Bath City (0) 1 St Albans City (2) 3 – Saturday 18 March 2023 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
St Albans continued their recent stranglehold over Bath City, whose late revival wasn’t enough.
Chay Cooper and Zane Banton put the visitors on course for an 11th away win this term inside the opening half hour.
Sonny Cox pulled one back and Dan Greenslade had a header harshly ruled out for offside when he nodded home the returning Opi Edwards’ free-kick.
Mitchell Weiss wrapped up the Saints’ success in stoppage time to claim their fifth successive win over City and fourth in a row at Twerton Park.
Their first attack led to the opening goal. Callum Adebiyi’s long ball was flicked on by Shaun Jeffers to Banton who snuck in front of Jordan Dyer before unselfishly squaring to Cooper, who easily fired home under Max Harris from close range.
The second goal on 27 minutes was avoidable. Kyran Wiltshire’s lofted cross saw Harris attempt to fist away, but in doing so he floored Greenslade and it bounced favourably to Banton who effortlessly lofted home from 14 yards.
City’s best opening of the half arrived just after the half hour. Cody Cooke did well to find Scott Wilson in room down the right, he sprinted past Riccardo Di Trolio and drilled across goal only to see the ball thump off the bottom of the post and out to safety.
St Albans followed suit just before the break when Devante Stanley’s quick throw was pounced upon by Cooper, his low centre saw Jeffers shoot too close to Harris who spilt, but the 25-goal front man could only find the upright with his rebound.
Having already replaced an out-of-sorts Tom Smith in the first half with Cox in a tactical swap, Jerry Gill brought on Luke Spokes for Chris Lines at the break before re-introducing Edwards on the hour for Dan Hayfield to begin a second spell having represented the Romans on loan in 2017/18.
Cooper nearly made it three when a driving run from the excellent Banton preceded a through ball which the forward poked agonisingly wide of Harris’ right post.
City pulled one back on 64 minutes. Having won a corner largely by Edwards’ inventiveness, Elliott Frear’s delivery was neatly swept home on the volley by Cox from six yards.
The usually lethal Jeffers wastefully shot straight at Harris from goalkeeper Dylan Berry’s free-kick and this seemed to perk up the hosts who surprisingly found more energy despite the recent heavy load of fixtures with a small squad.
Wilson nodded over from four yards when Dyer’s flick cannoned into him before another header proved a major talking point with four minutes remaining.
Edwards’ pinpoint delivery was met by the forehead of Greenslade but assistant Martin Underhay signalled for offside when replays proved it to be an incorrect call in St Albans’ favour.
Substitute Joe Neal had already squandered two openings for the Saints but fellow replacement Weiss made no mistake with a well-finished third.
Tafari Moore exploited fatigue in the Bath backline and his cross from the left was confidently side-footed in the far corner on the volley, only Weiss’ second goal since scoring against City back in November to help the Hertfordshire outfit leapfrog Gill’s side in the table on goal difference.
City’s Line-Up: Harris, Greenslade, Dyer, Batten (c), Hayfield (Edwards 59), Cooke, Smith (Cox 40), Frear, Lines (Spokes HT), Wilson, Morton. Subs not used: Clarke, Minzamba.
Scorers: City – Cox (64); St Albans – Cooper (8), Banton (27), Weiss (90+4)
City Bookings: none
Officials: Aaron Farmer, Martin Underhay, James Hooper