Slough Town (1) 2 Bath City (0) 0 – Tuesday 26 October 2021 – Vanarama National League South – Arbour Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Jerry Gill admitted his side are in a relegation battle following a disappointing midweek defeat to Slough Town.
Alfonso Tenconi gave the Rebels the lead three minutes into his home debut before an unfortunate own goal by Joe Raynes doubled the hosts’ advantage.
Clarke’s tremendous penalty save from Aaron Kuhl kept it to two but Gill was more focused on the side’s overall display.
“I’m not good enough at the moment, the players aren’t good enough at the moment,” said Gill afterwards.
“It has to change – teams aren’t having to work to score against us. When you put all that together that’s a really bad cocktail. It’s not a good Bath City team.
“I’ll hold my hands up – I lead the ship, I haven’t been good enough. but players have got to have a look at themselves tonight too. We’re a soft touch.
“I haven’t really got any words for them in there because the same things are happening. A lot of them look a shadow of themselves at the moment.
“We’ve got too many players lacking in confidence. With that, bad decisions are made.”
An elementary error gifted Slough an early lead when George Hunt’s harmless ball over the top bounced in front of Batten and Clarke. Neither took priority and Tenconi nipped in to score his first goal for the club.
He nearly had another on 19 when captain Ben Harris’ inch-perfect cross on the counter was right into his strike partner’s path, but Clarke was equal to his close range strike to parry to safety.
Raynes’ stunning slaloming run from full-back saw him with just Jonathan North to beat from 18 yards but he lost all composure and blazed over.
The Bathonian unwittingly wrapped the game up for the hosts 11 minutes after half-time when Kuhl’s attempted shot was touched in on the line by the unfortunate defender, who had Harris lurking to tap home regardless.
Harris was upended in the box by Callum Wood on 68 minutes to give Slough the chance to make it three, but Clarke superbly denied Kuhl with a low penalty save to his left.
Ellliott Frear’s dink over North in added time was cleared off the line by Scott Davies to help Town record their first clean sheet since the opening day, while City have now conceded 22 in their last eight league games.
“If you’re conceding goals at the rate we are, in twos and threes, that amounts to 80-odd goals and a relegation,” Gill warned. “If people think we aren’t in a relegation fight, they’re kidding themselves. We are in one, totally.
“It’s basic defending for the first goal. The danger wasn’t seen early enough by Jack, there’s indecision between him and the goalkeeper. If there ever is, as a centre-back you should hook it over your shoulder and deal with the throw-in.
“I thought Joe was one of only four players who did well for us tonight. He’s scored an own goal because he’s trying to fight and battle in defending.
“It’s a tale of both boxes again. We didn’t do enough in the final third despite Elliott putting in some wonderful balls. Cody (Cooke) should have scored with a header.
“Slough are a hard-working side as they always are. They’re well organised. They played exactly as we said – a diamond in midfield. That meant it was on for us in wide areas, we got our full-backs out a lot.
“They went in really direct and we couldn’t cope with that. We knew they’d go down the sides.
“It’s a disappointment because I thought we’d get something here tonight.”
Gill went with an unchanged XI for only the second time this season but is hoping to add to his ranks for Saturday with Tom Mehew arriving on loan from Bristol Rovers and the City boss hoping to add another before Saturday’s trip to Ebbsfleet United, who have won seven in a row in all competitions.
“We’ll be coming up against a fantastic footballing side, one of the best I’ve seen at this level,” said Gill of Saturday’s opponents. “The good news is we’re only 10 games in so we’ll work out how things need to change, but on Saturday at Ebbsfleet we need to be hard to beat.
“I went with the same team because I wanted some continuity. We want the team to try and get going, a bit of flow.
“Someone said after tonight that we were unlucky because we played some good football – I don’t want to be known as a good footballing side losing games. That’s not what it’s about.”
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Raynes, Ball (Holness 54), Batten, Wood, Fletcher, Cooke, Smith (Touray 72), Frear, James, Owers. Subs not used: Fuller, Richards, Cannings.
Scorers: City – none; Slough – Tenconi (4), Own Goal (56)
City Bookings: Wood (67)
Officials: M Ryan, R Preca, C Bullock