Bath City (0) 0 Tonbridge Angels (0) 0 – Vanarama National League South – Saturday 17 August 2019 – Twerton Park
Bath City remain unbeaten but Tyler Harvey’s penalty missed cost them all three points in a goalless stalemate with newly promoted Tonbridge Angels. The former Truro City man lobbed his spot kick over the bar two-thirds through the second period – not long after an apparent red card let-off for the hosts. Alex Hartridge was shown a yellow card when Harvey Smith should have been given a second booking for taking down Tom Derry as last man. The game became increasingly erratic as both sides created chances late on, most of the pressure coming from the hosts and Angels attacking on the break, but neither could find the breakthrough.
The Romans made a fast start and could have gone ahead within two minutes. They put together a sweeping right-to-left move which found Ross Stearn, his cross hitting Adam Mann, who had his effort blocked as Tonbridge crowded in, and was just beaten to the loose ball by keeper Myles Roberts. The Angels custodian almost got himself in trouble moments later when he dallied on the ball, allowing Harvey to get close enough to get a touch on his clearance, which ran away harmlessly for the visitors. For the first 15 minutes City stroked the ball around patiently, looking to pick holes in the packed Tonbridge defence. But they also showed the ability to change it up when Stearn took a long, crossfield ball down at the corner of the box, span inside and shot a tame effort into Roberts. The first danger the hosts faced came of their own making. Smith attempted to shepherd the ball through to returning keeper Ryan Clarke, with D’Sean Theobalds at his back. Clarke came, but Smith hurriedly attempted to clear as the three converged, luckily to no trouble for his side. Stearn had a well-struck goal denied for offside, before the best chance of the half saw the Romans denied. A clever looping throw caught Tonbridge on the hop as Mann collected and nudged across for Harvey to turn and fire a low shot Roberts kept out sharply to his left. The former Plymouth Argyle prospect could perhaps have done better with his next opportunity, nodding a deep, dipping Connor Riley-Lowe corner past the post unmarked. Tonbridge only threatened sporadically when they got the ball into the final third, although they did take some advantage of City losing their rhythm midway through the first period. Joe Raynes was required to slide across to make an important clearance after indecision almost saw Theobalds played in behind. The Tonbridge man also shanked an ambitious volley from wide of the penalty area into the Bristol End. It was City that finished the half stronger with Harvey’s attempted flick-on just evading Mann after a blazing Raynes run down the right, while Roberts flapped underneath a Riley-Lowe corner.
The second period struggled to kick into life until the final 25 or so minutes. Jerry Gill employed a tactical switch by replacing Harry Hamblin with Ryan Brunt and switching to a 4-4-2 formation, though Angels remained steadfast and became increasingly threatening with balls in behind City as they pushed for a winner. Before then Hartridge fired just wide of a post and Stearn bounced a volleyed effort into the keeper’s hands. The real drama began with the apparent missed red card for Harvey Smith. Already booked minutes before, he upended Derry running clear in behind. Yet it was Hartridge that was flashed a yellow card and the Bristol City loanee remained, even after referee Richard Gardner consulted with his assistant. Then came the penalty, given amid a melee of players under a free-kick competing to reach Connor Riley-Lowe’s set-piece. But Harvey stepped up and sent his 12-yarder comfortably over the crossbar to give the away side a let off. City were living on their nerves on occasion in the closing stages but did well enough under pressure from pacey frontline. Joe Turner drew a save from Clarke, albeit offside anyway, and prodded wide from a good position at the edge of the box. Much of the closing stages saw the Romans on the front foot. Tom Smith sliced a low cross from substitute Jordan Simpson, whose second follow-up centre was dealt with by the defence. Harvey also had an effort blocked as the hosts pressed for the winner. There were loud catcalls for a second penalty from the home faithful and the bench when Tom Smith raced from his own half into the box and saw his cross blocked by a sliding defender at close quarters. However, Tonbridge almost had the final say when, with City high up the field for a set-piece, they were caught on the counter and Clarke had to make a sprawling save to keep out Chindeu McKenzie. The resulting corner bounced onto the top of the crossbar and with that the final opportunity dissipated.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Raynes, Riley-Lowe, T Smith, Mann (Watkins 56), Harvey, Stearn (Simpson 83), Richards, Hartridge, H Smith, Hamblin (Brunt 51). Subs not used: Bower, Pardington.
Scorers: City – none; Tonbridge – none
City Bookings: Mann (51), Richards (55), H Smith (61), Hartridge (56)
Officials: R Gardner, R Saward, A Baker