Solomon (OG) 19’, McCootie 62’, Keary 71’, Pratt 89’
Kick Off: Saturday November 15, 2014 15:00
Competition: Vanarama Conference South
Bath City moved up to 11th place in the Vanarama Conference South with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over ten-man Maidenhead United at Twerton Park.
Maidenhead, boasting former Premier League striker DJ Campbell in their line-up started the brighter with Danny Green cutting inside from the right-hand side before shooting wide from 15 yards and Eddie Hutchinson heading over from 6 yards. This early 5 minute spell was to be their best of the game though, as Bath then started to dominate proceedings. The home side created their first clear chance of the game when Nick McCootie turned his marker on the edge of the area before squaring the ball to Frankie Artus, whose first time effort was only denied due to a fine block from the Maidenhead defence. Artus tried his luck again a few minutes later with an effort from 25 yards before the home side did take the lead in the 19th minute. Dave Pratt put Andy Watkins through one-on-one with goalkeeper Will Britt who saved Watkins’ initial effort with his feet. However, Watkins headed the rebound back across the 6-yard box where the retreating right-back Leon Solomon could only head into his own net despite being under little pressure.
The goal seemed to settle the home side and they then started to take full control of the match. Simpson, still suffering from the shock of conceding the own goal tripped Watkins 20 yards out but Artus could only hit the wall with the resulting free-kick. City then forced a flurry of corners, but the closest they came to scoring a second was when Chris Allen’s cross from the left hand side evaded everyone and struck the bottom of the post.
Maidenhead were then forced into an unfortunate early change, when 5 minutes before half time top scorer Dave Tarpey sustained a shoulder injury after a clumsy challenge from Artus. After the slight delay due to Tarpey’s injury, Bath finished the half with a flourish and created three further openings. First, McCootie found space on the edge of the area, only to be denied by a last ditch tackle and the rebound fell to Andy Watkins whose shot was blocked. Artus then tried his luck from 30 yards with a dipping effort before McCootie beat centre back Mark Nisbet down the right hand side but elected to shoot at the near post when squaring to a team-mate would have been the better option.
A second substitution and change of formation at half-time seemed to settle Maidenhead down, and they controlled possession at the start of the second half. The visitors appeared to lack the required cutting edge though and the closest they came to an equaliser was when substitute Connor Waldon shot wide from 20 yards.
The match then sprang into life in the 62nd minute when Bath doubled the lead through Nick McCootie. Good build up play by the home side allowed Dave Pratt to find some space on the right hand side of the area and his cross was volleyed home by strike partner McCootie. Just two minutes later, Maidenhead’s task became even harder when Harry Pritchard was shown a straight red card following an off the ball incident with Dan Bowman. The anonymous DJ Campbell was then substituted, before Bath added a third through central defender Pat Keary’s first goal for the club after keeper Britt spilled a corner.
With the home side now full of confidence, they went looking for a fourth with man of the match Chas Hemmings trying his luck from 35 yards and substitute Ross Stearn having a 25 yard effort deflected wide. Phil Walsh then made his return to league action after injury before Dave Pratt completed Bath’s biggest victory of the season in the 89th minute by lifting the ball over Britt after a fine through ball by Ashley Kington. The victory extended Bath’s unbeaten run to four games with their next fixture being at home against 7th placed Gosport Borough on Tuesday night.