Bath City (0) 0 Weston Super Mare (0) 2 – Vanarama National League South – Tuesday 26 December 2017 – Twerton Park
Bath City’s derby delight was dulled as two late goals earned Weston-super-Mare the points in an all-Somerset affair. Three days on from their tremendous victory over local rivals Chippenham, Jerry Gill’s men were denied a second straight win in the first-half of their double header with the Seagulls. On the back foot for much of the game against a good footballing side in Weston, the Romans looked to have just been getting back into the match when they were hit on the counter by Gethyn Hill’s 75th-minute goal. And that advantage would be doubled through an own goal off the unfortunate Dan Ball to kill off any dreams of a late comeback.
The game got off to an intriguing start when George Rigg’s dodgy backpass had Luke Southwood stretching, the ball rebounding onto his hands for an indirect free-kick 15 yards out. Former Roman Danny Greenslade nudged the ball off for Dayle Grubb, but the huge City wall immediately charged down his shot. Jack Batten headed a corner over with the hosts’ first chance of the afternoon, while Grubb whipped a direct free-kick low and past Southwood’s right-hand post. The opening stages of the contest were reasonably even with both sides looking to play neat, passing football. A smooth Tom Smith dummy set Opi Edwards clear down the left for City, the loanee cutting inside to tee up Compton for a blocked effort. Smith – the two-goal hero in Saturday’s win over Chippenham– then hit an outswinging effort that bent just past the post, running on to a loose ball after Edwards’ pace had forced a mistake from Jason Pope. Gradually, however, Weston began to take control of proceedings by dominating the possession stakes. The City defence were scrambling more than once to clear wide balls and attempting to halt the progress of Grubb, the star Weston midfielder due to move to Football League Forest Green Rovers in the New Year. He was confident enough to take on defenders at almost every turn. On one run he laid off for Jarrad Welch, who saw his shot blocked and then scuffed another horribly wide. Grubb then went for goal himself, latching on to the ball following a poor touch from Rigg and drawing a save out of Southwood from a tight angle. Next to try his luck was Naby Diallo. Hoping for a goalscoring return to his former stomping ground, the midfielder’s deflected strike had Southwood sprawling to make a low save. The visitors’ pressure was briefly broken when City won a corner, which Compton curled on to the knee of Kevin Amankwaah for an awkward shot that rattled the woodwork from six yards. It proved little respite as Weston again began to monopolise the ball. A training-ground corner was allowed to run for Grubb via two dummies as black and white shirts rushed in to block, while Southwood and Amankwaah collided going for a low centre. Impressive left-back Greenslade skipped past Rigg and knocked the ball on for Grubb to skew wide, while Southwood had to be on hand to stop another close-range dig from the Seagulls’ No10.
The second period began in a similar vein, Tristan Plummer firing over the top on the back of a loose pass in midfield from Richards. But a tactical switch gradually hauled the game back City’s way. They switched to a midfield diamond and replaced Compton with Nick McCootie. His first act was to tear forward on the counter and slide a good ball wide for Smith, who overhit his cross. The home side began to string together better phases of play and were unfortunate when only a heavy touch kept Smith from shooting at the edge of the box. Grubb curled a free-kick comfortably into Southwood’s breadbasket, though City went back on the front foot. A Smith cross was intercepted but fell kindly for Edwards to hurriedly smash into the body of a floored defender. Diallo and Edwards traded shots that deflected narrowly off target before Weston took the lead. The Seagulls came forward on the counter and took advantage of the disorganised City defence that had gone up for a corner. Welch ran on to a long, looping ball from Grubb down the right flank and crossed low into the unmarked Hill to slide past Southwood. City vied for a route back into the game and wasted a presentable opportunity when McCootie flicked a header wide from the near corner of the six-yard box. But Weston made sure of the points with a slice of fortune when Welch, hoiked the ball across goal from the left, onto Dan Ball’s body and into the net.
City’s Line-Up: Southwood, Rigg (Kelly HT), Ball, Richards (Case 72), Amankwaah (c), Batten, Edwards, Artus, Jarvis, Smith, Compton (McCootie 57). Subs not used: Morton, Hodges.
Scorers: City – none; Weston – Hill (75), Own Goal (83)
City Bookings: Smith (64), Artus (90)
Officials: J Miles, J Bonnick, B Channing