Citizens succumb to Romans
National League South side, Bath City, left it late, but eventually overcame Southern League Division One South iside, Winchester City, 3-2 at Twerton Park in the Second Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup, writes Matt Richbell.
Due to the Romans being a Step Two club, they are classified as Elite and therefore the game was played behind-closed-doors at their home ground.
For Bath City, it was their first competitive game unlike their opponents who were taking part in their fifth competitive fixture and aiming for a fifth successive victory. However, the Romans started brightly and went ahead after just two minutes. Callum Evans sent a dangerous delivery into the box and Bristol City loanee, Tommy Conway, fired Bath into the lead, giving Charlie Philpott no chance. Winchester City grew into the game as the half progressed, and skipper Jamie Barron, came close to an equaliser on 28 minutes when he saw Ryan Clarke off his line, but his 40-yard effort landed on top of the goal just missing the target. City continued to exert pressure and were rewarded for their efforts on 39 minutes. Barron sent a dangerous delivery into the box and former Bristol City defender, Frankie Artus, inadvertently headed the ball beyond his own keeper. Shortly before half-time, Tyrell Mitford latched on to a through ball and beat his man before firing low through Ryan Clarke's legs to put City ahead at the interval.
Bath started the second-half brightly, as they did the first. Once again Tommy Conway was involved, with his effort well saved by Phipott. The Citizens went down the other end and Rob Carr was fouled on the edge of the box. Jamie Barron took the free-kick, but his low effort was well saved by Clarke. Olly Balmer and Kieran Douglas both came close to doubling Winchester City's advantage but they were unable to do so as they looked to wrap up the tie. Bath City drew level on 72 minutes, when Tommy Conway scored his second of the game. Josh McCormick then twice came close to restoring Winchester City's lead. His first effort was well saved and his follow up shot went wide. Bath then went down the other end and restored their lead. Tom Richards saw his goalbound effort beat Philpott with the aid of a massive deflection. Winchester City had a chance in the dying stages of the match, but Ollie Balmer's wonderfully executed strike was superbly saved by experienced goalkeeper, Ryan Clarke.
Bath City move in to the draw of the Third Qualifying Round, whilst Winchester City will put their focus back on to their unbeaten league start with a trip to local rivals, AFC Totton.