Torquay United (0) 1 Bath City (0) 0 – Vanarama National League South – Tuesday 7 August 2018 – Plainmoor
Former boss Gary Owers came back to haunt Jerry Gill’s Bath City by the slenderest of margins as Torquay United triumphed at an atmospheric Plainmoor. Liam Davis’ 80th minute drive separated the sides, but the Romans will feel mightily unfortunate to leave Devon with nothing having more than matched their full-time opponents.
Torquay nearly got off to a dream start. Jack Batten’s miscontrol in defence was seized upon by Jamie Reid, who squared it to Brett Williams, but the Gulls captain blazed over with just Ryan Clarke to beat. It helped awaken City as they frustrated the Gulls, who made mistakes aplenty much to the chagrin of their supporters. A sliced clearance from Jean-Yves Koue Niate fell kindly to John Mills, but the frontman, recalled in place of Ryan Brunt, dragged his shot wide. Williams sent a header onto the top of Clarke’s crossbar after Asa Hall’s hanging cross in a half of few chances.
City came flying out of the traps in the second half and enjoyed their best spell of the game. On 49 minutes, Adam Mann’s corner saw Shaun MacDonald punch the ball back towards his own goal, but Mills somehow missed the target from a yard out. Torquay were pegged back, relying on Jakub Sokolik’s intervention to prevent Sean Rigg’s slaloming run through the hosts’ midfield, before Watkins went a step closer. Ross Stearn’s driven cross from the left was met by the head of the Cornishman, but he sent the ball crashing against the bar with MacDonald beaten. Not opening the scoring in this period proved costly as Torquay forced a few set-pieces, leaving Bath to endure some nervy moments. Niate failed to fully connect with Ryan Dickson’s dangerous delivery, and Sokolik nudged the ball wide after another teasing cross from Dickson. On the counter, Mills’ hesitation proved costly when he sprung the offside trap, but Ben Wynter’s timely intervention snuffed him out. It was another defender who had the last laugh. Keating, nephew of popstar Ronan, drove a cross in and despite the efforts of Joe Raynes and Frankie Artus, Davis thrashed the ball into the corner, his first goal for almost five years. It killed the game, as for all City’s efforts, an equaliser seemed unlikely. Having kept a clean sheet at Chelmsford on Saturday to earn a point, Owers’ back five again proved vital to leave Gill, and his players, dejected at the outcome.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke, Straker (c), Batten, Watkins (Brunt 82), Rigg, Mills, Stearn, Mann (Artus 78), Cundy, Raynes, Morton. Subs not used: Richards, Ball, Hodges.
Scorers: City – none; Torquay – Davis (80)
City Bookings: Batten (90)
Officials: J Durkin, C Rea, S Jenkins