Slough Town (0) 2 Bath City (0) 1 – Vanarama National League South – Saturday 31 October 2020 – Arbour Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman
Three goals in the final six minutes saw a rather insipid contest come to life as Slough consigned Bath to a third straight defeat. Donovan Wilson looked to have rescued a point having swiftly cancelled out Cam McGilp’s 84th minute opener, but Max Worsfold’s marvelous stoppage time free-kick saw the Rebels gain revenge for an FA Cup defeat against the Romans 18 days previous. Louis Lomas had earlier hit the base of the post for Slough in a game otherwise low on quality. It ended a tricky October for Jerry Gill’s men, who lost three successive away games for the first time in his tenure.
Gill made five changes from the disappointing cup exit to Havant & Waterlooville with Matt Buse in for his debut and Wilson given a first start. Dan Roberts gave City the runaround early on and picked out well-placed Aaron Kuhl, but the Paulton-born midfielder wastefully scooped straight into Ryan Clarke’s hands from 10 yards. Roberts then pulled back for Matt Lench but the midfielder side-footed well wide while stretching to connect. Wilson forced Jack Turner into his first save on 10 minutes. Picking the ball up from Smith, the forward went on a powerful run and his shot from an acute angle was blocked by the knees of the Slough stopper, before Jack McKnight went close at the other end with a long range effort. On 25 minutes Gill opted to switch things up, replacing the ineffectual Callum Watts with Ryan Harley. Although it didn’t have the desired effect offensively, City frustrated Slough more in midfield with neither side creating much. Worsfold lashed wide and McKnight’s finish was ruled out for offside amid no complaints from the home players.
The hosts pushed full-back Josh Jackman further forward after the break and it almost had an immediate effect as he linked up with McKnight before his cross-shot just eluded Roberts. Tomlinson capitalised on lax defending at the other end, pick-pocketing Sam Togwell before curling narrowly off target. The youngster also gave Togwell’s brother Lee a few headaches before the defender’s attempted block from Tomlinson’s shot wrong-footed Turner, but the keeper showed tremendous reflexes to parry behind. Lomas came closest to opening the scoring on 68 minutes when he was given time to tee himself up before his volley crashed off the outside of the post with Clarke beaten. Slough introduced Malachi Linton for his debut and he created a superb opening for the Rebels when his pull-back found Lench on the six-yard line, but an incredible block by Tom Leak kept the Romans’ clean sheet intact. Had there been a crowd present they would have been forgiven for departing before the late drama, as a goalless draw looked certain. It didn’t pan out that way. With six minutes left, Slough midfielder McGilp slalomed his way into the penalty area and his precision drive across Clarke gave the custodian no chance. Bath’s response was positive as they sought an immediate response. It took under 120 seconds to find it as Jason Pope and Tomlinson linked up before Smith poked the ball through to Wilson who calmly side-footed past the advancing Turner from 12 yards to seemingly rescue a point. His determination to get the ball back demonstrated that City were keen to go for the win, and he could have snatched it when his shot on the break was charged down by Turner, but there seemed an inevitability for a further twist as Slough penned City back. Lench’s free-kick on the edge of the box was charged down but Bath presented a similar chance for Town in the first minute of added time as Buse upended Lomas 20 yards out. This time Worsfold stepped up and nonchalantly lofted into Clarke’s top right corner and complete a crazy few minutes at Arbour Park as for the second season running the Berkshire outfit ran out victorious in this contest thanks to a last minute goal.
While City were good in patches and Wilson’s performance was hugely encouraging, Gill would still have concerns at the fragility in the dying stages. His side have now conceded four in the final five minutes of games and will be hoping to tighten up ahead of Saturday’s home fixture with Hemel Hempstead Town.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke, Grant (Leak 55), Smith, Batten, Ball, Evans, Wilson, Pope, Watts (Harley 25), Tomlinson, Buse. Subs not used: Henry, James, Richards.
Scorers: City – Wilson (86); Slough: McGlip (84), Worsfold (90+2)
City Bookings: none
Officials: R Martin, E Malaveci, A Loe