St Albans City (0) 0 Bath City (2) 2 – Monday 28 August 2023 – Vanarama National League South – Clarence Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Scott Wilson’s penalty and a comical Jack James own goal wrapped up a third successive win to keep up Bath City’s excellent start to the season.
Wilson stroked home after Ben Wyatt was penalised for handball from Ewan Clark’s cross, before another Clark delivery led to James putting past his own keeper.
Saints were denied a spot-kick in the closing stages when Kieran Parselle appeared to handle Mitch Weiss’s ball through, but while they enjoyed a lot of the ball they struggled to break down Jerry Gill’s well-drilled side in a classic away performance.
The win takes City to 13 points, replicating last year’s August, and moves them up to third.
Dan Greenslade was perfectly placed to clear Gio Rasulo’s inswinging free-kick on four minutes, awarded after Ollie Wright carried the ball outside his area when sliding to collect.
Wilson recorded the first shot on target when the excellent Luke Russe played the ball over to him, but having cut inside of former Roman Dan Bowry he shot too close to Michael Johnson.
City opened the scoring on 34 minutes. After Tom Smith intercepted Mitch Weiss’ loose pass in midfield, he found Clark on the right whose cross appeared to clip off the shoulder of Wyatt. Referee Emily Heaslip pointed to the spot and Wilson wrong-footed Johnson with the resulting penalty to give the visitors the lead.
The advantage was doubled seven minutes later. Having worked a short corner, Clark’s ball to the near post saw James obstruct his goalkeeper and somehow chest the ball into the ground before watching it bounce over the line.
St Albans searched for a way back after the break with substitute Nathan Carlyle’s well-struck effort from Rasulo’s corner headed away by Russe from near the goalline.
Another corner gave City a moment of panic when Rasulo collected James’ ball back into the box before his strike from an acute angle was batted away by Wright.
On 61 minutes Jordan Thomas somehow worked space inside the penalty area before pulling back to Smith, but he miscued wide from 12 yards.
Ryan Blackman pulled a shot off target when Jack Batten’s attempted pass from defence went straight to the feet of the midfielder on the edge of the box before the Saints were enraged in having a penalty appeal turned down 10 minutes from time.
Weiss’ attempted flick around Parselle saw the ball brush the arm of the City captain but referee Heaslip was unmoved.
James was fortunate to escape punishment when he senselessly floored Clark off the ball, this soon after Weiss appeared to dangerously shove Parselle into the onrushing Wright following Johnson’s long ball forward.
Substitute Shaun Jeffers, scorer of 29 last season, saw his finishing touch elude him in added time when he shot into the ground after Rasulo’s persistence saw him rob Greenslade on the byline.
It was a rare clear opening for the hosts against their well-organised visitors, enabling City to deservedly end their five-match losing spree against the Hertfordshire outfit.
City’s Line-Up: Wright, Greenslade, Dyer, Batten, Parselle (c), Smith, Frear (Hayfield 59), Clark, Thomas (Lines 86), Wilson (Cooke 69), Russe. Subs not used: Raynes, Fletcher.
Scorers: City – Wilson (pen 34), Own Goal (42); St Albans – none
City Bookings: Smith (31), Dyer (82)
Officials: E Heaslip, S Barry, A Kadir