Bath City (0) 0 Truro City (0) 0 – Vanarama National League South – Saturday 6 January 2018 – Twerton Park
Bath City might have taken the judges’ decision at Twerton Park, but they were left to settle for just a point against Truro City. On the balance of play it was the hosts that edged matters, though fourth-placed Truro did pose sporadic problems and hit the crossbar in the second half. However, City – who finished with ten men following a late red card for Dan Ball – were left to mull over a fifth straight home game without a goal of their own. Back in the City line-up was Ross Stearn and the mercurial winger, returning for a one-month loan from Sutton United, had perhaps the best Romans chance when he narrowly missed the top corner late in the day.
The first half was relatively even with each side creating a handful of half-chances and putting together some reasonable build-up play, but neither able to finish. After Cody Cooke had an early strike squeezed out by the Romans defence, Truro keeper Tom McHale was called into action when he tipped a looping header by his own defence over, from a Jack Compton free-kick. The action continued to run end-to-end as Cooke received a dinked ball into the area and flashed an acute effort across goal. Coming right back on the counter, Tom Smith broke forward and saw his low cross hacked behind with Nat Jarvis lurking to poach the opener. That opened up a strong spell of City pressure as Compton’s corner had to be prevented from sneaking straight in at the near post. Jarvis was then inches away from converting a whipped Michael Kelly cross from the left flank and Smith stood up a dangerous ball to the far post. Positive down the left again, a Compton centre was flicked goalwards by Smith but blocked by a Truro defender. The Cornishmen were still threatening, however, and there was a let-off for City when former loanee Tyler Harvey whiffed on a Connor Riley-Lowe cross. Twice Compton thumped long-range shots into the Bristol End terracing, while James Morton dragged wide on the back of a good sweeping move. Perhaps the best chance of the first period – albeit a difficult one – fell to Smith. McHale raced out of his area but a heavy touch off his chest went the Swindon loanee’s way. He took down an awkward ball but could not lift his shot into the empty net with McHale in no man’s land. McHale had to keep his eye on a long-range dig from Stearn, which bounced nastily in front of him as Jarvis closed in, while Southwood also had to have his wits about him to make a diving stop from Noah Keats’ 30-yard strike, which he held for good at the second attempt. Southwood was also nearly caught out when his half-cleared punch was diverted back into the box for Cooke to attempt an overhead kick, the keeper back quick enough to snaffle up.
The second half failed to take off for much of the first 15 minutes, though Jarvis did pass up an opportunity to get in behind with a loose touch. Truro had Southwood’s goal-frame rattling when Cooke rose above everyone at the far post to nod onto the underside of the bar and, luckily for City, clear. Back came the hosts, with Welch-Hayes perfectly timing his pass for Stearn to send in a cross just too high for Jarvis to get any clean contact. Visiting centre-half Ed Palmer smashed a free-kick wide, with the aid of a deflection, before City spurned a quick series of chances of their own. A Smith effort was blocked but ran nicely for the Romans to keep possession. Compton turned the resulting Stearn cross into a defender and lifted the quick rebound over. And Stearn could have finished his return in perfect fashion when a deft pass found him in space at the edge of the box, but he curled agonisingly off target aiming for the top corner. Morton shot wide following more neat build-up and Jarvis latched on to a clever ball down the left-hand channel, but nobody was there to turn in his perfect cutback into the net. A late free-kick from Compton was also held by McHale as City once again found the breakthrough elusive. The chase for all three points was dealt final a blow in stoppage time when Ball was shown a second yellow card for an innocuous-looking foul on Andrew Neal, just inside his own half.
City’s Line-Up: Southwood, Welch-Hayes, Kelly, Artus, Amankwaah (c), Ball, Stearn (Batten 90), Morton, Jarvis, Smith, Compton. Subs not used: Straker, Rigg, Case, Hodges.
City Bookings: Ball (63), Welch-Hayes (82)
City Dismissal: Ball (90)
Officials: A Blake, R Hillier-Smith, S Graham