Bath City (1) 3 Hampton & Richmond Borough (0) 0 – Vanarama National League South – Tuesday 3 September 2019 – Twerton Park
Bath City’s four match winless run ended with a fourth successive victory against Hampton & Richmond Borough. Ryan Brunt bagged a brace on his recall, with Tom Smith wrapping up the win late on. Debutant Owura Edwards also caught the eye. Brother of former winger Opi, Edwards junior possesses the directness and fearlessness of his elder sibling, with Hampton defenders needing to be at their best to contain the loanee.
The visitors went into the match having scored in every game this season, and nearly kept that statistic running early on when Danilo Orsi-Dadomo jinked into the box but dragged his shot too close to Ryan Clarke. Dan Rooney gave Laurie Walker his first test, a stinging shot at the custodian’s near post which was well parried. City took the lead on 17 minutes. Edwards’ cross was controlled by Brunt, who went down under pressure from Brad Pearce near the penalty spot. A penalty was awarded, and Brunt, without a goal since January, slammed it just inside Walker’s right post, the keeper getting a hand on the ball but unable to keep it out. Referee Robert Massey-Ellis was kept busy with another couple of justifiable penalty shouts at the other end, both involving Ryan Hill. The tricky midfielder was clearly felled after a mazy run, but the debate from the visitors was that it was inside the area. A free-kick was awarded and Hill stung Clarke’s palms, who showed sharp reflexes to deny Ruaridh Donaldson with the follow-up. Frankie Artus, Joe Raynes, on his 50th league start, and Edwards all saw openings come and go, before Hill was again pleading for a penalty in a near identical foul to his previous incident. Again a free-kick was the decision, this time hitting the wall.
Bath reverted to a back four in the second half, which helped nullify the visitors’ threat, who looked way off the pace after the interval, whereas the Romans got into their stride. Matt Bower, impressing in his recall, headed Connor Riley-Lowe’s precise free-kick over, before a second arrived on 71 minutes. Smith found space on the right to produce the perfect centre for Brunt, who timed his run perfectly to whack the ball home from six yards past the helpless Walker. Orsi-Dadomo showed some rare attacking intent for Hampton with a weaving run which was eventually smuggled by Clarke at his near post, but their hopes of a nervy finale were extinguished as Bath notched their third in eight minutes left. It was Smith with it, a crisp strike from 20 yards, low and out of Walker’s reach, his third goal in five at home this term. It capped off a fine evening’s work for City. Though Billericay Town are likely to pose a sterner test on Saturday, the big spending Essex outfit will expect a tough challenge if Jerry Gill’s side replicate this promising performance.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Raynes, Riley-Lowe, T Smith, Artus (Richards 53), Brunt (Mann 76), Rooney (Stearn 71), Bower, Edwards, Hartridge, Hamblin. Subs not used: Watkins, Wiles-Richards.
Scorers: City – Brunt (pen 17, 71), T Smith (82); Hampton – none.
City Bookings: Bower (68)
Officials: R Massey-Ellis, A Berrow, T Staten