Nailsea & Tickenham (0) 0 Bath City (0) 1 – Tuesday 10 January 2023 – Somerset Premier Cup 2nd Round – Fryth Way
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Scott Wilson’s moment of fortune with seven minutes remaining saw Bath City finally overcome a stubborn resistance of Nailsea & Tickenham.
The forward was perfectly placed to nudge home from close range after Jason Mellor’s attempted clearance was hooked back into the area by Tom Smith with Wilson doing enough to benefit from a slip in the Nailsea defence.
Victory came at a cost for the Romans who saw Kieran Parselle hobble off with an ankle injury and substitute James Morton withdrawn after suffering from blurred vision.
Having used all three substitutes it meant City ended with 10 men, though Nailsea suffered the same fate when James Sellick succumbed to a hamstring injury in stoppage time.
It was the first ever meeting between the clubs with Nailsea’s promotion from the Somerset County League earning their place in the Somerset Premier Cup, and they set about making life difficult for Jerry Gill’s men on a predictably sticky surface, further damaged by monsoon-type rain for an hour before kick-off.
Joe Berry’s early corner caught in the swirling wind and desperate blocks on the line prevented the hosts making a historic breakthrough.
SGS college student Rabby Minzamba was handed a debut in one of six changes for Gill’s side and he made a lively start. His pull-back from the byline saw Wilson rush on but he could only blast over.
Midway through the first half Rex Mannings was denied by smart handling of Mellor, who was made captain against the side he made 129 appearances for between 2012-2015. Within 30 seconds the Swags broke with Luke Osgood’s cross from the right just ahead of Callum Dunn, whose attempted volley on the stretch was eventually cleared.
Smith’s ambitious effort from 30 yards flew just wide with Mellor beaten and Wilson side-footed wide from 10 yards after a rare mistake from Gary Freeman allowed him a shot on goal.
Wilson and Dan Greenslade were expected to be withdrawn at the break but with the sides deadlocked they were kept on, instead Luke Spokes was given the nod to replace Minzamba as City hunted for an opener.
Their momentum was stalled when Parselle went down screaming following a challenge with Dunn just past the hour and he was eventually replaced by Morton.
Morton made light work of the heavy surface within five minutes of his introduction as he worked a one-two with Smith before the latter curled wide of Mellor’s left post.
Berry’s pot shot flew harmlessly wide for the hosts as the Romans enjoyed a lot of territory against a side sitting 76 places below them in the pyramid, Spokes denied by a superb Mellor save to his left after Mannings’ perfect pull-back allowed a first time shot.
The winning goal on 83 minutes was a curious one. Spokes’ ball forward looked aimless as Mellor ambled over to seemingly retrieve the ball for a goal kick. The conditions played a part as the ball stayed in play on the byline which created a panicky clearance from the stopper. It was picked up by Smith whose whipped cross was missed by Jordan Hughes and Wilson did enough to prod home from close range with the keeper stranded.
Despite losing Morton to injury City weren’t really in any danger of surrendering their lead against a side who have already netted 82 times this season, as Ryan Clarke claimed the club’s third clean sheet in a row and 1500th in Bath City’s history.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke, Greenslade, Dyer, Batten, Parselle (c) (Morton 67), Smith, Ford (Morrison 63), Lines, Mannings, Wilson, Minzamba (Spokes 51). Subs not used: Stone, Cross.
Scorers: City – Wilson (83) ; Nailsea – none
City Bookings: none
Officials: R Hulme, D Baylis, A Davey