Bath City (2) 3 Aveley (0) 0 – Saturday 11 November 2023 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park
Match report by Mark Stillman.
Cody Cooke’s hat-trick saw Bath City overcome surprise package Aveley in front of nearly 2,000 spectators at Twerton Park.
The forward’s second treble for the Romans saw his side collect three superb points against the Essex outfit, who had won their previous four.
Aveley ended with 10 men with Jason Ring picking up his second red card this season.
His handball on the line allowed Cooke to complete his hat-trick from the spot in added time.
A flying start effectively sealed the contest inside 11 minutes. Jordan Thomas’ first involvement saw his shot uncomfortably shovelled around the post by Jonathan North and from Thomas’ corner, Cooke escaped at the near post to cleverly half-volley home from six yards.
Thomas swiftly instigated a second for City. Having linked up with Scott Wilson down the right, the winger went around the outside of Eduino Vaz before the full-back’s lazy tackle saw him upend the City man in the box for a stonewall penalty.
Cooke stepped up and calmly stroked into the bottom right corner to double his own and his team’s tally.
While comfortably soaking up attacks from the visitors, Aveley were largely restricted to half-chances.
Nana Kyei curled wide from 25 yards after Garrett Kelly had won the ball back from Luke Russe before Ikechi Eze, brother of Crystal Palace and England’s Eberechi, volleyed wildly over in the final minute of the half.
The second half started in the same vein with City largely comfortable as the visitors looked short of inspiration in trying to break them down.
Their task almost became harder on 64 minutes when Wilson span and shot home from 12 yards but referee Tom Ellsmore disallowed it for an apparent handball by Cooke in the build-up.
Ewan Clark replaced Elliott Frear 10 minutes later and made an early impression when he stormed past Ring before squaring to Wilson whose dab towards goal was kept out by North, who reacted quickly to parry Dan Hayfield on the rebound.
It was proving to be an unlucky day for the league’s top scorer Wilson. He uncharacteristically blazed miles over from Cooke’s reverse ball and had a second goal chalked off in the 90th minute.
Thomas’ driving run and shot was beaten away by North, Hayfield’s follow-up was blocked on the line by the hand of Ring and as Wilson was tapping in, the whistle had blown for a second penalty and marching orders for the Millers full-back, his second dismissal this season – both for the same offence.
It mattered not as Cooke sent North the wrong way again, completing his second hat-trick in City colours, North on the receiving end both times having been between the sticks three times for Slough last year.
It concluded a fine performance by the Romans to move them within one point of Danny Scopes’ men, who suffered a rare hiccup in an otherwise bright maiden season at this level. As for seasoned campaigners Bath City, they continue to purr and would have won over many first time followers on a record breaking Foundation and Family Day crowd.
City’s Line-Up: Buse, Greenslade, Dyer, Batten, Parselle (c), Hayfield, Cooke, Frear (Clark 74), Thomas, Wilson, Russe. Subs not used: Raynes, Smith, Lines, Morgan.
Scorers: City – Cooke (7, pen 11, pen 90); Aveley – none
City Bookings: Batten (88)
Officials: T Ellesmore, C Hubbard, J Welsh