Romans rally to beat The Terras under the lights
Bath City on the attack against Weymouth in the Vanarama National League South. Photo by: Derry Salter

Coming into the game at Twerton Park, Bath sat 7th in the league having won 3 of their last 4 games; a win here consolidating their place in the play offs as the teams have a weekend off of league action for the FA Cup second qualifying round.

Weymouth meanwhile have been on a downward slide since their relegation from the National League last season, and have not won yet picking up just 2 points so far in what is a completely new look team for David Oldfield.

Story of the match

The pre-match teas had barely had time to cool when Bath took the lead in the third minute. Cody Cooke, adopting a wide-left role in the first half, battled down the flank before squaring to Alex Fletcher who had the freedom of North Somerset to take his time and calmly slot home his 5th goal of the season past debutant Ryan Sandford.

Weymouth’s start was matching their league position, not able to match Bath’s intensity in possession and a second goal came on the 8th minute. Tom Smith was able to wriggle into space before laying off to Cooke who stepped inside and curled a fine shot into the far corner – his 7th of the season.

The Romans threatened to add a quick third through Dan Hayfield but his shot was well held by Sandford. This seemed to wake up The Terras who gained more of a foothold in the game, mainly attacking down the left through Bournemouth loanee Noa Boutin who paraded his flank as an advanced wing-back. He firstly lashed a shot just past the upright before minutes later fizzing a cross onto the head of Tom Blair who could only glance wide.

Boutin then stung the palms of Bath’s goalkeeper Joe Wright who got down well to save a low drive, but could do nothing about the left back’s shot just minutes later which, if not for Danny Greenslade on the line, would have reduced arrears.

Once again, it was Weymouth who looked more likely to score just before the interval. Blair’s cross being parried away by Wright into the path of Keelan O’Connell just yards from goal but somehow, he couldn’t connect with the ball.

The second half saw Bath start with the same intensity as they did in the first. Tom Smith’s cut back was dangerously sliced towards his own goal by Nathan Carlyle that could have gone anywhere but ended up in the gloves of the thankful Sandford. Then, Alex Fletcher weaved through three defenders in Maradona-esque style but could not convert the opportunity.

In the 52nd minute, it was Weymouth who struck the first blow of the second half. Matty Burrows was bundled over in the box attempting to head a looping cross which the referee pointed to the spot for. Bradley Ash saw his spot kick excellently saved by Wright but was able to stab home the rebound to half the deficit.

This saw momentum swing firmly into the favour of the Dorset side, controlling possession, but not creating many clear-cut chances with The Romans able to defend resolutely like the battalions of their namesakes.

The last 20 minutes then became a battle of the keepers – both on loan from Millwall at their respective clubs. First, Ash shot from distance which was well held by Wright before at the other end, Jordan Dyer was able to glance a free kick goal bound only for Sandford to tip wide. Then came arguably one of the finest saves you’ll see at any level this season; Ash again found space in the box to head towards goal, only for Wright to somehow tip the header onto the bar and away to safety. One of those where Weymouth could tell it was not their night.

The 90th minute saw Bath break clear finding Fletcher one on one against Boutin, with Fletcher just winning the ball before being tripped and fouled inside the box. Penalty Bath. Cody Cooke stepped up to double his tally, and Bath’s advantage, but saw his spot kick firstly saved by Sandford, before the Weymouth man somehow kept the ball out of 2 efforts from Fletcher and another from Chris Lines.  

Bath did not need the extra goal however and clung on for a third straight home win. Weymouth’s winless run continues, and both sides will look to progress in the FA Cup at the weekend against lower league opponents.

 

Star man- Joe Wright

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