Bath City (0) 0 Havant & Waterlooville (0) 0 – Friday 15 April 2022 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Manny Duku smashed a stoppage time penalty against the crossbar to help preserve a point for Bath City against play-off chasing Havant & Waterlooville.
The forward took responsibility in the first minute of time added on after Dan Ball bundled Jake Andrews to the ground in desperation, but he couldn’t keep his effort down much to the relief of the home side.
A last-gasp winner would have been cruel on Jerry Gill’s men who proved a difficult proposition for their Hampshire opponents at a warm Twerton Park.
The result extended the Romans’ unbeaten home run to four in their quest to avoid the drop.
Fit again Joe Raynes returned in place of Eddie Jones and Jack Batten, back from suspension, was called upon in centre-back, having scored against Paul Doswell’s men in December.
The Hawks started brightly with Ryan Clarke tested inside the opening minute, throwing himself to his right to keep out Billy Clifford’s 20-yard curler.
In response Alex Fletcher headed Elliott Frear’s precise corner over and Tom Smith completely miscued Ben Seymour’s pull-back after Omar Holness’ quick-thinking from a free-kick caught the away defence off guard.
Raynes threw himself in the way of James Roberts’ stinging drive and the Havant man was key in their next attack, his dinked cross met by a glancing header from Scott Rendell who couldn’t readjust in time, forcing him to nod wide.
The start of the second half saw the sides cancel each other out as Havant smothered Bath with their pressing but they struggled to create openings themselves as the City back four kept their concentration and stood firm.
It took until the 62nd minute for the visitors to give the Romans a scare as Josh Passley’s brilliant cross was headed wide by Duku from inside the six-yard box.
Seymour prodded wide from a tight angle after substitute Dave Sims-Burgess, Raynes and Smith combined well down the right.
City had a let off when Duku drilled in a shot from near the byline which just evaded the sliding Roberts when any touch would have resulted in the opening goal.
It looked like the hosts’ hard work in frustrating Havant would be undone in the dying stages when a quick counter saw Roberts’ ball into the box deftly touched by Rendell into Andrews’ path. As the substitute looked to pull the trigger, he was clattered into by Ball leaving referee Steven Hughes with little option but to point to the spot.
With regular taker Stefan Payne injured, Duku took responsibility but became the first Havant player to miss from the spot this season as his thumping drive came back off the face of the bar with Clarke beaten.
Deep into added time Batten’s presence was enough to deflect Jake McCarthy’s volley wide after it sat up nicely for the former Weymouth man.
The resulting corner was cleared with the full-time whistle immediately following, met with cheers from most of another 1,200-strong crowd.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Raynes, Delaney, Batten, Fletcher, Holness, Cooke, Smith, Frear (Sims-Burgess 61), Ball, Seymour (R Jones 77). Subs not used: Fuller, E Jones, Richards.
Scorers: City – none; Havant – none.
City Bookings: Holness (45+1), Fletcher (57), Ball (90+4), Cooke (90+6)
Officials: S Hughes, M Senior, C Peters