Bath City (0) 0 Weymouth (0) 0 – Vanarama National League South – Saturday 7 March 2020 – Twerton Park
Report by Kelston Koppite
Bath City and Weymouth shared the spoils in a keenly contested encounter at Twerton Park. With both sides firmly in play-off contention and each boasting miserly defensive records, this was always destined to be a close tussle. It was no surprise therefore that the match ended goalless.
The early exchanges were largely ‘cat and mouse’ as the teams sought to gain the upper hand, and it was not until the 21st minute that the first attempt at goal arrived. Connor Riley-Lowe crossed the ball from the left and found Adam Mann at the near post, but the forward headed over Callum Ward’s crossbar from 10 yards out.
Weymouth won a freekick in a dangerous position 25 yards from goal in the 26th minute, but Jake McCarthy’s effort was expertly tipped over the bar by the leaping Harvey Wiles-Richards.
The hosts responded with Tom Smith’s deflected shot from distance on 29 minutes that has comfortably held by Ward. At this stage, it was the visitors who were enjoying the greater share of possession, but they were struggling to break down the well drilled home rearguard. Indeed, the next opening was created by Joe Raynes in the 41st minute with a run into the Weymouth box from the right wing, only to misdirect his eventual cross on to the roof of the net.
The final chance of the half fell to Shaun Hobson, but he blazed his shot high and wide of Wiles-Richards’ goal and beyond the Bristol End terracing, albeit with the help of a spectator’s intervention.
If the first half had lacked an element of verve, the teams emerged after the break with a sense of greater urgency. City almost struck in the 47th minute when Smith latched on to Raynes’ pass and advanced goalwards but, from a tight angle, shot straight at Ward who made a good blocking save. At the other end, Josh McQuoid turned adeptly inside the home box, only to under hit his shot, allowing Wiles-Richards to make a routine save low down.
Weymouth continued to keep their share of the ball and, on 50 minutes, Tom Whelan’s corner from the left picked out McCarthy on the edge of the box, whose shot looped into the air and was held under the crossbar by Wiles-Richards.
Ryan Brunt replaced Mann in the 61st minute and was immediately involved in the game. However, his volleyed attempt from outside the box passed harmlessly wide of Ward’s post. A minute later McCarthy tried his luck with a free kick from 35 yards out, but his effort proved over optimistic and it rolled gently wide of Wiles-Richards’ goal. Whelan then turned his man inside the City box on 66 minutes, only to fire wide of the near post.
Noah Chilvers made way for Tom Richards after 71 minutes and, two minutes later, The Romans came agonisingly close to taking the lead. Sam Pearson’s cross from the right picked out Brunt, whose downward header struck the foot of the far post, with the striker unable to force the loose ball into the net.
McCarthy produced a tricky run towards the City box in the 74th minute that ended when he tumbled over Raynes’ leg. The referee, Mr. Chris O’Donnell, awarded a dubious free kick to the Terras, but it was the home defender who stayed down with a serious leg injury. There was a few minutes delay whilst the Cityman received medical treatment before leaving the field of play on a stretcher. Alex Hartridge was introduced to the fray as the stricken man’s replacement, and McCarthy struck the resulting free kick well over Wiles-Richards bar.
With nine minutes left on the clock, Whelan directed a shot well wide of the home goal from the edge of the box, but it was the hosts who ended the game in the ascendancy. Smith’s shot following a free-kick from outside the Weymouth area curled narrowly wide of the far post through a crowd of players and, deep into the 6 minutes of stoppage time, the same player saw his angled effort from 18 yards pass wide of the target.
The was a very hard earned point for both sides, and a draw was certainly the fairest outcome. Weymouth probably just shaded the honours in terms of possession, but City had the better of the limited chances on offer. Over the two games this season there has been precious little to choose between the teams and there is a distinct possibility that their paths could cross again should they make the play-offs. The biggest worry for Jerry Gill’s men is the injury to Joe Raynes which has come at an unfortunate stage of the season, and it can only be hoped that he makes a full and speedy recovery, and is back in City colours again very soon.
City’s Line-Up: Wiles-Richards, Raynes (Hartridge 77), Riley-Lowe, T Smith, Bowry, Mann (Brunt 61), Martin, Chilvers (Richards 71), Ball (c), Pearson, James. Subs not used: Artus, Simpson.
Scorers: City – none; Weymouth – none
City Bookings: Ball (24), Bowry (69)
Officials: C O’Donnell, S Fudge, M Derrien