Havant & Waterlooville (1) 1 Bath City (0) 1 – Saturday 24 February 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Westleigh Park

Havant & Waterlooville (1) 1 Bath City (0) 1 – Saturday 24 February 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Westleigh Park

Match Report by Mark Stillman.

Dan Hayfield’s fine finish saw Bath City earn a point at struggling Havant.

The midfielder walloped home in the 86th minute to cancel out Alfy Whittingham’s opener.

It was the least City deserved having created the better chances, looking keen to make it six wins in a row.

Scott Wilson was close to sealing victory at the death in an exciting conclusion where the Hawks held on for their first draw under caretaker boss Cliff de Gordon.

Joe McNerney, one of five changes for the hosts, produced a stunning block after Ewan Clark cut inside of Brendan Willson and found himself one-on-one before the centre-back threw himself in the way.

Havant took a 15th minute lead in their first meaningful attack. Ryan Seager’s shot from Callum Kealy’s pull-back was stunningly saved at point blank range from Jose Casa-Grande but Whittingham was on hand to convert the rebound from six yards.

Tom Smith side-footed Elliott Frear’s teasing cross too close to Ross Worner on the half hour, and Cody Cooke tamely side-footed wide when Clark’s pass ricocheted kindly for the forward.

Havant started the second half well with Whittingham setting Kealy away on the left, before his centre was powerfully chested towards goal by Seager, forcing Casa-Grande to glove behind outstretched to his right.

Clark continued to menace Havant and his probing cross from the right saw Cooke connect but could only poke wide from three yards.

The game descended into a scrappy contest with the hosts working hard to protect their lead but often surrendering possession and stalling momentum with a series of niggly fouls, Clark often on the receiving end.

James Alabi’s introduction for Smith proved decisive as following a strong spell of possession, City were rewarded with a leveller.

A tidy move saw Luke Russe’s ball stabbed from Alabi into Hayfield’s path, who across goal hammered home his sixth of the season, giving Worner no chance.

The nerves set in for the home backline as the Romans saw two key chances come and go in the closing minutes.

After Russe had been petulantly wiped out by James Roberts, an advantage saw Hayfield slip Clark through but Worner’s outstretched leg kept him out with Joe Raynes’ piledriver flying just over in the follow-up.

In the final attack of the game City looked to have clinched three points.

A move similar to the equaliser saw Clark’s cross headed down by Alabi to Hayfield, who drove across goal where the fully stretched Wilson couldn’t keep it down.

The point keeps Havant nine points from safety and keeps City handily placed in fourth after only one side in the top seven were victorious.

Att: 898

City’s Line-Up: Casa-Grande, Raynes, Greenslade, Dyer, Parselle (c), Clark, Hayfield, Cooke, Smith (Alabi 73), Frear (Wilson 52), Russe. Subs not used: Batten, Lines, Cook.

Scorers: City – Hayfield (85); Havant – Whittingham (13)

City Bookings: Russe (6), Raynes (77), Greenslade (90+2)

Officials: G Warren, J Lamping, N Whittington