Slough Town (0) 0 Bath City (0) 1 – FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round – Tuesday 13 October 2020 – Arbour Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman
Freddie Hinds was the hero for Bath City as they saw off divisional rivals Slough Town to progress in the FA Cup at Arbour Park. The Romans are now one step away from their first appearance in round one since 2011 thanks to the 21-year-old’s delicate finish at the start of the second half. City defended superbly in the closing 40 minutes leaving Ryan Clarke largely untroubled. The win was Bath’s third in four matches and arguably the most eye-catching at the home of fellow play-off finishers last season. Jerry Gill was dealt a blow by losing Tommy Conway to injury, with new loan signing Lucas Tomlinson replacing him for his first start and Jason Pope recalled in a formation change.
Hinds’ trickery gave Slough a moment of panic on 27 minutes when he cut inside of Cam McGilp and went to ground, but referee Jason Richardson waved away appeals for a penalty amid protests from the City players. Tomlinson and Callum Evans linked up well down the right soon after with the latter’s pull-back perfect for the onrushing Tom Smith, but he ballooned over from 12 yards. Slough produced the only shots on target of the first half with Dan Roberts coming closest to breaking the deadlock. Ryan Bird’s flick-on after a free-kick wasn’t cleared was met by a first-time volley from the forward, but his stinging shot was too close to Clarke who parried to safety. The City custodian also did well to tip Jack McKnight’s low free-kick around the post to help the sides go into the break level.
Gill’s men posed more attacking threat after the interval and were rewarded five minutes into the second half with the game’s only goal. Pope’s driving run from midfield saw him link up with Tomlinson. He found Tom Richards in space near the byline and his pull-back was controlled by Hinds, who composed himself before finishing with aplomb, dinking it across the advancing Jack Turner and into the roof of the net. Slough nearly levelled within two minutes when Max Worsfold’s free-kick was headed downwards by Sam Togwell, but Clarke showed fantastic reactions to tip over. Paul Hodges’ effort from the resulting corner was charged down which epitomised the bravery of the Romans defence to protect their lead with the back four protecting Clarke superbly. City could have nabbed another on the break. Hinds’ powerful drive flew just over the angle of post and crossbar, and a fortunate ricochet saw Richards bear down on goal but he and Smith got in each other’s way with the latter tamely placing his shot too close to Turner. McKnight thumped over from 16 yards and blocks from Pope and Jack Batten, playing his first 90 minutes for almost 18 months, preceded McGilp dragging wide from distance. The determination from the team earned a second clean sheet in four days and such effort will give Dartford a stern test in the league on Saturday as Bath look build on their bright start to the campaign.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Smith, Batten, Ball, Evans, Harley, Richards, Pope, Leak, Hinds (Watts 66), Tomlinson (Grant 90). Subs not used: Henry, James, Bahadur.
Scorers: City – Hinds (49); Slough – none
City Bookings: Ball (55)
Officials: J Richardson, J Hurst, S Hawkes