Wealdstone 1 Bath City 3
Wealdstone’s proud eleven match unbeaten run came to an emphatic end at The Vale on Saturday when Bath City outplayed the hosts with a fine first half performance and they now move into the next round of the FA Trophy.
An unfortunate defensive error after only one minute allowed City to snatch a goal via the lively Andy Watkins and their tails were immediately up; they took a grip on the first half that was never really threatened despite a good response from Stones who hit back with an equaliser as soon 5 minutes later from midfielder Elliott Godfrey’s header.
Stones had a brief spell of possession after they levelled matters up from Richard Jolly’s assist to scorer Godfrey but City soon restored their overall dominance, and, after they hit the bar they regained the lead in a fast and furious passage of play.
On 22 minutes forward Andy Kington gave Vanarama Player of the Month Jonathan North no chance with a crisp shot from close range with Wealdstone’s defence being run ragged.
Stones did keep plugging away though and Richard Jolly’s run went unrewarded when Scott McGleish couldn’t get the touch he needed.
With the home side still under consistent pressure City netted again with what proved to be the killer third goal seven minutes before the break. After another scramble in the Wealdstone box the ball looked to have been cleared but Frankie Artus found space to arrow a clean strike into the bottom corner. The half ended with a decent opportunity for Stones but Skipper Wes Parker’s header was comfortably held by City keeper Jason Mellor.
With a two goal cushion to protect the second period saw Bath content to sit back and play on the counter whilst Stones worked tremendously hard to reduce the arrears. The pivotal moment came on 61 minutes. Shaun Lucien, who had previously struggled to beat his man, ghosted past several defenders and his great cross looked certain to give McGleish a goal, but the veteranstriker headed agonisingly wide of the far post and with it the best chance for his side to get back into the tie.
Stones continued to enjoy far greater possession but they couldn’t make the breakthrough despite a four man attack including centre half Sean Cronin in the closing stages.
After the match City’s Director of Football Aidie Britton said: ‘We knew it would be a tough game today after the recent league match defeat to Stones but we played exceptionally well in the first half and dominated in difficult conditions. We expected an onslaught in the second period but it didn’t really materialise as we had control in the midfield. Progression in the Trophy is important to us financially and we look forward to a good draw in the next round.’
A disappointed Wealdstone Manager, Gordon Bartlett said: ‘A defensive error in the first minute put us completely on the back foot despite a good response with the equaliser. I thought we looked flat and unconvincing all over the park today. We lost out on the other two goals because we didn’t close them down effectively and our ball retention was poor but at least we picked up and looked brighter in the second half, but Scott’s miss at a vital time was crucial. A true test of character now will be for us to go on another run.’
Wealdstone: North, Martin, Watts, Parker, Cronin, Godrey, Lucien, Ball, McGleish, Jolly, O’Nien Subs used: Wright, Hammond, Turner. Not used: Brown, Carter (GK)
William Hill MoM: Luke O’Nien