Bath City (2) 2 Havant & Waterlooville (1) 2 – Vanarama National League South – Tuesday 19 January 2021 – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman
Ryan Clarke saved a second half penalty as Bath City bounced back from Saturday’s FA Trophy exit to deservedly beat Havant & Waterlooville on Tuesday night.
The recalled goalkeeper was harshly adjudged to have upended Danny Kedwell on the hour, but justice was done when he easily saved Bedsente Gomis’ woeful spot-kick.
By then all three goals of the match had been scored – City flew out the blocks with Tom Mehew and Tom Smith netting inside 17 minutes, the latter created by debutant Alex Fletcher.
Roarie Deacon pulled one back on the half hour but despite a lot of the ball in the second half, the Hawks could not break through a determined Bath City backline.
Jerry Gill made five changes for the visit of a Havant side who strolled to victory at Twerton Park in October in the FA Cup.
The visitors were immediately on the backfoot and City pressed home their dominance with an 8th minute opener.
Freddie Grant’s diagonal ball evaded Sam Magri, whose slip was fatal as it put Mehew clean through to confidently side-foot past Ross Worner from 12 yards.
It was doubled nine minutes later. Fletcher was initially thwarted by Moussa Diarra before drilling it across from the byline where it was met by Smith at the back post, who gleefully tapped in.
Paul Doswell changed his side’s shape midway through the half with Godfrey Poku on for Benny Read, and it had an effect as their first shot on goal halved the deficit.
Deacon was given space 25 yards out and his rasping drive flew past the outstretched Clarke.
Worner was equal to Fletcher’s drilled shot after the forward was well picked out by Jason Pope just before the interval.
When the players left the field, Hawks boss Doswell had a quiet word with the officials, and it perhaps had an influence as they were awarded a controversial penalty on the hour.
Kedwell inexplicably prodded wide from six yards with just Clarke to beat, but the goalkeeper’s momentum forced him to collide with the big striker long after the ball had gone wide.
There was further surprise as Kedwell opted out of taking the kick having scored five from six last season, and instead Gomis’ stuttering run-up preceded a weak penalty to Clarke’s left which he easily gathered.
Josh Taylor fired just over as Havant continued to press with Lloyd James rubber-stamping a terrific performance with a brave block late to deny Tommy Wright.
Fletcher was denied by the legs of Worner before the City defence were forced to put their bodies on the line through nine minutes of added time and were relived to see a last-gasp penalty appeal waved away.
The team effort made the result justified and went a long way to wipe away memories of Saturday’s loss.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Grant, Smith, Batten, Ball, James, Conway, Pope, Owers, Fletcher, Mehew (Richards 72). Subs not used: Henry, Evans, Harley, Watts.
Scorers: City – Mehew (8), Smith (17); Havant – Deacon (30)
City Bookings: Clarke (60), Pope (73), Owers (77), Smith (90), Conway (90+4), Batten (90+7)
Officials: G Rollason, L Benn, T Holden