Bath City (1) 1 Concord Rangers (1) 2 – FA Trophy 2nd Round Replay – Tuesday 28 January 2020 – Twerton Park
Report from The Bath Chronicle
Bath City’s FA Trophy run was brought to an end at the last as Joel Nouble’s late strike sent Concord Rangers through to the third round. The Romans came out looking for a response after Saturday’s shock 7-0 defeat at Wealdstone but conceded the opening goal to Billy Roast’s header. However, they were level by the break courtesy of Ryan Brunt’s penalty. City started the second period well but a depleted squad, including just four subs including keeper Harvey Wiles-Richards and academy player Leo Eglin, began to tire as the match wore on. Jerry Gill’s starting XI showed no changes from the Wealdstone turnover and with Ross Stearn the only man used from the bench, City’s brave efforts were eventually broken by Nouble with two minutes left on the clock. The Romans’ two defeats on the trot have come as something of a surprise following a streak of just one defeat in 19 games.
After a quiet start to the game, the Romans defence keeping close to block out a Kit Elliott shot at close range, it was the visitors that opened the scoring. It was a set-piece that broke the deadlock as Roast squeezed his header past the man on the line. But after the goal City came to life. Noah Chilvers proved a spark with a number of darting runs. The first saw the Colchester United loanee get away from under the noses of three defenders and firing over a cross Concord sliced behind. Brunt had his first effort with a header on goal, unable to generate enough power on a looping cross to beat keeper Chris Haigh. The Rangers stopper had twice looked uncomfortable claiming Connor Riley-Lowe crosses in the early goings and gave away the penalty that levelled the game. Adam Mann won it, beating the offside trap and just edging Haigh to Tom Smith’s flipped ball over the top before having his legs taken out from beneath him by the keeper. Brunt stepped up and emphatically thumped the ball high past Haigh’s right hand. The visiting custodian redeemed himself with two top-notch saves to keep the game level. His first came from a Mann strike, arrowed for the bottom corner until Haigh leapt right and palmed the ball past the post. Moments later he showed off his reflexes to boot, dropping to his other flank to keep out Smith. Concord might have had the lead back had Lamar Reynolds not fluffed his lines ten yards out, following Nouble teasing his way past Alex Hartridge at the byline.
The Romans began the second half well, pressing Rangers back and recycling possession every time the visitors cleared. There was also a well-hit 40-yard effort from Frankie Artus that Haigh watched whistle just wide. And the impressive Sam Pearson – employed in a right wing-back berth – then cut inside from his flank and rifled a left-footed effort past the far post. But Rangers held firm and pushed their way back into the match, the City defence having to scramble in another block to keep out Henry Woods, after Bowry had to awkwardly clear a teasing Nouble cross to the edge of the box. Gill’s evening was not helped when Riley-Lowe was forced off injured and Mann had to take over at left wing-back. A triple chance for the Romans saw Smith whiff on his first effort before firing his second immediately into a defender. The ball ran for Brunt, who couldn’t squeeze the ball past Haigh from a tight angle. And a sloppy pass in midfield from Smith led to Concord’s winner, Nouble played through and coolly slipping his finish past Clarke. In the immediate aftermath of the goal came the rare sight of Kreshnic Kasniqi – already subbed off just before the hour – shown a second yellow card following a fracas in the City technical area, with both managers also ending up in the book. The Romans pushed for a late leveler amid five minutes of added time, Hartridge hurling a couple of long throws into the box and Clarke going up for a corner, but they could not force extra time.
City return to league action on Saturday for that trip to Dorking Wanderers, having slipped to fifth in the table following Weymouth’s midweek win at Hemel Hempstead. But with Dorking next best in the division, victory would allow the Romans to add further daylight to their six-point advantage over the Surrey outfit.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Riley-Lowe (Stearn 55), T Smith, Bowry, Artus, Mann, Chilvers, Brunt, Ball, Pearson, Hartridge. Subs not used: Wiles-Richards, Simpson, Eglin.
Scorers: City – Brunt (pen 24); Concord – Roast (15), Nouble (88)
City Bookings: Bowry (80)
Officials: S Jackson, D O’Shea, R Cox