Bath City (0) 1 Whitehawk (1) 1 – Saturday 17 February 2018 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park
Andy Watkins rescued a point for Bath City against bottom-of-the-table Whitehawk in an engrossing finish. Yannis Ambroisine had the Hawks ahead midway through a first period that saw Jack Compton spurn a first-half penalty with a tame spot kick repelled by keeper Dan Wilks. City survived a scare when Nathaniel Pinney hit the bar shortly after the break and went on to press hard for a point in the dying minutes. Zach Fagan’s dismissal had the visitors down to ten men, but it wasn’t until stoppage time that Watkins popped up to head home. And City weren’t done there, though a late winner in six added minutes would not come their way
For the most part the first period was a listless affair. The hosts started positively without actually creating much in the way of opportunities, before the Hawks began to get a foothold on the game. A large, physical team, the visitors stymied City’s passing game. They pushed up on Luke Southwood’s goal kicks to put on immediate pressure and shut down any space in midfield as the Romans struggled to reliably build in the final third. There were a few early set-pieces for Bath to try their luck, the most dangerous a training-ground move that ended in Miles Welch-Hayes flashing a cross across the face of goal. Nat Jarvis had the first shot of the day, blazing a left-footed strike into the Bristol End having barrelled his way through midfield. It was a rare opening as Whitehawk began to press themselves with a strong period. Jack Batten had to rescue City when he hooked a lobbed Elliot Benyon header off the line with Southwood stranded beneath. Eventually the Hawks went ahead when Anthony Straker gave up a free-kick to the right of the box. Sam Chaney swung it in hard and flat, where swivelling centre-half Ambroisine volleyed emphatically home. City resettled after a while and went in search of a leveller. Tom Smith passed up an opportunity when he raced on to a kind bounce and shot straight into the hands of Wilks. He was then involved when the Romans broke from a Hawks corner, cutting the ball back for James Morton to spoon wide. Wilks was called into action again for the penalty, given for Kodi Lyons-Foster’s rash challenge on Compton, despite loud protests from the away side. The keeper would bail out Lyons-Foster however, as Compton’s spot kick was too low and too weak as Wilks dropped left to make the stop.
City were lucky not to be two behind come the second half when a Benyon cross found its way over Welch-Hayes and the waiting Pinney volleyed against the crossbar from six yards. Ramone Rose also shot at Southwood having won possession off Straker, as the visitors’ continued pressing paid off. Watkins was introduced for Jarvis from the bench and almost immediately found himself at the byline, but was unable to find a team-mate with a cross. He then chased down a bouncing ball and hooked a desperate cross in which Wilks was forced to tip away from his goal. The closing stages were at times frenzied. Southwood and Batten kept out Pinney at the corner of the six-yard box, while a scramble in the Whitehawk box came to nothing. Gamesmanship from the visitors also bled time away as both Rose and Benyon required lengthy attention after going down off the ball and their substitutes strolled off at a leisurely pace. Watkins turned down two passing options on another dart into the penalty area, only to fire his own effort over the top. City were given a helping hand when substitute Fagan was shown a second yellow for a foul on Straker, in the act of shooting, at the edge of the box. Stearn beat the free-kick into the wall and Compton sent the rebound off target. Wilks almost gave up the equaliser on a platter twice when dropping a Stearn cross and then miscontrolling a backpass that came perilously close to rolling over his own line. Finally the leveller arrived when Compton teased his full-back on the right yet again and chipped up a cross that Watkins headed in off the far post. That came in the 91st minute, but there was still time for City to pour forward in search of victory. Wilks continued a nervy display with a loose punch and poor kick, but the best Romans chance came when Compton was played through, yet unable to beat the travelling stopper.
City’s Line-Up: Southwood, Welch-Hayes, Straker (c), Artus (Semenyo 85), Batten, Ball, S Rigg (Stearn 73), Morton, Jarvis (Watkins 54), Compton, Smith. Subs not used: Amankwaah, Hodges.
Scorers: City – Watkins (90+2); Whitehawk – (Ambroisine 23)
City Bookings – none
Officials: B Cooke, M Perry, L Sandoe