Bath City (1) 1 Weymouth (0) 1 – Friday 29 March 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park

Bath City (1) 1 Weymouth (0) 1 – Friday 29 March 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park

Match Report by Mark Stillman.

Joe Raynes’ first goal in 127 games wasn’t enough as Bath City were held by Weymouth.

The defender opened the scoring, prodding past his cousin Harvey Wiles-Richards to end a four-year drought.

Weymouth levelled through Ezio Touray, four minutes following his introduction, as the managerless Terras improved after the break.

They should have stolen the win late but Joel Rollinson inexplicably side-footed wide from six yards, letting the Romans off the hook.

Former City goalkeeper Jason Matthews was handed the Weymouth job on an interim basis after Bobby Wilkinson’s shock departure by mutual consent two days previous.

His team looked focused enough early on, not giving much away, with Cody Cooke’s header from Ewan Clark’s deep cross their only scare in the opening stages.

This chance perked City up and they broke the deadlock on 22 minutes.

After sustained pressure, Jack Bates’ crossfield ball was helped back across by Tom Smith to Scott Wilson, who looked set for a tap-in but was beaten to it by the gleeful Raynes, his first goal since December 2019.

Harry Parsons’ speculative chip was lofted well over Will Buse’s goal and Brandon Goodship was denied by the sprawling Duncan Idehen as Weymouth mustered up a few openings in a scrappy half on a tricky surface.

The start of the second half saw the Romans produce their best spell of the game.

Wilson curled just wide after cutting inside of Corey Panter before Smith missed a glorious opening on 51 minutes.

Raynes’ ball from the right was left by Cooke to allow Smith a run on goal. With Wiles-Richards already grounded, the midfielder shot too close to him from 18 yards, shooting against the former City stopper’s left arm.

Smith volleyed inches over after Raynes’ long throw was only half cleared.

Buse was equal to his first test, tipping Charlie Rowan’s piledriver over, and was grateful to see Dan Roberts blaze wastefully off target after Parsons intercepted Jordan Dyer’s lapse pass.

The momentum continued to build in Weymouth’s favour with Buse, nursing a sore shoulder following an earlier knock, gloving Parsons’ 25-yarder away.

A deserved leveller arrived on 79 minutes. Leo Hamblin drilled a pass into Touray’s path, who took a touch and expertly hooked the ball over Buse from an acute angle, his 13th goal of the season, four from the bench.

His fellow substitute Rollinson wasn’t as clinical, putting in a contender for Miss of the Season in the dying stages.

Parsons’ stinging shot cannoned off Dyer to Rollinson, playing him onside, but having composed himself he shinned wide from six yards with Buse stranded.

Dyer’s vital interception on Touray prevented him a second in a thrilling conclusion which ended with neither side finding an elusive winner.

Att: 1945

City’s Line-Up: Buse, Raynes (c), Greenslade, Dyer, Clark (Vassell 74), Hayfield, Cooke, Smith, Idehen, Wilson (Alabi 87), Bates (Frear 63). Subs not used: Batten, Sweeten.

Scorers: City – Raynes (22); Weymouth – Touray (79)

City Bookings: Wilson (36), Vassell (as sub) (60), Bates (62)

Officials: P Eddie, J Gould, A Glanville