Bath City (2) 3 Gloucester City (0) 0 – Vanarama National League South – Tuesday 14 August 2018 – Twerton Park
Bath City secured their second victory of the fledgling season with a comprehensive demolition of Gloucester City at Twerton Park. Two goals from Ryan Brunt before the break, and a second half strike from Ross Stearn, proved more than sufficient to send their West Country neighbours home empty handed.
The hosts began brightly and took the lead with only three minutes on the clock. Anthony Straker delivered an inviting cross from the left, and Brunt rose the highest to plant a firm header into the roof of the net beyond the flailing arms of keeper Matt Yates.
Three minutes later, Stearn cut inside from the left flank, creating a promising position for himself, but then fired wastefully high and wide of the far post. At the other end, Joe Hanks struck an effort from 25 yards, but the ball flew straight into the safe arms of Ryan Clarke.
Brunt was causing problems for the ‘Tigers’ rearguard with his strength, and he burst into the box from the right in the 10th minute, only to direct his volleyed effort wide of the far post.
Thereafter, Gloucester gained the upper hand in terms of possession for a spell but were unable to fashion any clear cut opportunities, or put the home defence under any concerted pressure. Indeed, Bath remained the more dangerous when going forward, and their advantage was doubled on 20 minutes. The influential James Morton slipped the ball into Brunt’s path, and the forward advanced into the area before drilling an angled drive into the far corner of the net.
The Tigers were clearly rattled, and they were relieved to see Adam Mann’s glancing header from Stearn’s left wing cross pass narrowly wide of the far post in the 23rd minute.
Despite the home side’s dominance, Gloucester almost found a way back into the game on 25 minutes, but Adam Page’s rasping shot from close range was expertly beaten away by Clarke. Joe Parker skewed an effort wide of the near post from a useful position, but it was Bath who finished the half in the ascendancy. Stearn was again errant with a shot from inside the box, and Joe Raynes produced a determined run down the right before finding Brunt on the edge of the area, only for the striker to arrow a fierce drive straight into the midriff of the grateful Yates.
Brunt almost added to the scoreline in added time when he burst into the box but, with just Yates to beat, he toe-poked the ball wide of the far post from a tight angle.
The commencement of the second period saw Brunt cause more alarm in the Gloucester defence, which presented Stearn with a further shooting opportunity. However, the wideman fired wide of the target from the edge of the area.
In the 49th minute, Jack Batten produced an excellent diagonal pass to Stearn, who then crossed into the box, where Brunt’s header passed narrowly wide of the far post. Six minutes later saw a rare moment of consternation for the home defence, when Hanks worked his way to the byline, and then saw his cross-shot tipped beyond the far post by Clarke at the expense of a corner.
Frankie Artus replaced Watkins after 57 minutes and, soon after his introduction, the substitute latched on to a ball over the top, before forcing a save low down by Yates. However, Artus made a telling contribution in the 62nd minute when he produced a slide rule pass into the path of Stearn, who found the far corner of the net with his precise shot.
This effectively ended the game as a contest, and Jerry Gill subsequently made two more changes with Matt Richards and John Mills coming on for Sean Rigg and Brunt respectively. Both Artus and Raynes had deflected shots comfortably collected by Yates, but Gloucester’s only attempt came from Jamal Lawrence, and this was well wide of Clarke’s goal.
The final action saw Richards’ free kick into the box met by Batten’s header, which was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Yates.
This was a fully deserved victory for Jerry Gill’s men in front of another encouraging home attendance of 775. They produced some entertaining and flowing football at times, and were too good for a Gloucester side that were never able to seriously threaten Ryan Clarke’s goal. The home faithful will now look forward to Saturday’s encounter with Dulwich Hamlet when they will hope to see another performance of tonight’s calibre. (Report by Kevin Porter)
City’s Line-Up: Clarke, Straker (c), Batten, Watkins (Artus 57), Rigg (Richards 67), Brunt (Mills 69), Stearn, Mann, Cundy, Raynes, Morton. Subs not used: Ball, Hodges.
Scorers: City – Brunt (3, 20), Stearn (62); Gloucester – none
City Bookings: none
Officials: M Russell, S Mansfield, J Clench