Cheshunt (1) 2 Bath City (0) 1 – Saturday 22 April 2023 – Vanarama National League South – Theobalds Lane
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Two lapses cost Bath City as they suffered a third successive away defeat.
Ken Charles and Zech Obiero were the beneficiaries for struggling Cheshunt as Scott Wilson’s 20th goal of the season wasn’t enough for the Romans.
Smart stops by Adam Desbois frustrated City while the Ambers hit the goalframe twice.
Ben Ford became the first outfield academy graduate to start a league match for Bath since February 2015 while captain Kieran Parselle, who signed a one-year contract days before the contest, made his 50th outing.
Parselle was moved to the left of a back three in Dan Greenslade’s absence as both sides cancelled each other out early where a bumpy pitch made good football difficult.
Wilson miscued wide after the ball took a difficult bounce and James Morton, on his 24th birthday, fired just over after good work by Dan Hayfield.
On 28 minutes hesitation from Lewis Hobbs let Wilson in again but as he tried to round Desbois the keeper spread himself well and clawed the ball away.
It proved costly as the hosts opened the scoring two minutes later.
Chris Lines was dispossessed by Obiero in midfield and Charles’ charging run down the left took him past Raynes, Ford and Jack Batten’s desperate lunge before he slipped the ball under Max Harris at his near post.
Wilson pulled wide before Cheshunt wasted a glorious opportunity to make it 2-0.
Charles escaped Raynes and his pull back from the byline was perfect for Obiero, but from eight yards out he contrived to side-foot against the base of the post.
Ford was withdrawn for Luke Spokes at the break and City hit back within three minutes of the restart.
Harris’ deliberate ball for Wilson over the top saw Bill Cracknell make a mess of shielding the ball out on the byline. With Desbois convinced the ball went out of play, his attempt to put Wilson off went awry as the striker charged towards goal and easily slotted home from six yards unchallenged.
The keeper made up for his loss of concentration by denying Wilson and the impressive Tom Smith in quick succession before the upright again denied the hosts.
Enock Ekongo’s long throw was inadvertently flicked by Hayfield to Raul Da Silva 15 yards out and the defender was unlucky to see his hooked effort bounce off the crossbar.
Harris’ amazing reflexes denied Hobbs as his volley from close range was somehow blocked by the on-loan stopper.
Wilson ballooned over on a counter when he had Smith in oceans of space and the bad decision making cost City on 76 minutes when they fell behind.
Joe Re slipped the ball behind to Obiero who capitalised on a costly slip from Batten before drilling low across Harris and Parselle on the line.
Substitute Emmanuel Maja wasted a golden chance to make it three five minutes later. Obiero squared the ball to the midfielder situated near the penalty spot but he swiped wide with only Harris to beat.
Most of the home crowd were silenced in added time when Batten’s crossfield ball was beautifully brought down by Smith and rifled home but an offside flag cut short celebrations and denied a point.
Instead Cheshunt claimed all three in their desperate fight against the drop while City will hope to put things right against relegated Hungerford on Tuesday night.
City’s Line-Up: Harris, Raynes, Batten, Parselle (c), Hayfield, Smith, Frear, Ford (Spokes HT), Lines, Wilson, Morton. Subs not used: Clarke, Minzamba, Edwards.
Scorers: City – Wilson (49); Cheshunt – Charles (30), Obiero (77)
City Bookings: none
Officials: Emily Heaslip, Kieran Bailey, Louis Dawson