Hampton & Richmond Borough (0) 1 Bath City (0) 1 – Tuesday 16 August 2022 – Vanarama National League South – The Cleo Saul Beveree Stadium
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Scott Wilson’s howitzer earned City a deserved midweek point at Hampton & Richmond Borough.
The forward, making his first league start of his third spell, justified his inclusion with a superb dipping strike from 16 yards to cancel out Ruaridh Donaldson’s opener, the full-back netting the rebound from Tommy Wood’s saved penalty.
Before that, Hampton were fortunate to not be reduced to 10 men when Brandon Barzey’s nasty challenge on Kieran Parselle saw him escape with a booking.
They could have snatched it late through Temi Babalola as Gary McCann’s men are still hunting for their first win of the campaign, whereas City have collected a creditable four points from two away matches.
On a superb playing surface, City looked confident from the off. Luke Spokes’ first-time strike from Chris Lines’ driven corner was cleared by Jake Gray near the goalline as the Romans enjoyed a lot of early possession.
Dan Hayfield’s drilled effort was parried by Mark Smith before City endured their first scare when Barzey attempted to lob Joe Wright from some 40 yards, who was relieved to see the ball just clear his crossbar.
Barzey’s next involvement after the break wasn’t so positive. On 54 minutes the nippy winger escaped with a yellow card for a crude lunge on Parselle having initially been fouled by Lines, with manager Jerry Gill incensed over the decision.
The City boss was further enraged when the hosts were awarded a penalty seven minutes later. Superb footwork by Gray saw him nip between three men before he went down under a tackle from Joe Raynes just inside the area.
It was the third penalty Hampton had been awarded in three games, four including their final pre-season match, and incredibly for the fourth time in succession it was denied by the goalkeeper, Wright guessing right to palm Wood’s kick away. Unfortunately for him, full-back Donaldson showed lighting reactions to the rebound to side-foot past the grounded stopper.
Spokes was replaced by Tom Smith and it proved a key swap as the substitute provided an assist for Wilson’s leveller on 75 minutes.
The midfielder collected the ball from Raynes in midfield and found Wilson on the left, who cut inside of Jay Hines and unleashed a tremendous looping shot which clipped the underside of the bar and in past the helpless Mark Smith.
Wilson could have had another five minutes later when Lines’ ball from the back picked out the forward, but he tamely shot straight at Smith from just inside the penalty area.
Ben Shroll’s desperate tackle wiped Wilson out on the edge of the box resulting in a free-kick and yellow card, but with the ball running loose to Cooke an advantage was denied and prevented a second. Lines’ free-kick for the offence was charged down by a packed wall.
The Beavers nearly cut City open in the closing seconds on the counter when they had five attackers v two defenders, but Shroll’s pass was over-hit and although Babalola did well to carve an opening, his shot flew over the angle of post and crossbar.
It was the final action of an intriguing contest.
City’s Line-Up: Wright, Raynes, Greenslade, Dyer, Parselle (c), Fletcher, Hayfield, Cooke, Lines, Spokes (Smith 70), Wilson. Subs not used: Clarke, Batten, Frear, Bell.
Scorers: City – Wilson (75); Hampton – Donaldson (62)
City Bookings: Lines (28), Fletcher (90)
Officials: L Corbett, C Peter, C Williams