Taunton Town (0) 0 Bath City (1) 2 – Monday 1 April 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Somerset Campervan Company Stadium

Taunton Town (0) 0 Bath City (1) 2 – Monday 1 April 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Somerset Campervan Company Stadium

Match Report by Mark Stillman.

Bath City scored their earliest and latest away goals this season to collect a well-timed win over struggling Taunton Town.

Cody Cooke put the Romans ahead inside three minutes with Jack Bates sealing the success with a fine finish in the closing seconds.

Both sides struggled to play flowing football on a surface evidently struggling in the persistent rain recently.

Ultimately it was a better performance in both boxes which aided City’s success, pushing them back into the play-off places and consigning Taunton to a fifth straight loss.

Jack Batten was reinstalled in defence in a tactical reshuffle, and his first main involvement provided the opener on two and a half minutes.

Receiving the ball from Dan Hayfield on halfway, Batten’s glorious diagonal ball was cushioned beautifully by Cooke in the area, who rapidly fired into the roof of the net from 10 yards past a helpless Lloyd Irish.

Another angled pass nearly led to a second 10 minutes later. Cooke’s delivery saw Cameron Evans’ clearance hit Scott Wilson and run wide of goal for Elliott Frear. With Taunton static, Frear hit the outside of the post on the stretch from a tight angle.

Wilson was denied by Irish having cut inside of former Romans Dan Ball and Lloyd James from Cooke’s telling pass down the left.

Taunton grew back into the game and wasted two good openings to level.

The instrumental Ben Acey reacted quickest to Nat Jarvis’ flick on, rounded Will Buse but was kept out by the covering Jordan Dyer.

Acey was left one-on-one moments later from Seb Bolton’s intelligent reverse ball, but again tried to sidestep the keeper and overran the ball when he should have shot beforehand.

Zak Bell was left with Buse to beat on the angle from Ball’s clearance but the ex-Taunton stopper made himself big and parried.

The second half descended into a slog for both teams on a pitch requiring sand to soak up the rain, proving difficult for both sides.

Evans headed too close to Buse in the final 15 minutes as City’s back three restricted the hosts, who tried in vain but lacked quality to prise the visitors apart.

They were caught on the break in the last minute of five added on.

James’ free-kick was headed away by Dyer and Cooke won a 50-50 on halfway to create an overload.

Hayfield prodded on to Bates who faced by Acey before cutting inside and tremendously curling into the right corner past Irish from 18 yards, confirming all three points.

It gave City four points from six from the Easter weekend and Aveley’s shock defeat at home to Havant & Waterlooville saw them rejoin the top seven in the season’s final month.

Att: 1059

City’s Line-Up: Buse, Raynes (c), Greenslade, Dyer, Batten, Hayfield, Cooke, Smith (Vassell 78), Frear (Bates 64), Idehen, Wilson. Subs not used: Sweeten, Alabi.

Scorers: City – Cooke (3), Bates (90+5); Taunton – none

City Bookings: Buse (82)

Officials: S Pearson, P Collier, W Payne