Westbury United (0) 1 Bath City (0) 1 – Saturday 22 July 2023 – Pre-Season Friendly – Platinum Hyundai Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Steve Hulbert’s last minute own goal saw Bath City claim a fourth draw in six pre-season games.
The Westbury United defender, brother of joint-manager Ricky, inadvertently headed debutant Ewan Clark’s ball behind his own goalkeeper to earn a Romans a draw, in a game they largely dominated.
Ed Baldy saved Cody Cooke’s first half penalty before Hulbert emphatically converted from the spot early in the second half.
The Step 4 outfit looked to have coped with a lot of late pressure before one lapse cost them victory.
At a game arranged last minute with a midday kick-off, City started the brighter in dank conditions.
Jordan Thomas dragged wide early on before Kieran Parselle’s foray forward from the back concluded in a cross which Cooke headed back across goal to Clark, who couldn’t get his body fully behind it with Baldy making a comfortable save.
After Westbury failed to fully clear a Clark corner, Smith’s drive was deflected behind by Ronnie Frost with goalkeeper wrong-footed.
Further City probing led to a penalty on 35 minutes. Hulbert took a touch too many in the box and was robbed by Thomas before tripping the Romans attacker.
The usually reliable Cooke stepped up but Baldy guessed correctly, diving to his left to palm out the spot-kick.
Westbury struggled to make inroads in the first half but made a positive start to the second.
Jack Batten did well to shovel Hulbert’s teasing ball over his own crossbar and having only half cleared Ryan Bole’s delivery, City contrived to concede a 50th minute penalty.
Jake Hutchings’ hopeful ball forward saw Ashton Shanley attempt to fend off Ben Morgan, but the defender appeared to slip and collide with the home midfielder, with referee Adam Gregory awarding a second spot-kick of the afternoon.
Hulbert’s execution was unstoppable, the full-back rifling into the roof of the net to give Ollie Wright no chance.
The hosts’ insistence of playing from the back nearly cost them midway through the half as Ben Griffiths lost possession to Clark, whose squared pass to Scott Wilson saw his low drive deflected inches wide by Josiah Dunstan.
Jerry Gill switched from a back three to four and the adjustment saw his side look far livelier against a tiring home side.
Smith’s strike needed smart reflexes from Baldy and Thomas’ majestic footwork preceded a pull back for Jordan Dyer but on the stretch his attempt was cleared from near the line.
Thomas’ trickery saw him create an opening for himself but his resulting shot curled harmlessly off target.
Smith shanked over before the pressure finally told, albeit thanks to Westbury being architects of their own downfall.
From City’s 11th corner, Chris Lines and Dan Greenslade combined to allow Clark to loop the ball into the box, where Hulbert unintentionally headed the ball behind his onrushing goalkeeper to make it 1-1 with the clock approaching 90.
It was the least City deserved against the well-organised Wiltshire side as they enter the final week of pre-season preparations.
City’s Line-Up: Wright; Batten, Morgan (Dyer 74), Parselle (c) (Hayfield 62); Raynes, Smith, Russe (Lines 74), Greenslade; Clark, Thomas; Cooke (Wilson 66). Subs not used: Frear, Robinson.
Scorers: City – Own Goal (90); Westbury – S Hulbert (pen 50)
City Bookings: none
Referee: Adam Gregory