City down high-flying Havant in superb response to Trophy exit

City bounced back from their FA Trophy exit in perfect style at Twerton Park this evening, beating promotion hopefuls Havant & Waterloovile by two goals to one. Both City’s goals came in the opening 17 minutes before Havant pulled one back on the half hour. It then took a great defensive performance in the second half – including a Ryan Clarke penalty save – to keep the Hawks out and secure the victory. The game was just nine minutes old when a long City clearance saw a Havant defender slip to leave Tom Mehew clear on goal and he showed great composure to carry the ball 40 yards before slotting it past Worner. And eight minutes later the Romans doubled their lead, Tom Smith sliding home at the far post after great work from debutant Alex Fletcher. The visitors were clearly rattled by City’s stunning start but on 30 minutes they pulled a goal back out of nothing, Deacon firing across Clarke into the net from 20 yards. Havant began to get on top after this although it was City who came closest to adding to the scoring before the interval, Worner denying Fletcher in the final minute of the half. The second period started with a Clifford shot curling just wide and on the hour mark they looked to have been handed the perfect chance to equalise. A ball into the box saw Kedwell hook a shot wide then collide with Clarke but to the astonishment of everyone in the ground the referee pointed to the penalty spot. However, justice was done when Clarke easily kept out Gomis’ tame effort from 12 yards. This seemed to drain what little hope Havant had of turning the game around as City dealt superbly with their increasingly desperate balls forward. Fletcher had the ball in the net on 67 minutes only for a late offside flag to rule out the effort and the same player then saw Worner keep out his shot with ten minutes left. The closing minutes saw a renewed effort from Havant and Bakayoko missed a great chance in the 87th minute, reaching the ball ahead of Clarke but lifting his shot high over the bar. Then, in the ninth of an additional six minutes stoppage time a Havant free-kick caused pandemonium in the City box, including what looked a clearer penalty shout than the earlier award, before the ball was cleared and the Romans could celebrate a hard-fought but thoroughly deserved win.