Bath City (0) 0 Hemel Hempstead Town (0) 0 – Vanarama National League South – Saturday 2 December 2017 – Twerton Park
Nat Jarvis added the latest miss to Bath City’s abysmal penalty record as ten-man Hemel Hempstead Town left Twerton Park with a point. Visiting goalkeeper Laurie Walker flew low to his left to keep out the effort from Jarvis, his second wasted opportunity from the 12-yard mark this season. And try as they might, City could not break through against the visitors, who spent virtually the final half-hour a man down after Matt Spring was sent off for giving away the penalty, handling Nick McCootie’s goalbound effort. Matt Richards was also thwarted by a stunning Walker save from his free-kick, but Romans No1 Luke Southwood also had to pull off two top-notch stops to keep Hemel from taking an unlikely three points home.
With Billy Murphy having departed for Hereford, Bristol City loanee James Morton was given a debut in Romans colours, while Opi Edwards was also missing from the starting line-up. The goal-hungry Miles Welch-Hayes got City off to a bright start with a jinking run into the box, but his effort on goal struck a defender’s legs. At the other end Jordan Parkes scythed a swerving volley past Southwood’s left-hand upright, with Andy Watkins and Alex Osborn trading further shots. It was the visitors that looked the more potent threat for much of the first half as City failed to put any concerted spells of possession together. Kevin Amankwaah also found himself in the book early doors for chopping down Parkes on halfway as Hemel threatened a counter. The Romans weren’t without hope and should have done better when McCootie dispossessed Tom Day. Charging forward two-on-two, McCootie held the ball too long to find Jarvis and eventually ran into trouble himself. The wideman would have the next chance, though, when his header looped over the top from Matt Richards’ whipped corner, flicked on at the near post. Twice Southwood had to be alert, tipping over a swirling Parkes cross and a direct corner that would have otherwise found the net. He also touched a David Moyo cross onto the woodwork from a tight angle before the first 45 were up. The two clearest goalscoring opportunities of the half went to lanky Hemel hitman James Kaloczi, who nudged a header narrowly wide before volleying over from six-yards out, albeit under pressure from Welch-Hayes. Just as McCootie had earlier, Jarvis was then unable to make the most of a Tudors slip as he turned down the option of Watkins running through the centre and lost possession himself. There was more life in the Romans for the closing minutes as Jarvis had a goal ruled out for offside against McCootie in the build-up, while Watkins was flashed yellow for a dive in the Hemel box.
The second half only came to life after a near scrap between Hemel keeper Walker and McCootie, who had chased down a lost cause and won a corner off the keeper. Incensed, Walker leapt to his feet in a frenzy and was booked for his reaction. It was a short corner routine that won City their spot kick, Richards and Watkins linking up. The ball found its way to McCootie, whose shot was blocked by the arm of Spring on the line. The Hemel veteran was given his marching orders, but bailed out when Walker plunged to his left and pushed Jarvis’s spot kick away. Down to ten, the visitors went deep and watched on as McCootie fired one just past the angle of post and crossbar. However, Hemel still threatened a shock goal when Moyo held off Amankwaah, allowing Osborn to run on and draw a full-stretch save out of Southwood. Walker then made a stunning save of his own when a 30-yard free-kick from Matt Richards was clawed out of the top corner.
Welch-Hayes also had a strong header repelled, although Hemel again threatened to win it when Will Hoskins found his way in behind, his effort stopped by Southwood. Still the Romans had a chance for a winner when Isaac Pearce twisted inside his defender and hooked a cross to the near post, where Watkins sent a diving header wide. And though they pumped balls into the box during five minutes of stoppage time, the only real chance they could create was a header from Morton that never trouble the Bath End goal.
City’s Line-Up: Southwood, Welch-Hayes, Amankwaah (c), Richards, Batten (Rigg HT), Ball, Artus, Morton, Jarvis (Morgan 78), McCootie (Pearce 68), Watkins. Subs not used: Buck, Hodges.
City Bookings: Amankwaah (12)
Officials: M Whaley, S Kane, R Lawrence