Adelsbury 74’, Hemmings 87’; Sommers 37’, Haddock 81’
Kick Off: Saturday October 11, 2014 15:00
Competition: FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
Bath City extended their unbeaten run to 8 games but will face a reply at Shortwood United on Tuesday night after a 2-2 draw in the FA Cup 3rd qualifying round at Twerton Park. Despite playing in the 8th tier of English football, Shortwood twice took the lead and were only denied another famous cup result by a curling left-footed strike from man of the match Chas Hemmings in the 87th minute.
In a tight opening to the game, both sides cancelled each other out and despite both forcing a number of corners, few chances were created. The only major chance in the first 20 minutes fell to City centre-back Dan Ball, but the defender could only hit the ball straight at Shortwood keeper Tom King.
As the game progressed, City started to enjoy the lion’s share of possession with Shortwood content to soak up pressure and try and play on the counter attack. Despite their possession, the home side still struggled to create any clear cut opportunities. Ben Adelsbury shot wide with an effort from 25 yards and Dave Pratt also fired wide after being picked out by left-back Andy Gallinagh while right-back Sekani Simpson also failed to test King with a shot from the edge of the box.
Despite the lack of possession, Shortwood caught Bath napping and grabbed the lead in the 37th minute. After build up down their left-hand side, winger Matthew Bennett crossed to the back post where lone striker Lewis Sommers nodded home. The goal seemed to settle Shortwood down and after more good work by Bennett, Tim Haddock shot wide from the edge of the area in a strong end to the half from the visitors.
Bath came out for the second half with greater intent and only a last ditch interception from Shortwood centre-half Jake Lee denied Kyle Patten a shot on goal after Andy Watkins and Pratt had combined down the Bath left. Despite this, head coach Lee Howells decided to make an early change with midfielder Patten being sacrificed for the more attacking Ross Stearn. The change nearly paid dividends straight away with Stearn’s first touch being a 30 yard free-kick that forced King into a fine save.
However, with Shortwood only interested in defending their slender lead and placing everyone behind the ball except for goal scorer Sommers, Bath were finding it hard to create any chances. With misplaced passes interrupting their progress and the fans becoming increasingly frustrated, it appeared the game might peter out into a disappointing conclusion.
The home side’s possession dominance finally started to tell though and the match sprang into life with 20 minutes remaining. City created their first clear-cut chance of the half when after good work down the left-hand side, Watkins picked out Hemmings, but his header went straight at keeper King. Bath further increased the pressure and King made a superb save to deny central midfielder Ashley Kington after a mistake from United captain Ashley Williams. City were not to be stopped though, and from the resulting corner Hemmings headed against the bar before Ben Adelsbury prodded home the rebound.
With Shortwood’s legs tiring, City went in search of a second, but poor control let Kington down when well placed. The visitors still looked dangerous on the break though, and only a fine double save from keeper Jason Mellor, first from substitute Dominique Njoya and then from goal scorer Sommers kept the home side level. With Bath at sixes and sevens at the back, Sommers had another good chance but was once again denied by Mellor before the visitors did retake the lead moments later. With City once again horribly exposed, Sommers played the ball to substitute and ex Bath player Josh Egan, whose cross-shot found Haddock unmarked 6 yards out and the midfielder stroked the ball past Mellor.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, City upped the ante in search of a second equaliser. First Lee made an incredible block from an unmarked Pratt shot and then Stearn and Watkins linked up well only to be denied by more United bodies. The home side were not to be denied though, and 3 minutes from time, the ball fell to Hemmings on the edge of the box who curled a delightful left-footed shot into the top hand corner of the net to give the home side a deserved leveller.
There was still more drama to come though, when in added time, Haddock and Njoya combined to lay the ball off for Matthew Bennett who fired against the City post with keeper Mellor stranded.