Griffin penalty saves Bath City's blushes in Gosport Cup clash
Match report: BATH CITY 1 (Griffin, pen 86) GOSPORT BOROUGH 1 (Wooden 78)
By Harry Abbott
Charlie Griffin's late penalty saved Bath City's blushes to book an FA Cup third qualifying round replay with Evo-Stik League Southern Premier visitors Gosport Borough.
A week after the dour Blue Square Bet South clash with Boreham Wood, Mayday Trust Park was treated to another lacklustre encounter. Adie Britton's side dominated much of the contest but a lack of quality in the final third meant they did not deserve to finish on top.
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The visitors were even more limited in front of goal but Daniel Wooden gave them an unlikely lead late in the second half. Substitute Griffin ensured City got a second chance to progress at Privett Park on Tuesday, however, when Jamie Brown was penalised for a handball in the box four minutes from time.
Last season's top scorer Sean Canham returned to City on a three-month deal from Hereford last week and went straight into the hosts' line-up. And it was the on-loan striker who had the game's first chance.
City goalkeeper Glyn Garner sent a long ball down field and Canham collected, turned Brett Poate on the edge of the box but the diving Nathan Ashmore kept him out with a fingertip save.
Strike partner Kurtis Guthrie was next to threaten for the hosts, rounding Ashmore after collecting Kerry Morgan's through ball but Lee Molyneaux got back to clear the danger.
Gosport were limited to long-range efforts from Luke King and Justin Bennett, while the Morgan-Guthrie combination fashioned out another chance late in the first half but the latter's looping header failed to trouble Ashmore.
The visitors' best chance fell to Bennett soon after the restart when he climbed highest to meet a deep cross from Daniel Woodward and, had he not headed straight into Garner's body, the deadlock would surely have been broken.
At the other end, Guthrie was again thwarted by Ashmore with a back-post snap-shot but City looked at their best once Griffin came on to replace Canham. The duo were quickly on the same wavelength and causing problems to the visiting defence.
Against the run of play, however, Gosport somehow found themselves in front. Wooden muscled his way between Joe Burnell and Gethin Jones to meet Woodward's cross and head past Garner.
Despite the setback, the home side were soon on the front foot again and when Luke Cummings fired in a dangerous low cross they were back on level terms. Brown was adjudged to have handled and referee Steven Plane pointed to the spot, where Griffin made no mistake.
City were determined to get the job done and Guthrie saw a low drive canon off the post, while Griffin sent a looping header inches wide from Aaron Brown's cross at the death.
It was not to be, however, and Britton will know his side will need to be much more clinical in Tuesday's replay if they are to book themselves a place in the fourth qualifying round.
BATH CITY (4-4-2): Garner, Rollo, Jones, Burnell, Brown, Connolly, M Canham (Allen 65), Keats (Cummings 57), Morgan, S Canham (Griffin 64), Guthrie. Subs not used: Mellor, Ball, Harris, Preece.
GOSPORT BOROUGH (4-4-2): Ashmore, Woodward, Molyneaux, Poate, Martin, Igoe (Stow 71), Brown, Smith, King, Wooden, Bennett. Subs not used: May, Ford, Wilde, Norton, Cook.
Referee: Steven Plane (Pershore)