Bath City (1) 1 Tonbridge Angels (0) 0 – Vanarama National League South – Saturday 30 April 2022 – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Alex Fletcher’s early strike clinched a third successive win for Bath City.
The number seven took just seven minutes to notch his 17th of the season to clinch a pair of 1-0 victories over Tonbridge Angels this term.
Like the August meeting it was an early goal which knocked the stuffing out of the Kent club, whose best chance fell to Ibby Olutade late on.
Aside from that Ryan Clarke was well protected to mark his 40th birthday with a third clean sheet in a row at Twerton Park.
The Romans captain, part of an unchanged line-up for a third match running, hadn’t touched the ball before City took the lead.
After Zak Delaney did well to rob Ricky Modeste, Cody Cooke picked the ball up in midfield and found Tom Smith in room. The midfielder’s reverse ball exposed a horribly staggered backline to leave Fletcher onside, and he kept his balance under pressure from Joe Turner before rolling home from 15 yards across Jon Henly with ease.
Tonbridge reacted well and penned City back with James Taylor’s smart strike from 25 yards too close to Clarke to cause him any difficulty.
Joe Raynes threw himself in the way of Aaron Smith-Joseph’s goalbound effort after Dan Ball’s initial interception thwarted Adam Coombes.
In response Smith looked City’s most creative outlet. His clever ball in behind was latched onto by Fletcher but this time from a tight angle his shot was easily gathered by Henly.
The final opening of the half saw Tom Beere’s ball over the top from right back locate Turner, but his deft lob was simple catching practise for Clarke.
Cooke’s determined run through midfield almost earned his side a second. Having brushed aside Doug Loft, his stinging shot was batted away by Henly, but the keeper reacted well to deny the City striker on the follow-up.
Clarke proved his reflexes haven’t deserted him in his latter years with a fine stop on 64 minutes. Modeste’s superb control and lay-off was met by Taylor’s drilled strike from 20 yards, but the keeper threw himself to his right to parry with Coombes miscuing the rebound.
Substitute Olutade missed a glorious chance to level when the Romans were caught napping from a short corner. Taylor’s cross was perfect for the forward but he guided his diving header wide from six yards.
Fellow new arrival Jake Embery tried his luck with a spectacular overhead kick which flew safely over.
City nearly wrapped it up in added time when Elliott Frear ran relatively unchallenged from one end of the pitch to the other before his low strike bounced inches wide with Henly beaten.
Despite losing Jack Batten to a dead leg in added time the Romans rearguard stood firm to see off a spirited Angels side as their impressive end to the season continued.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Raynes, Delaney, Batten (E Jones 90+5), Fletcher, Holness, Cooke, Smith, Frear, Ball, Sims-Burgess (Seymour 57). Subs not used: Fuller, Richards, R Jones
Scorers: City – Fletcher (7); Tonbridge – none
City Bookings: Holness (54), Fletcher (71), Delaney (74)
Officials: C Scriven, R Saward, O Taylor