Concord Rangers (0) 3 Bath City (0) 1 – Saturday 9 April 2022 – Vanarama National League South – The Aspect Arena
Match Report to by Mark Stillman.
Nana Kyei proved the difference as Bath City fell to defeat at Concord Rangers.
The nippy attacker, quiet in the first half, came to life in the second to effectively seal Concord’s place in National League South for next season while City remain four points clear of relegation.
Alex Fletcher swiftly cancelled out the opener, which Kyei claimed despite it appearing to be an own goal, as the Romans looked set to claim a point they deserved.
But a late double by the former Hungerford man, his second a gorgeous finish, helped the Beachboys exact revenge for a 2-1 defeat at Twerton Park last November.
City made the long journey to Essex with just 14 available players, forcing them into their 20th different defensive combination of the season due to Jack Batten’s suspension and Joe Raynes’ hip injury forcing both to a watching perspective.
The versatile Ryan Jones was used as a left-back and Rangers looked to exploit this reshuffle early when Danny Green’s ball down the right was collected by Ben Williamson, whose ferocious effort across goal flew just wide of Ryan Clarke’s right post.
Elliott Frear recorded City’s first shot on nine minutes. Cody Cooke picked out the winger on the edge of the box and his low drive sneaked just wide of Myles Roberts’ goal with the keeper at full stretch.
Aron Pollock hooked over from six yards when Joe Payne’s long throw was inadvertently flicked into his direction from Fletcher, with the defender squandering the chance to make it three goals in four home matches against Jerry Gill’s men.
Roberts easily gathered Cooke’s snapshot from 20 yards on 41 minutes, the contest’s first effort on target, before Dan Ball headed Frear’s corner over, denying him a rare goal on his 250th league appearance for the club.
The sides headed into the break at a stalemate but the hosts looked more fired up on their return, capitalising on a catalogue of mistakes from City to open the scoring on 48 minutes.
Zak Delaney sold Eddie Jones short in midfield, whose pass was easily intercepted by Ryley Scott. His lovely ball over the top was collected by Kyei who cut inside easily of the retreating Jones. Kyei’s curler appeared to be drifting inches wide but was inadvertently deflected in by the backtracking Ryan Jones at the far post.
Despite this setback, City kept plugging away and responded within six minutes.
Eddie Jones’ long throw wasn’t fully cleared and as Omar Holness looked to cut inside, he was upended by Green in the penalty area. Referee Jack Packman pointed to the spot and Fletcher showed no nerves as he confidently sent Roberts the wrong way, his 15th goal of a promising debut season.
Superb covering from Jayden Randell prevented Fletcher a second as City enjoyed their best spell of the game.
Ball went close again as Tosan Popo was perfectly placed to nod his header away from the line with the long-serving defender left waiting for his first away league goal since March 2014.
Blackman’s handball 25 yards out presented City with a free-kick in a promising position but the luckless Ryan Jones slipped as he connected with the ball, forcing it to trickle harmlessly wide.
Concord boss Chris Search elected to shuffle his pack on 76 minutes and introduced Temi Babalola to partner Williamson in attack, sacrificing Scott.
The addition of an extra forward paid off. Blackman arrowed wide from 25 yards and on 86 minutes Delaney narrowly avoided putting through his own net from Green’s long ball forward with Clarke fortunate to grab his misguided header.
The visitors didn’t heed the warning signs as they conceded within sixty seconds of this escape. Kyei got the better of a fair 50-50 challenge with Fletcher which left the City man in a heap and room for Rangers to break down the left.
This time there was no question marks over the scorer as Kyei cut inside and superbly whipped the ball into the bottom right corner from just outside the penalty area.
There was time for a third as Babalola’s strength saw him hold off Ryan Jones on the byline before pulling back to the unmarked Kyei, who smartly dispatched from eight yards.
It was harsh on City and while other results at the bottom going in the Romans’ favour was some consolation, they’ll be looking for a win over the Easter weekend to help ease lingering relegation fears.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Delaney, Fletcher, Holness, Cooke, Smith, Frear, E Jones, Ball, Seymour (Sims-Burgess 81), R Jones. Subs not used: Fuller, Richards.
Scorers: City – Fletcher (pen 53); Concord – OG (48), Kyei (87, 90)
City Bookings; E Jones (42)
Officials: J Paceman, J Williams, M Jackson