Late leveller denies Bath City victory over Basingstoke Town
MATCH REPORT: Bath City 1 (Chamberlain 31) Basingstoke Town 1 (Sills 83)
Basingstoke Town struck seven minutes from time to deny Bath City victory at Mayday Trust Park in a freezing Blue Square South clash.
On a day when just two games in the division survived the wintry weather, both sides looking as if they would have preferred to stay in the warm in a lethargic encounter.
Elliott Chamberlain gave the home side the lead after half-an-hour but Tim Sills grabbed his side a deserved point with a close-range finish late on.
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After a slow start, Josh Low had the first sight of goal for the home side. Chris Allen pounced when visiting full-back Ben Jefford slipped and pulled the ball back to Low but his tame shot failed to trouble Ashley Bayes.
City’s defence looked comfortable in the face of a few Basingstoke half-chances and Jason Mellor was largely untroubled between the sticks, including from Sam Delano-Yorke’s shot which flew well wide.
A teasing Aaron Brown corner looked like providing the opening goal but, although both City centre backs Danny Ball and Mark Preece got in glancing headers, the ball drifted just past the post.
The best chance then arrived at the other end but the unmarked Manny Williams could only head straight at Mellor when the home defence failed to pick him up from Nathan Smart’s back-post cross.
City took full advantage of the reprieve and broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark. Allen broke forward and released Ryan Charles on the left and the Basingstoke defence failed to deal with his cross, allowing Chamberlain to pounce and fire past Bayes.
The home side began to take control in the latter stages of the half and Town just survived conceding a second goal. A couple of corners caused havoc in the box, while Low curled an effort wide after a good break from midfield.
Basingstoke were much improved at the start of the second half and Rob Rice forced Mellor into a low save before Nathan Campbell’s header from the subsequent corner was hooked off the line by Charles.
Town substitute Jordace Holder-Spooner almost made an instant impact upon replacing Delano-Yorke but Mellor tipped his powerful strike from Sills’ cross just over the top.
With City failing to create any opportunities in the second half, Sills brought the visitors level seven minutes from time. Mellor made a fine low stop to deny Wes Daly but Sills reacted quickest to lash home from six yards.
Substitute Charlie Griffin then thought he had won the points for the home side as the game headed into stoppage time but Bayes pulled off a fine diving stop to keep the striker out and the final whistle sounded soon after.
Despite their disappointment at failing to hold on for the win, the point continues City's recent revival and saw them end a run of three home games in a week with five points.
They will be looking to take that form on the road next Saturday when they travel to Maidenhead United.
BATH CITY: Mellor, Simpson, Preece, Ball, Brown, Allen, Burnell, Connolly, Low (Morgan 71), Chamberlain (Griffin 81), Charles. Subs not used: Knowles, Lennox, Rollo.
BASINGSTOKE TOWN: Bayes, Smart, Ray, Campbell (McAuley 74), Jefford, Daly, Rice, Sills, Dunn, Williams, Sam-Yorke (Holder-Spooner 64). Subs not used: Ogunbote, Paterson, Lake.
Referee: Stuart Butler (Maidstone)