Bath City (2) 4 Welling United (0) 0 – Saturday 23 December 2023 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Bath City produced a pre-Christmas treat against a struggling Welling United side who suffered their biggest ever defeat at Twerton Park.
With twice former PDC World Champion Gary Anderson in attendance, City checked out of their home in 2023 with a resounding win, scoring twice in each half against the hapless Wings.
Scott Wilson and Jordan Thomas recorded their first league goals since 7 November, with Dan Hayfield and Cody Cooke chipping in after the break.
The recalled Elliott Frear had a hand in the first three as the Wings couldn’t get to grips with the attacking menace shown from Jerry Gill’s side.
Welling arrived at Twerton with the worst away defensive record in the league but didn’t look perturbed in the opening 10 minutes, knocking the ball around comfortably albeit without much attacking threat.
In response, City had the penetration required to keep the crowd on their feet. Thomas’ trademark cut inside and shot was well beaten away by Reice Charles-Cook and the winger was involved in the opener midway through the first half.
Having initially led the charge on the counter, Thomas’ work led to the ball finding Frear wide left in space.
His pinpoint centre was superbly directed home via the head of Scott Wilson, glancing in his 15th goal in all competitions this campaign and City’s 50th already since the season’s opener.
Another lightning counter almost made it 2-0. Thomas and Tom Smith linked up down the right, the latter’s pull back from the byline was perfect for Frear, whose header from 10 yards was put behind by the legs of Charles-Cook.
Hayfield scooped over from eight yards with Frear again involved before the left-sided player played a part in the second just before half-time.
Some silky footwork saw him evade Ike Orji before his telling ball saw Smith’s miscued shot fall perfectly for Thomas, who kept a cool head to blast into the top corner from close range.
Wilson blazed over just before the whistle as the break was a welcome to the visitors, who went to two up top for the second half to try and salvage a result.
The extra attacking impetus nearly bore fruit on 49 minutes. Cameron Green’s persistence saw him slip the ball in behind to Tristan Abrahams, but the Wings leading marksman shot too close to the advancing Will Buse, who appeared to block with his face.
City made their first telling attack of the second half count. Dan Greenslade’s glorious crossfield ball was controlled by Frear, who cut inside and his delivery was glanced in by Hayfield, a near identical header to Wilson’s opener.
Jordan Dyer nodded Frear’s cross against the bar with Wilson unable to connect with the follow-up before Welling were spared any more punishment by the on-song winger, who was replaced by Ewan Clark with 16 minutes remaining.
United blew the chance of a consolation soon afterwards. Antony Papadopoulos did well to find Kain Adom in the box, the attacker skipped around Buse and went to ground under no contact before seeing the ball ricochet off Dyer into the net. Celebrations were cut short as Adom was cautioned for the blatant dive, adding to their misery.
It got worse for Danny Bloor’s charges as they conceded a penalty on 87 minutes. Thomas’ attempt to skip around Jephte Tanga saw him bundled over in the box and substitute Cooke converted his eighth penalty this term to wrap up a handsome win.
The success moved City back into the top five ahead of some mouthwatering derbies, starting on Boxing Day at Chippenham
City’s Line-Up: Buse, Raynes, Greenslade, Dyer, Parselle (c), Hayfield, Smith (Batten 57), Frear (Clark 74), Thomas, Wilson (Cooke 69), Russe. Subs not used: Lines, Thorn.
Scorers: City – Wilson (23), Thomas (45), Hayfield (56), Cooke (pen 87); Welling – none
City Bookings: Smith (29)
Officials: L Sandoe, D Spyer, G Pearce