Bath City 3 Winchester City 2
Winchester City exited the F A Cup after a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Bath City in the second qualifying round of the competition, a round they were playing in for the fifth time in seven seasons. They were one of only eight teams from their division of 20 clubs to reach this stage in the current campaign and of these only three survived, but this trio were all playing against teams from the same level or lower.
In this battle between two cathedral cities Winchester showed great resilience in coming back from a goal behind after two minutes to lead 2-1 at the interval and although Bath City scored two goals in the second half without reply it took a couple of wonder saves from Bath's 38 year old goalkeeper and captain Ryan Clarke to keep them out. Clarke is a former Eastleigh goalkeeper who has played in the football league for five clubs, while their other player known to local football fans is Lloyd James who played regularly for Southampton in the championship during the 2008/09 season.
Winchester fielded the same starting line-up for the fourth successive game and the five substitutes on the bench on Tuesday were all among the seven that filled that role on Saturday which also included Reece Rusher and Joe Hayward.
Winchester however fell behind in the 2nd minute when a cross on the right from Callum Evans was converted by Tommy Conway. Evans then forces a save from Philpott, but a great attempt by Jamie Barron almost produces a goal for Winchester when he sees Ryan Clarke off his line and tries to lob him, but his effort ends up on the roof of the net.
Both Conway and Tyrell Mitford force saves from the opposing goalkeepers and Conway also has a shot that is narrowly wide, but in a very open end to the first half in which Josh Davies also comes on for Rob Flooks Winchester incredibly score twice to lead at the interval, Firstly in the 39th minute Bath's Frankie Artus can only deflect a Jamie Barron corner into his own net and then Tyrell Mitford breaks clear and scores from close range ily n the final minute of the half. There was other goalmouth action in the latter stages of the half, but the most important thing for Winchester was they had the lead at the halfway stage.
Early in the second half Ryan Harley sets up Conway who forces a good save from Philpott, but Winchester almost increase their lead when Clarke makes an excellent save from Jamie Barron's free kick which seemed on it's way to the bottom corner of the goal. it also required a goal line block from Jason Pope to deny Ollie Balmer.
On the hour Bath make two substitutions and midway through the half go three at the back in search of a leveller. The game becomes very end to end with Balmer coming close for the visitors and Philpott making another save to deny Conway.
However in the 72nd minute Bath draw level with a goal similar to their first with Evans crossing from the right and Conway scoring from close range at the near post. A Freddie Grant volley from a further Evans cross hits the side netting.
The game continued to be end to end with Josh McCormick forcing Ryan Clarke to save at the expense of a corner and then shooting wide from the resulting corner kick. At the other end Evans has an effort deflected wide, while Artus forces a save from Philpott.
In the 86th minute substitute Tom Richards restores Bath's lead with a shot that had an element of good fortune as the ball took a deflection past Philpott.
Philpott made a further save from Harley in the final minute of normal time, with Winchester having by then bought on Graeme Purdy and Reece Rusher as substitutes with the changes being made in the final 10 minutes. Right at the end though Clarke makes his best save of the afternoon to deny Balmer. However in wet conditions Winchester could be proud of their efforts in a pulsating F A Cup tie with Bath acknowledging how well their opponents had played. Young h's striker Tommy Conway who scored two of Bath's goals is on a season long loan from Bristol City.
On Saturday Winchester are at home to Evesham.
Bath City play in the National League South and have a great F A Cup tradition with six appearances in the F A Cup 3rd round proper and victories in the competition against Crystal Palace, Millwall and Cardiff City. Last season Bath reached the playoffs in their league, but lost to Dorking Wanderers.
At the end of the 1977/78 season as Southern League champions they took part in the voting for a place in the football league and finished three votes behind Wigan Athletic who were elected that season. The best known players to represent the club are former Southampton captain Jason Dodd, former Arsenal winger Alan Skirton, Tony Book who captained Manchester City in the late 1960's and early 1970's when they won four major trophies in three years, former Welsh international Paul Bodin and former England international Bobby Zamora,