Bath City (1) 2 Hemel Hempstead Town (0) 0 – Tuesday 12 March 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park

Bath City (1) 2 Hemel Hempstead Town (0) 0 – Tuesday 12 March 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park

Match Report by Mark Stillman.

Scott Wilson’s first goal of 2024 rubber-stamped a determined three points for 10-man Bath City.

The forward notched his 17th of the campaign midway through the second half, after Jordan Dyer had headed in an early opener.

Tom Smith saw red in added time for a needless second yellow, ruling him out for the trip to Worthing on Sunday 24 March.

It didn’t affect the outcome, meaning a seventh defeat in eight for the Tudors, two in two for interim boss Alan Dowson.

Ewan Clark set the tone early on for City, curling inches wide after just 22 seconds.

It was part of a positive start for the Romans who deservedly went ahead on 16 minutes.

Clark’s free-kick from deep saw keeper Jonathan MacAulay hesitate and Dyer arrived to nod home from six yards, the 450th goal scored in Jerry Gill’s tenure.

Hemel should have equalised soon after when an incisive, quick move led to Michael Folivi one-on-one, but after recalled stopper Will Buse initially hesitated, he did enough to block at his near post.

Wilson hit the inside of the upright on the turn when Elliott Frear’s corner wasn’t cleared, with keeper MacAulay fortunate to land on the loose ball.

In fitting symmetry, the half ended with Clark bending narrowly off target as City went in at the break the happier.

Hemel were forced to show more ambition after the break. They pushed Pierre Fonkeu, one of three debutants, alongside Folivi in attack, but were regularly thwarted by a well-organised backline.

Chris Smith swiped wide from Josh Williams’ free-kick and Folivi was robbed by a superbly timed Joe Raynes interception as he bore down on goal.

The improvement from the visitors forced Gill’s hand as he brought on James Alabi for Ephraim Yeboah.

It proved its worth inside a minute. Kieran Parselle’s booming header from halfway looked set to be easily gathered by MacAulay, but he inexplicably slipped with Alabi nearby.

The forward patiently waited for Wilson and pulled it back from the byline for his strike partner, who lashed into the roof of the net, ending his 14-game drought without a goal which had stretched back to Boxing Day.

Isaac Vassell came on for Frear and showed glimpses of the form which saw him once cost Birmingham £1m. He effortlessly skipped across the byline before crossing back for Wilson who headed wide.

Ed Gyamfi and Tarrelle Whittaker couldn’t convert decent openings for the away side during a niggly closing few stages, which resulted in the Romans being reduced to 10 men.

Tom Smith had just harshly seen yellow for a foul on namesake Chris Smith, but could have no complaints about his second caution, steaming into the same player in a non-dangerous area leaving referee Rob Ablitt little choice but to dismiss him, City’s first red card since the opening day.

They saw out the closing stages to move back into the play-off places ahead of tantalising contests with second placed Chelmsford and Worthing, who sit in third.

Att: 769

City’s Line-Up: Buse, Raynes, Greenslade, Dyer, Parselle (c), Clark, Hayfield, Smith, Frear (Vassell 74), Wilson, Yeboah (Alabi 67). Subs not used: Batten, Casa-Grande.

Scorers: City – Dyer (16), Wilson (68); Hemel – none

City Bookings: Parselle (35), Hayfield (77), Smith (88), Clark (90+5)

City Dismissal: Smith (90+4)

Officials: R Ablitt, O Whiting, J Woolley