Poole Town (0) 0 Bath City (1) 4 – Vanarama National League South – Saturday 17 March 2018 – Tatnam Ground
Bath City picked up their biggest National League South away win for almost a year with the help of three second half goals at Poole Town. They had only broken the deadlock in first-half stoppage time, too, through Sean Rigg. Andy Watkins swiftly double that lead upon the restart, before loanees Tom Smith and Opi Edwards rounded out a thumping victory over the relegation battlers. Edwards’ 91st-minute fourth, coupled with a late Oxford City goal at Welling United, in fact meant the Romans clambered above the London side to ninth on goal difference. City, whose only dampener on the day was a late red card for Anthony Straker, sit two points off the top seven with top-of-the-table Havant & Waterlooville up next at Twerton Park this Saturday.
The opener could have come within a minute. Though it was Poole that kicked off, Straker soon had the ball in his possession, sparking a move that put Smith through one-on-one, only to be denied by onrushing keeper Nick Hutchings. The first half was largely an even affair, though it was the visitors that created the better of the opportunities. Poole largely dealt in half-chances, their first a tame Marvin Brooks header that gave Luke Southwood no trouble. But it should have been City ahead much sooner than they were when they broke upfield excellently from a Poole free-kick. Watkins made his way into the box and laid off for Rigg, the ball finding its way to Jack Compton, who contrived to miss an open goal from no more than three yards out. Southwood was then forced to make a save at the other end when Kevin Amankwaah, who would later leave injured before the first half was up, was robbed of the ball, allowing Warren Bentley to bear down on goal and try his luck. A dangerous Steve Devlin free-kick flashed across the City penalty area, while Rigg fired wide after choosing to reject a square pass to Compton on his left. There was almost a slice of luck for Poole when a loose ball bobbled on Jack Batten and his attempted clearance skimmed the top of his boot and into Southwood’s mitts. Perhaps Poole’s best chance of the game came before the break when Bentley sent over a left-wing cross that the unmarked James Constable headed over from a central position. Another excellent City counter laid the foundations for their opening goal; Compton’s diving header forced Hutchings to make a sharp save, which then dropped onto the bar and behind. It was from that corner that Rigg struck, his less-than-clean strike finding its way through a host of bodies in the box and into the roof of the net via the desperate attempted clearance of a defender on the line.
The second period began with Constable flashing a cross-shot across the City goal, but the lead was doubled within two minutes. Bristol City loanee Edwards drew a save from a tight angle and the ball bounced back out for Watkins to gleefully volley in. The Romans had to remain aware when Brooks forced a good save out of Southwood almost immediately, while Jamie Whisken flicked just over from a corner. In space, Watkins fired over before two more quickfire opportunities came his side’s way. Rigg had a shot blocked, with the rebound smashed into the advertising hoardings by Compton. They would get the third, however, when Compton combined some trickery with an inch-perfect cross for Smith to guide the ball into the far corner with his forehead. Uyi Aihevba and Devlin both missed the target for the Dolphins and Hutchings had a tough time handling another Compton effort. Bentley also saw a deflected effort stopped comfortably by Southwood. Hutchings somehow denied Antoine Semenyo the fourth goal with a stunning reflex save before Straker was given his marching orders in added time. The left-back had been hauled down at the byline but denied a penalty by referee Matty Buonassisi and, as the ball was cleared back up the pitch, ended up in a fracas that resulted in his dismissal. Little matter, Edwards had all the time in the world to lash home goal number four from the edge of the box, right into the top corner. He could have had another when whiffing his initial shot, before being instantly denied by a double-save from Hutchings.
City’s Line-Up: Southwood, Welch-Hayes, Straker (c), Richards, Amankwaah (Ball 42), Batten, Edwards, S Rigg (Jarvis 82), Watkins (Semenyo 72), Compton, Smith. Subs not used: Morton, Hodges.
Scorers: Poole – none; City – S Rigg (45+2), Watkins (47), Smith (68), Edwards (90+1)
City Bookings: Straker (31), Richards (62)
City Dismissal: Straker (89)
Officials: M Buonassisi, A Berrow, A James