WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE,
SAY WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE!
Sure, we’re just four games into the 2019/20 season, but why not celebrate these moments when you can?
Thanks to Bath City’s commanding 2-1 win over Hungerford Town on Tuesday night, the Romans find themselves top of the Vanarama National League South pile heading into the next weekend of fixtures.
Camila and I were in attendance – my second consecutive home game, Camila’s first of the new campaign. We changed things up a bit by standing on the opposite side of the pitch to where we usually station ourselves; this evening we chose a spot in front of the main grandstand, behind the Bath City bench. We could hear Jerry Gill and Jim Rollo issuing their instructions to the players and Camila, president of the Ryan Brunt Colombian fan club, was happy she could be so close to her guy as he did his stretches.
Bath had the run of things in the first half, dominant in possession and steadily pulling the Hungerford defence apart. City ‘keeper James Pardington had little to worry about in goal, making his home debut at Twerton Park after keeping a clean sheet away to Welling on Saturday. The 18 year-old was recently brought to Bath on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, as captain Ryan Clarke is still recovering from injury. Pardington, who surely gets asked for ID in every pub in the country, looked composed and in control all night, despite his youthful features. I couldn’t help but think he looked a lot like Mike from Stranger Things at a distance.
Bath’s control of the game, dictated by the energetic battery in midfield that is Tom Smith, finally brought them the goal they needed to help settle the nerves.
Centre back Harvey Smith connected with a Connor Riley-Lowe corner and after a mix-up between goalkeeper and defence, the ball managed to work it’s way over the line to give the Romans a deserved 1-0 advantage to take into half time.
The start of the second half saw fan favourite Ross Stearn introduced and it was the veteran forward who doubled City’s lead after 64 minutes.
Central midfielder Harry Hamblin (who enjoyed his best game for Bath since I’ve seen him) struck a long range effort with enough force that the Hungerford goalkeeper could only parry it directly to Stearn, and he made no mistake putting the opportunity away to increase City’s lead to 2-0.
Bath had further chances, particularly when Brunt was introduced with just over 20 minutes remaining, but weren’t able to add to their tally. Still, they did look on course to coast home with their clean sheet intact, but a 90th minute Hungerford goal by Kofi Halliday provided us with a nervy finish in the stands.
City were not to be the denied the three points however, and held on for the victory to go top of the table.
At the final whistle I could see Jerry Gill walk across to Hungerford boss Ian Herring, but after their handshake tempers flared, with Herring apparently taken aback at the force of Gill’s handshake technique (I can only assume). Despite a couple of physical challenges in the match, there was nothing Herring had to complain about, so I don’t understand why he was so agitated – Herring was being a bit of gobshite to the referee and his assistants most of the game to be honest, so maybe he was just in the mood.
Regardless, we stayed to applaud the City players off the pitch. It was another professional performance from Gill’s side, and all the more remarkable considering the squad is missing some key players. To their credit the new lads have stepped up, and look completely at home already.
We’ll be back soon to follow the Romans once more.