Super-sub Morgan sparks late revival
Super-sub Kerry Morgan is targeting a new year promotion push after once again proving his worth to Bath City with an impressive late cameo on Saturday.
City were heading for their third home Blue Square Bet South defeat of the season when they trailed Eastbourne Borough 2-0 with 20 minutes to go, but the introduction of Morgan for Josh Low changed the complexion of the game.
His darting runs in front of the Poplar Side roused the City faithful and sparked an unlikely comeback that was completed by captain Gethin Jones' dramatic 90th-mintue equaliser.
The Welsh winger had netted after coming off the bench in City's previous two matches and hopes he has now done enough to convince first-team coach Lee Howells that he is more than just an impact player.
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"I would like to start more games but I just need to bide my time and take my chance when it comes," said Morgan, whose last start in the league came on October 13.
"Over the last month I have been fit but the lads have had some good results and scored goals and so I can't say anything.
"Hopefully now, after coming on a few times and doing well, the chance will come.
"We've got a busy period coming up over Christmas and all of the squad is going to be needed."
City's four previous home matches since October's managerial reshuffle had produced 16 goals and Saturday's game never looked in any danger of bucking the trend.
The hosts forced five corners in the first 12 minutes and loan signing Tom Nichols had a hat-trick of early chances to open his account for the club.
However, Jones and Mark Preece looked vulnerable up against Eastbourne's strong and pacy attack, with Chris Shephard – who had a spell at City last term – pulling the strings behind.
Kezie Ibe passed up a one-on- one opportunity in the ninth minutes but made no mistake when he evaded Preece for the second time, easing a lob over the promising but stranded Jason Mellor to give the visitors the lead midway through the first half.
Adam Connolly tested Eastbourne keeper Craig Ross after beating two defenders with a couple of terrific touches but City were handed a mountain to climb when they shipped a second goal on the stroke of half-time.
Shephard was unceremoniously felled by Danny Ball – who was yellow-carded – on the left and picked himself up to float over a delicious free- kick that gave Elliott Charles the simple task of nodding into the roof of the net from six yards.
Leading scorer Charlie Griffin entered the fray for the ineffective Sean Canham just before the hour and City gradually began to get on top.
They halved the arrears in fortuitous circumstances with 13 minutes left. Nichols was challenged in the box and, as the home players appealed for a penalty, Ball thumped a shot across goal. Although well struck, it was flying wide of the far post before Eastbourne skipper Ollie Rowe tried to divert it to safety anyway and only succeeded in sending it into the top corner of his own net.
That sparked a frenzied spell in which Griffin powered a header against Ross' bar following Morgan's dazzling run and left-wing cross before Preece blazed over a gaping goal after the keeper spilled Chris Allen's shot.
The equaliser arrived when Griffin was fouled on the edge of the box and Morgan's drilled free-kick sparked a spot of pinball in the area, which ended when Jones drove the ball in from a narrow angle despite the attentions of a defender on the line.
"Another five more minutes and we would have won the game," said Morgan afterwards.
"We showed great courage to come back but we've just got to stop giving goals away because we will always score at the other end."
The former Swansea City man was a member of the Newport County squad that won the title with a record number of points three seasons ago and sees no reason why City should not be challenging for at least a play-off spot come the spring.
He said: "I think ours is the best squad in the league. We've just got to adapt to it and do it sooner rather than later.
"We need a run of ten games. We've definitely got the players to get promoted but you have to graft in this league to get your rewards at the end of it."