Bath City held at home in Bore draw
MATCH REPORT: Bath City 0 Boreham Wood 0
By Neil Beck
Bath City were involved in their first goalless draw for 20 months as they were held by Boreham Wood on an uneventful afternoon at Mayday Trust Park.
The home side enjoyed the best of the first period, with Kurtis Guthrie and Chris Allen going closest to breaking the deadlock, but looked limited going forward after the break and the fifth-placed Hertfordshire side were good value for their point in the end.
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City's lowest home gate of the season – 508 – had to endure a scrappy affair and a 0-0 scoreline, last recorded by the hosts when Luton Town visited way back in January 2011, looked the inevitable outcome from the hour mark onwards.
Boss Adie Britton handed recalls to Noah Keats in midfield and Mark Preece at the back, with Marc Canham and hamstring injury victim Joe Burnell making way.
The hosts threatened inside the first minute when Guthrie was fouled on the left of the area but Luke Cummings' free-kick was easily cleared.
Nervy-looking Boreham Wood keeper James Russell gave City plenty of hope in the first period, setting the tone when he fumbled a right-wing cross from Cummings.
Cliff Akurang glanced a header over the top from Greg Morgan's free-kick at the other end but it was City who gradually got on top after a quiet start. They almost broke the deadlock when Guthrie had a towering downward header from Aaron Brown's right-wing corner stopped on the line by Graeme Montgomery.
Boreham Wood were forced to make an early change when Ben Jefford replaced former Swindon and Bristol Rovers man Jerel Ifil at the back and the substitute should have done better with a free far-post header just five minutes after entering the fray, nodding onto the roof of the net after being left unmarked from David Hutton's right-wing delivery.
That was as close as the visitors came before the break as City forced them onto the back foot. Guthrie's 25-yard snap-shot was only parried by Russell and Brown was denied by a defender's block when he attempted to force the loose ball home.
Allen had a dipping free-kick from the edge of the area tipped behind by Russell following a trip on Adam Connolly, with Charlie Griffin heading the resulting corner from Cummings over the bar.
Connolly then had a long-range effort blocked by Guthrie, who was in an offside position, before Boreham Wood skipper Mark Jones was booked on the stroke of half-time for illegally halting Cummings' promising burst down the right.
Montgomery fired over after a forceful run into the City box presented him with the first chance of the second period but Boreham Wood looked fortunate to survive a strong penalty shout in the 55th minute. Griffin met Brown's long throw with a goalbound volley but, although the ball appeared to hit Callum Reynolds' hands, referee Anthony Coggins waved away the hosts' appeals.
Brown's fierce, low free-kick from the right following Jones' foul on Guthrie was smothered behind by Russell as Griffin waited to pounce. Guthrie then volleyed another Brown throw wide of the target before overhitting a cross from the left following a strong run from the back by the former Bristol City man.
Boreham Wood were enjoying far more possession in City's half than they had in the first 45 minutes, though, and it took a fine save from Glyn Garner to push wide Akurang's diving header from a right-wing Omer Riza centre.
Kerry Morgan entered the fray after Allen limped off with 73 minutes to go and the popular winger injected some pace to City's sluggish attacking play on the left. Danny Ball then came on for Gethin Jones and Brad Norris for Griffin as an increasingly tedious stalemate entered its closing stages.
Ball got his head to Morgan's left-wing corner as City tried to fashion a late winner, but his effort drifted wide of the far post.
Boreham Wood kept them at arm's length, however, while the hosts rarely looked in danger of surrendering their clean sheet at the other end.
Jim Rollo was booked for hauling down tall visiting substitute Inih Effiong as he broke forward from a City corner in the fourth minute of stoppage time, the skipper sustaining a knock in the process, but the resulting free-kick from Montgomery was blocked by the wall.
Bath City: Garner, Cummings, Brown, G Jones (Ball 81), Preece, Rollo, Allen (K Morgan 73), Keats, Griffin (Norris 84), Guthrie, Connolly. Subs not used: Canham, Harris.
Boreham Wood: Russell, Close, M Jones, G Morgan (Hastings 84), Ifil (Jefford 19), Reynolds, Hutton, Isaac, Akurang, Riza (Effiong 89), Montgomery. Subs not used: Scott-Morris, Baker-Owers.
Referee: Anthony Coggins (Bicester).