Bath City (1) 2 Eastbourne Borough (0) 0 – Saturday 7 January 2023 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Sublime finishing from James Morton and Dan Greenslade got Bath City’s 2023 at Twerton Park off to a winning start.
Both netted their first league goals since February 2019 as the Romans completed a league double over a mediocre Eastbourne Borough.
The Sports were shorn of attacking intent with leading marksman Jake Hutchinson returning to parent club Colchester United in the week.
It meant Max Harris enjoyed a comfortable debut in goal for City who made it back-to-back clean sheets and three unbeaten.
Harris was the only change to Sunday’s draw at Chippenham with fellow new loan signing Olly Thomas starting on the bench.
Boro’ were forced into four alterations from a New Year’s Day loss at home to Havant but they started well with Charlie Walker inches away from opening the scoring. The captain’s glancing header from James Hammond’s corner landed just wide of Harris’ left post.
City posed a threat from their first corner on 13 minutes. Elliott Frear’s floated delivery to the back post was headed back across goal by Jordan Dyer but Kieran Parselle nodded over from six yards.
The hosts took a 35th minute lead. Jack Burchell’s clearance from the back was easily intercepted and Dan Hayfield knocked it inside to Morton. With space to run into, the midfielder took full advantage with a left-footed curler from 25 yards – just his second goal in 71 appearances for the Stripes.
Eastbourne replicated their strong first half start in the second. Kai Innocent’s disguised pass found Shiloh Remy wide of goal, he intelligently played it back and after Greenslade failed to fully clear, Bradley Barry lashed wide from just inside the penalty area.
Remy’s shot was charged down with Jack Batten’s bravery denying Leone Gravata on the rebound, typifying the Romans’ resilience against the play-off contenders.
Hayfield was denied by the legs of experienced keeper Lee Worgan on the hour and Scott Wilson’s effort was deflected narrowly wide after terrific build-up play from Bath.
Greg Luer wasted the best opening for the away side. He initially did well to control Hammond’s ball over the top but shot too close to Harris who stood tall and kept his clean sheet intact.
Thomas was introduced for Cox and instantly won over the Twerton faithful with a cheeky nutmeg on Mitch Dickenson before the covering Burchell halted a route on goal.
There was no such prevention for City’s second on 78 minutes. Luke Spokes touched the ball to Greenslade who from 30 yards out rocketed a shot into the top left corner to net his first goal for the club in splendid fashion.
Thomas should have made it 3-0 five minutes later. Wilson’s crossfield ball was missed by Innocent leaving the substitute through on goal but he tamely shot against the feet of Worgan.
Wilson smashed a shot too close to Worgan almost immediately after as Eastbourne found themselves on the back foot, with Hammond’s late free-kick harmlessly dropping wide in a rare moment of excitement for their fans in the second half.
Instead they were left to sulk for the 180-mile trip home as the majority of the 1,079 crowd went home the happier with Jerry Gill’s side clinching their first home league win since late-October.
City’s Line-Up: Harris, Greenslade, Dyer, Batten, Parselle, Hayfield, Frear (Mannings 88), Spokes, Wilson, Morton, Cox (Thomas 66). Subs not used: Smith, Clarke, Lines.
Scorers: City – Morton (35), Greenslade (78); Borough – none
City Bookings: Thomas (87)
Officials: S Elson, J Gould, J Long