Bath City (0) 0 Tonbridge Angels (0) 1 – Saturday 25 February 2023 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Jack Wood’s 88th minute strike saw Tonbridge Angels steal a first victory at Twerton Park since May 1958.
The substitute had only been on the field three minutes when his effort from 20 yards flew threw the legs of Jack Batten and nestled in the bottom corner.
It ended a three-match winning run for City, whose best chance saw Dan Hayfield’s attempt deflected onto the post.
But Wood’s heroics and a determined backline, marshalled by Sonny Miles in his 500th start, saw the visitors record only their second away clean sheet of the season and silence most of the Community Day-boosted attendance.
Birthday Boy Tom Smith was rewarded with his first league start since November and he came closest to breaking the deadlock on 33 minutes.
The midfielder, 25, let fly from 30 yards and the ball bounced uncomfortably over diving stand-in keeper George Bentley, who gloved behind for a corner.
Tonbridge lost key midfielder Lewis Gard to injury shortly after with Tommy Wood on for his second debut having returned 24 hours previous from Hampton & Richmond.
In first half added time Kieran Parselle skied over when Elliott Frear’s corner was flicked on by Batten to his defensive partner at the back post, but under pressure from Ben Swift the captain couldn’t keep his shot down.
Max Harris wasn’t tested until four minutes after the interval when Scott Wagstaff broke through midfield but his tame effort was an easy gather for the stopper.
The Romans’ clearest opening arrived just past the hour. Bentley made a mess of dealing with Frear’s dinked cross, flapping it to Hayfield who controlled but saw his goalbound half-volley deflected off the heels of Tariq Hinds onto the upright with Joe Turner eventually able to clear.
Harris’ bravery denied Jordan Greenidge at the front post when the athletic forward stole ahead of the defence from Turner’s cross but couldn’t force home.
Marley Rose was introduced for Smith and blazed over after creating space near the edge of the box.
A superb block from Miles frustrated Hayfield, the long-serving centre-back throwing himself in the way of his powerful drive and typifying Angels’ determination.
Having lost at Chelmsford five days previous in the dying stages, Jay Saunders’ men righted their wrongs with a late winner.
Hinds found Jack Wood on the edge of the box. The Southend-loanee turned James Morton and Jordan Dyer before firing low through Batten’s legs and just out of Harris’ reach into the bottom right corner.
The luckless Batten nearly made amends in added time when he wrapped his foot around another Frear inviting cross but could only divert wide.
Tonbridge stood firm in the remaining minutes to clinch success and move within four points of the play-offs.
City’s Line-Up: Harris, Dyer, Batten, Parselle (c), Hayfield, Smith (Rose 73), Frear, Lines (Spokes 78), Wilson, Morton, Cox. Subs not used: Clarke, Ford, Minzamba.
Scorers: City – none; Tonbridge – Wood (88)
City Bookings: none
Officials: S Read, J Welsh, G Dunn