clip Wilson as he tried to nick the ball away.
The striker took the resulting kick but the giant White spread himself to his left and put behind for a corner, taken after Coalville boss Adam Stevens was cautioned for protesting the original decision.
Hayfield and Tom Smith both missed the target when well-placed before the Southern Premier Central outfit wasted the chance to lead in first half added time.
The Ravens broke at pace and Tom McGlinchey cut inside of Jordan Dyer, before being pushed over by the backtracking Lines for a second penalty in under 10 minutes.
Thanoj took responsibility but his woeful, trickling kick was easily saved by Casa-Grande.
Keen to atone for this, Thanoj, part of the Grimsby side that knocked City out of the FA Trophy in 2012, arrowed just over from distance shortly after half-time.
Hayfield nodded Lines’ corner over before the latter’s goalbound effort was charged down by Carter, a regular theme of the afternoon as Coalville’s centre-backs protected White superbly with numerous telling interventions.
Hayfield headed Lines’ free-kick inside to Wilson but the forward nodded over and substitute Cody Cooke’s shot on the turn was brilliant palmed out by White as City increased the pressure.
Throwing bodies forward lead to openings to counters from Town. Roddy McGlinchey’s teasing delivery was nudged wide from Lines, preventing Ashley Chambers a tap-in.
The goalframe denied both sides in the final few minutes. With 87 played, Thomas cut inside from the right and struck against the base of the post with White at full stretch.
Dean looked to have then snatched it when his speculative 20-yarder was gloved onto the bar by Casa-Grande who pounced onto the loose ball.
Lines shanked wide when Pepe-Ngoma only half headed Raynes’ cross to the experienced midfielder, who 15 yards out should have hit the target.
It was the final chance and meant for an FA Trophy penalty shoot-out at Twerton Park for the third time in three seasons, having lost to Dartford in 2021 and defeating Bromley a year later.
City went first with Cooke netting before Joe Doyle-Charles, on his 200th outing, cancelling it out. Both players who missed in the 90, Wilson and Thanoj, each made amends by converting and Lines and Dean followed suit, making it 3-3 with three kicks each.
Greenslade was the first to miss, seeing his drive tremendously kept out by White.
There was immediate joy for the Romans as Casa-Grande denied Kieran Cook, the substitute having also missed in a shoot-out win over Boston two rounds previous.
And he was to be on the winning side again as Hayfield belted his kick into orbit before Chambers, whose two goals saw off Walsall Wood four days earlier in round three, sent Coalville into the last 16 for the first time in their history where they’ll travel to Bishop’s Stortford. The National League North bottom side stunned Aldershot Town on Saturday with a 6-1 win where Kane Crichlow netted five.
For Bath City, it was an exit at this stage for a fourth time in five seasons and arguably the most frustrating as their profligacy played a huge part in this loss.
City’s Line-Up: Casa-Grande, Raynes, Greenslade, Dyer, Parselle (c) (Batten HT), Hayfield, Smith (Cooke 60), Lines, Thomas, Thorn (Frear 72), Wilson. Subs not used: Harper, Russe, Alabi.
Scorers: City – none; Coalville – none
City Bookings: Dyer (69)
Officials: L Impey, J Woolley, H Hetherington