Bath City (0) 2 Worthing (0) 2 – Thursday 29 December 2022 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Sonny Cox’s brace wasn’t enough as Bath City were made to pay the penalty against Worthing.
The Exeter loanee scored twice in six minutes after Ollie Pearce had fired the visitors ahead.
Cox won a penalty with eight minutes remaining but Scott Wilson blasted his kick against the underside of the bar with Harrison Male well beaten.
It proved decisive as substitute Ollie Starkey marked his first outing of the season with his maiden Worthing goal in added time to deflate Jerry Gill’s side.
Callum Kealy and Ibby Akanbi missed golden openings early for Worthing in their first ever meeting against the Romans prior to Dan Greenslade’s tricky cross being nodded wide by Wilson.
Cox was denied by Joel Colbran on the line after the visitors failed to fully clear an Elliott Frear corner, before the Worthing wing-back proved a threat at the other end as he and Kealy were denied by a combination of goalkeeper Josh Gould and defender Jack Batten on the line.
The second half saw Adam Hinshelwood’s men enjoy more possession in the early stages and had penalty appeals turned down when James Morton clattered into the back of Pearce.
A free-kick on the edge of the box was awarded instead and after Pearce’s strike rebounded off the wall, he reacted sharply to drive home from 15 yards.
It took just three minutes for the Romans to reply. Greenslade’s perfectly weighted ball over the top was superbly chested down by Cox who rounded Male and slotted home, making a difficult opening look simple.
Dan Hayfield couldn’t get enough purchase on Morton’s incisive through ball as Male denied him, but the keeper was helpless as City took a 63rd minute lead.
Cox’s attempt from the edge of the box took a huge deflection off former Bath defender Dan Bowry and wrong-footed the desperately scrambling Male before nestling into the net.
Gould denied Akanbi before Kealy spooned over from six yards after Rueben Livesey-Austin’s nifty footwork created an opening for the Australian forward.
City were awarded a penalty when Bowry caught the pacey Cox as he stole in front of him. Wilson took responsibility but his effort thundered back against the underside of the bar to safety.
The front man volleyed over as Jerry Gill’s side couldn’t find a clincher, and it proved costly as Worthing equalised in the third minute of added time.
Pearce’s free-kick was headed to the back post by Bowry to Starkey who nudged home from a yard out, the substitute having only been on the pitch eight minutes.
The result allowed Worthing to sneak into the play-off places while City remain in 11th at the halfway point of their campaign, though without a league win in six since the enforced absences of star strikers Cody Cooke and Alex Fletcher.
City’s Line-Up: Gould, Greenslade, Dyer, Batten, Parselle (c), Hayfield, Frear, Spokes, Wilson, Morton, Cox (Ebanks 88). Subs not used: Clark, Smith, Mannings, Ford.
Scorers – City – Cox (57, 63); Worthing – Pearce (54), Starkey (90+3)
City Bookings: Morton (53), Spokes (73)
Officials: S Read, G Pearce, G Lynch