Rare Burnell goal helps Bath City to another victory
MATCH REPORT: Bath City 3 (Allen 19, Burnell 34, S Canham 86) AFC Hornchurch 1 (Grey 20)
Joe Burnell scored only the fourth goal of his 12-year playing career as Bath City beat a poor AFC Hornchurch side to make it back-to-back victories in the league.
Chris Allen also notched his fourth goal in three games and Sean Canham made it five in four for him late on as City finally killed the game off following a dire second period.
Lee Howells kept faith with the same XI that started last week's dramatic 4-3 win at Tonridge Angels and included new signing Aaron Hopkinson - a winger who has previously played for Lewes and Mangotsfield United - on the bench.
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In the team were Noah Keats and Chris Allen, both of whom signed long-term deals at Mayday Trust Park yesterday, and the latter almost helped provide City with a dream start as he beat the offside trap and picked out Josh Low but the winger's first touch was poor and the chance was gone.
Allen did hit the target himself in the 19th minute, though, to give City the lead. Keats did well to win possession in midfield and feed the attacker, whose first-time shot lacked power but went underneath the dive of keeper Joe Woolley into the net.
However, parity was restored within 53 seconds as Wayne Gray got in front of City skipper Gethin Jones to control a cross from the left and, with the home defence appealing in vain for handball, fired home an angled drive from six yards.
City almost regained the lead immediately, again with the help of Woolley who stood rooted to the spot as Sean Canham touched on a free-kick. Fortunately for the keeper, the ball hit the post and bounced back into his grateful hands.
Hornchurch were looking vulnerable from crosses, though, and fell behind again in the 34th minute when Low played the ball in from the right for Burnell, whose first touch took him past a defender before his second beat the keeper from close range.
It was the first time defensive midfielder Burnell had scored since netting for Oxford United in a 2-1 defeat at Lewes in September 2008 and only his fourth goal since making his senior debut for Bristol City in January 2000.
Apart from those moments, there was little quality on show during a lethargic first half and the second period continued in much the same vein, with chances few and far between as both teams struggled to retain possession.
Dan Ball and Allen forced routine saves from Woolley and Harry Hooman put a brave header just over from a free-kick but City generally found their standard of play dragged down to Hornchurch's level.
The game was finally put to the bed four minutes from time when Brown curled in a free-kick from the right and Canham was left unmarked to guide the ball into the roof of the net.
BATH CITY: Garner, Ball, Brown, Hooman, Jones, Burnell, Low, Connolly (Morgan 88), Allen, S Canham, Keats. Subs not used: Rollo, Hopkinson, Cummings, Preece.
AFC HORNCHURCH: Woolley, Bentley, Daniel, Glover, McKoy, Cutler (Tuohy 81), Eyong (Love 86), Curley, Gray, Smith (McKenzie 59), Spencer. Subs not used: Styles.
REFEREE: Ashvin Degnarain (Islington).