Slough Town (4) 4 Bath City (0) 2 – Saturday 2 March 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Arbour Park

Slough Town (4) 4 Bath City (0) 2 – Saturday 2 March 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Arbour Park
(Match abandoned after 70 minutes – National League determined result would stand)

Match Report by Mark Stillman.

Bath City’s match was cut short at Slough Town after a spectator was taken ill.

Slough supporters frantically waved for attention with 20 minutes of the game remaining which saw home physios Alex Moore and Chiko Mvula race to the terraces behind the goal to treat a gentleman, believed to be in his late sixties.

The supporter was later confirmed to be in a stable condition after further support from Sarah Carr and Lee Williams, Bath City’s physiotherapists. They remained on the terraces to assist for 30 minutes as space was vacated from the packed near 1,500 attendance.

Carr confirmed the supporter was briefly unconscious but had regained consciousness soon after their arrival.

An ambulance was called around 15 minutes after the game’s stoppage, but the gentleman was taken to hospital in a car later. It was later confirmed he was a diabetic.

Referee Nicholas Dunn took the players off within 10 minutes of the incident and with half an hour passed, it was announced that the decision was made to abandon the match with Slough Town 4-2 up.

The hosts’ manager Scott Davies was furious with the decision, believing the referee had been influenced by the visitors. On Monday evening Slough confirmed they had written to the National League, believing the game should have been played to a finish.

“Whether the game restarted or didn’t is totally irrelevant,” said Jerry Gill afterwards. “It’s all about the wellbeing of that gentleman. Our medical staff and Slough’s were brilliant.

“When you see those scenes it reminds you of others happening across the country. We had it at our stadium with one of our players (Alex Fletcher’s life-changing head injury in November 2022 v Dulwich which left him in a coma). We know the knock-on effect of that.

“It was getting to the point where if it wasn’t too serious, if the wait was only five or 10 minutes, we’ll restart the game.

“But it got to a period where it was 20 or 25. That’s when your player welfare comes into play as well. They’re more prone to injury and we already had some missing.

“I understand people’s frustrations but it’s the referee who calls it off under FA guidance. It’s not a manager, we haven’t got that power.

“The referee was in touch with the FA and they’ve made the decision.

“All our thoughts to go the supporter and his family.”

The game itself was a remarkable one. Slough had taken the lead on 54 seconds through Slavi Spasov, and by half-time found themselves 4-0 up as Johnny Goddard, David Ogbonna and a second from Spasov took advantage of individual mistakes from the shell-shocked visitors.

Two changes at the break saw City revert to 4-4-2 having started with a back three and despite a bright opening from the Rebels, Gill’s side had threatened a remarkable comeback.

Ewan Clark pulled one back on 58 minutes and Cody Cooke, on his 31st birthday, hammered home from close range after Jordan Dyer flicked on Joe Raynes’ long throw.

Five minutes later the contest was paused for the spectator to receive treatment, and ultimately didn’t restart.

Att: 1406

City’s Line-Up: Casa-Grande, Raynes, Dyer, Batten (Frear HT), Parselle (c), Clark, Hayfield, Cooke, Smith (Alabi HT), Wilson, Russe. Sub not used: Lines.

Scorers: City – Clark (58), Cooke (65); Slough – Spasov (1, 43), Goddard (28), Ogbonna (39)

City Bookings: Cooke (69)

Officials: N Dunne, K Bailey, S Parberry