Bath City (1) 3 Lewes FC (0) 0 – FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round – Saturday 6 October 2018 – Twerton Park
Bath City moved to within one step of a return to the FA Cup first round proper as they saw off lower-league Lewes with little fuss. The Sussex visitors did little to trouble City in the first half, which ended with Ryan Brunt, one second before the 45 minutes were up, giving his side a lead they just about deserved. Adam Mann doubled that advantage early in the second half and if the game wasn’t beyond doubt at that point, Tom Smith’s third with 20 minutes to go certainly killed off any comeback hopes. That sealed progress to Monday’s fourth qualifying round draw, set to be held live on TalkSport 2, and sealed a £15,000 cash boost for good measure.
The first period was a particularly tight affair, though the Romans edged it in terms of possession. They created the more chances too, with visiting keeper Lewis Carey drawn into a couple of tidy saves. His first came when Ross Stearn let fly from the edge of the box, tipping over the bar. Hearts were in mouths when Smith laid a weak backpass for Ryan Clarke, who saved his midfielder’s skin sliding in to challenge Marcus Elliott as he reached the ball. Two more presentable chances came and went for City in a good spell of play. Brunt was blocked at source trying to sweep a low cross into the bottom corner, before the hosts recycled possession and sent a deep ball to the far post, where Mann shot across goal. There were some promising moments for Lewes, including Ronnie Conlon driving at the City backline, only to scuff his shot into a defender’s legs. Neat Romans build-up laid on another chance for Stearn. Joe Raynes – back in central midfield owing to City’s injury issues – took control at the edge of the box and left the ball for on-running Stearn to smack an effort low but straight at Carey. However, the hosts had to survive a two-on-two Lewes counter ahead of the interval. Dan Darbyshire fluffed his lines with the initial effort, laid back to him by Elliott, before Omarr Lawson failed to find the target with a header as Lewes whipped the ball back in. Clarke then made a magnificent one-handed stop to keep out Lawson’s curler, otherwise destined for the top corner; the home custodian throwing his left palm up to claw the ball behind. And almost on the stroke of half-time the lead was City’s as Stearn gunned down the left and crossed in for Brunt to convert in the six-yard box.
Now chasing the game, Lewes were the first to go for goal after the interval through Conlon, whose shot was no trouble for Clarke to deal with. But that early show of promise was not maintained as the Romans controlled much of the play.
After Raynes struck a low effort that was easily saved by Carey, they eventually got their second goal. It was Mann on the scoresheet this time, forcefully running through the middle and striking into the bottom corner. They continued to come forward in seach of a killer third. Artus hooked one over the top, having taken a Raynes knock-down with his back to goal, while Mann shot over in a chance similar to his goal. Smith also cleared the bar following a neat Brunt backheel, before the striker was lined up with a chance of his own. Brunt got on the end of a left-wing cross but saw his downward header somehow kept out by Carey’s feet at the near post. The Romans’ leading scorer also hammered a volley over the bar from close in. But the contest was killed off once and for all when Jack Batten played in Smith to finish through the keeper’s legs. There were other chances as the game drew to a close, Stearn reasing a defender and hitting wide, and substitute John Mills placing one over among them, but 3-0 was how it would finish.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke, Straker (c), Batten, Artus, Brunt (Mills 77), Stearn, Mann, Cundy, Raynes, Smith, Efete. Subs not used: Amankwaah, Richards, Ball, Hodges.
Scorers: City – Brunt (45), Mann (51), Smith (71); Lewes – none
City Bookings: none
Officials: S Jackson, S Kane, D Campbell