Bath City (0) 2 Welling United (0) 1 – Saturday 6 November 2021 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman
Bath City recorded their first league win in nearly two months in an entertaining clash with Welling United.
Second half goals from Elliott Frear and Alex Fletcher saw off the side managed by former England caretaker manager Peter Taylor.
Arthur Penney’s header in the last attack of the game proved consolation for the Wings, who also saw Aaron Barnes have a goal disallowed for a blatant handball.
The victory ended City’s run of four defeats in a row in all competitions and they were good value for their three points.
In truth they could have wrapped the game up inside 15 minutes. Tom Mehew, on his second debut, threaded the ball through to Fletcher whose shot across goal was blocked on the line by Maxwell Statham into the grateful hands of Jack Sims.
Debutant Zak Delaney created the next opening. The left-back on loan from West Bromwich Albion kept his balance despite Barnes’ attempt to pull him back, before his centre was wastefully mis-hit wide by Omar Holness from eight yards.
Penney’s vital intervention prevented a tap-in for Cody Cooke and from Frear’s resulting corner Fletcher and Cooke both headed against the bar before Welling scrambled it away.
Defensively Bath looked far more assured than in recent weeks with Jordan Dyer, on loan from Exeter, another new addition to the starting XI. Barnes’ cross-shot was batted away by Ryan Clarke in a rare first half opening for the visitors, whose cautious approach was a surprise against the out-of-form Romans.
In fairness they rarely looked like conceding either with Penney’s important block from Mehew’s effort the only notable opening for Jerry Gill’s men until they made a breakthrough on 64 minutes.
Joe Raynes’ outswinging corner somehow bypassed a packed penalty area and arrived at the feet of Frear, whose arrowing drive from 16 yards flew low inside Sims’ left post.
Welling almost immediately made a double substitution and suddenly perked up, throwing bodies forward and requiring a stubborn resistance from the young Bath City backline, 19-year-old Callum Wood once again shining with the other three not far behind.
The away side had a 76th minute effort ruled out with Kristian Campbell’s hammered cross was foolishly handled in by Barnes, though the yellow card appeared to be issued to Daniel Carr who had similarly tried to punch the ball home in desperation.
The well protected Clarke was focussed to tip away two Campbell strikes before City made the game safe with five minutes of normal time left. Substitute Tom Smith scampered down the right from Raynes’ pass, crossed to Fletcher who cut inside and sumptuously bent the ball into the top corner from inside the penalty area past a helpless Sims.
Welling at least went home with a goal to their name when Che Krabbendam’s dangerous free-kick was glanced in via the head of Penney, notching his first goal for the Wings.
Fortunately there was barely enough time to restart meaning City didn’t endure any further scares to secure their first home win in the league since the opening match of the season.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Raynes, Delaney, Wood, Fletcher, Holness (Richards 86), Cooke, Frear, Mehew (Smith 70), Owers (James 88), Dyer. Subs not used: Batten, Wilkinson.
Scorers: City – Frear (64), Fletcher (85); Welling – Penny (90+5)
City Bookings: Wood (61), Delaney (90+5)
Officials: R Watkins, J Clench, T Staten