Bath City View
December 13, 2014
(This Match Report is adapted from the article in the Bath Chronicle. Their headline talks of a sensational triumph by the Romans.)
MATCH REPORT: Bristol Rovers 0 Bath City 2 (Hemmings 68, Artus 71)
Bath City produced one of the most famous victories in their 125-year history as they deservedly dumped Bristol Rovers out of the FA Trophy at the Memorial Stadium.
Goals from the excellent Chas Hemmings and Frankie Artus in the space of three second-half minutes did the damage against a Rovers side who never lived up to their lofty position in the Vanarama Conference.
The full-timers were wasteful in the final third and paid a high price as City fashioned by far the better chances and also had a strong penalty appeal turned down.
Rovers were booed off by their fans in a crowd of 3,505 while the 404 who made the trip from Bath prepared to celebrate long into the night.
City recalled Hemmings, Chris Allen and leading scorer Dave Pratt following the previous week’s defeat to St Albans, with former Rovers defender Pat Keary, Nick McCootie and Ben Adelsbury joining Ross Stearn on the bench.
Allen was gifted a chance in the second minute when Tom Parkes failed to clear his lines but fired over the top and into the bank of Rovers fans behind the goal.
Pratt then won a corner off the same player and Frankie Artus’ right-wing delivery curled straight into the far corner of the net. Referee Adam Hopkins ruled Rovers keeper Fabian Spiess had been fouled, however, and the visitors’ celebrations were short-lived.
City certainly bossed the first ten minutes against their illustrious hosts and went even closer when Andy Watkins broke down the left and Pratt just failed to bundle home his cross under pressure, with the visiting players appealing in vain for a penalty.
Rovers’ first real chance arrived just before the 15-minute mark when Matty Taylor freed Angelo Balanta on the right and Nathan Blissett was unable to turn in the winger’s cross.
The big Rovers forward then skewed a first-time effort wide after his side attacked down the same flank but City were more than holding their own, with Hemmings looking particularly good in the midfield anchor role.
Rovers began to settle, finally, and Taylor planted a header wide from Lee Brown’s cross before Dave Martin’s right-wing corner was deflected behind as Blissett met it at the near post. Parkes was left with a free header when Martin delivered the ball from the opposite flank but made a hash of the chance and City survived.
Balanta then headed over when Brown again escaped Sekani Simpson on the left but Rovers could not make their possession tell and almost got caught when Ashley Kington released Watkins and his centre from the right was cleared behind for a fruitless corner with Pratt lurking.
Rovers enjoyed plenty of the ball as the half drew to a close but Phil Walsh and Dan Ball stood firm and City deservedly went in at half-time on level terms.
Blissett was replaced up front by on-loan Luton striker Alex Wall at half-time and Rovers fashioned a golden opportunity two minutes after the restart when Martin’s deep cross from the left found Balanta all alone but he completely mistimed his header.
City should have taken the lead in the 53rd minute, however, when Artus’ superb pass found Gallinagh on the overlap. The City skipper took his time before centring for Watkins but the ex-Truro man dithered over his finish and Spiess was able to make the block.
Hemmings was still probing well from deep and tried a speculative 30-yarder that whistled a few yards wide as the Rovers defence backed off.
Wall then became the second Rovers player booked after Ollie Clarke when he clattered into Walsh, who was able to carry on after treatment to his ankle.
Rovers were still wasteful in the final third and Martin took a heavy touch after being sent clear through the middle by Taylor’s sublime turn and pass. It was the winger’s last action as he was replaced by Jake Gosling soon afterwards.
Either side of the substitution, Balanta lifted a shot over and flicked a header wide from Brown’s cross.
At the other end, Watkins went down under the challenge of Parkes but referee Hopkins waved away City’s appeals for a penalty – much to the displeasure of the noisy 404-strong travelling army.
But they were in dreamland in the 68th minute. Simpson won a corner off the legs of a defender on the right and Artus again swung it into the danger zone. Chaos ensued in the Rovers box and the ball somehow found its way over the line, with Hemmings announced as the scorer and the City players running to congratulate the taker.
There was no doubt about who scored the second three minutes later, though. Daniel Leadbitter coughed up possession inside his own box under pressure from Pratt, whose dinked cross was headed past Spiess by Artus.
The former Hereford man was injured in the process but recovered to rejoin the fray.
City saw out the final 19 minutes without serious alarm despite efforts from substitute Bradley Goldberg, Ollie Clarke and Stuart Sinclair and the final whistle – when it finally came – saw scenes of jubilation from the travelling contingent.
BRISTOL ROVERS: Spiess, Leadbitter, Brown, Parkes, Clarke, Taylor (Goldberg 72), Trotman, Martin (Gosling 62), Sinclair, Blissett (Wall 46), Balanta. Subs not used: McChrystal, Harrison.
BATH CITY: Mellor, Simpson, Gallinagh, Ball, Walsh, Hemmings, Watkins (McCootie 79), Allen, Pratt (Stearn 82), Kington (Adelsbury 86), Artus. Subs not used: Bowman, Keary.
Referee: Adam Hopkins.
Attendance: 3,505 (404 away fans).