Bath City (1) 2 Havant & Waterlooville (0) 0 – Saturday 2 September 2023 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Scott Wilson made it five goals in three games as his double downed struggling Havant & Waterlooville and took City to top spot.
It was also his fifth in three against the Hawks, who have now won only twice in 23 since defeat at Twerton back in February.
Defeat for Worthing and a draw for Chelmsford saw City leapfrog both, hitting the summit of National League South for the first time since August 2019.
Another determined defensive display clinched a second successive clean sheet with Kieran Parselle and Jordan Dyer imperious in the Romans backline.
Both centre-backs were involved in an 10th minute opener. Ewan Clark’s wicked free-kick was headed towards goal by Parselle but somehow clawed out by Ross Worner. Dyer miscued the rebound onto the post but fortunately Wilson was nearby to make no mistake and side-foot home from close range.
Brendan Willson was well-placed to slide and block Jordan Thomas’ goalbound effort before Roarie Deacon’s daisy-cutter on 40 minutes was placed narrowly wide with Ollie Wright at full-stretch.
Clark’s dink to the back post was headed over by Cody Cooke before Havant created the final chance of the half, Tom Blair’s teasing ball across the box just evaded Billie Busari in a crowded penalty area.
Wilson should have made it two soon after the break when he brushed aside Brendan Willson on halfway and burst clear but Worner flung himself to his left to parry behind. Parselle headed inches wide from Clark’s resulting corner.
After James Roberts curled a free-kick over and Busari worked space in the box before being thwarted by Ollie Wright, a defensive blunder at the other end gifted City a second.
Willson’s tame back-pass was latched onto by Wilson, who calmly rounded Worner and stroked into the empty net.
Five minutes later Roberts attempted to poke past Wright at his near post but the keeper reacted well and parried behind.
Joe Raynes was left unmarked from a corner but saw his header deflected behind by the well-placed Willson as Havant appeared to lose belief that a comeback was on.
Worner’s fingertips denied substitute Elliott Frear late on before City’s defence stood firm when needed to, a crunching tackle by Dyer on Mo Faal on the edge of the box exemplifying their toughness and determination to record a shut-out.
Their goalscoring hasn’t gone unnoticed either – this was the 10th consecutive game where the Romans netted at least two for the first time since November 1961-February 1962.
It’s been a fine start.
City’s Line-Up: Wright, Raynes, Greenslade, Dyer, Parselle (c), Cooke, Smith, Clark, Thomas (Hayfield 83), Wilson (Frear 78), Russe. Subs not used: Fletcher, Forster, Lines.
Scorers: City – Wilson (10, 60); Havant – none
City Bookings: Hayfield (90+2)
Officials: H Warner, E Haddrell, J Tewson