Bath City 2-0 Eastleigh
Match Report - Ray Murphy
Last season’s 2006/7 Southern League champions Bath City demonstrated their prowess against a lack lustre Eastleigh performance.
Following their impressive opening day display against Cambridge, The Spitfires had to change their side owing to injuries obtained from the game. With Chris Collins, Jamie Brown and Andy Harris still sidelined, they were joined by Damian Scannell and Steve Watts, which left Warren Ryan forced into an unaccustomed centre forward’s role.
The home side made one change to their line up from their opening day draw at much fancied Bromley, brining in Mark McKeever to give them more attacking options than their previous fixture.
Bath City gave early indications to Eastleigh to produce a gritty performance. With a hard working midfield, the home side created the first opening of note on seventeen minutes. A low drive from McKeever was pushed away by James Pullen and from the resultant corner a header from Lewis Hogg struck the outside of the post.
It appeared that Eastleigh might have withheld the early pressure applied by Bath City and were just starting to make an impression on the game when Bath City skipper Jim Rollo shot his side into the lead. With twenty nine minutes played Rollo picked up the ball on the half way line striding forwards without any challenge before unleashing a twenty five yard drive that flew past the fully stretched Pullen before nestling into the keeper’s top left hand corner of the net.
Eastleigh had an early chance to break even, Darren Wheeler played the ball into Ellis Green, but the midfielder’s strike was straight at keeper Steve Perrin.
The home side started urgently after the break. A lapse in the Eastleigh defence allowed Dave Gilroy in behind them but he shot wide with only Pullen to beat. Six minutes into the half they did add the second goal. A cross from McKeever on the right wing was allowed to travel through a flurry of players before arriving to Darren Edwards at the far post where Darren Edwards had the easiest of jobs to roll the ball into the net.
With the home side seemingly intent to settle with the two-goal advantage, Eastleigh did have a couple of chances. Sekani Simpson headed a Chris Piper cross over his own bar under pressure by Andy Forbes. There best other chance came six minutes from time when a harmless looking back pass to keeper Perrin saw the keeper stumble away with the ball with David Hughes and Forbes in close attendance.
In stoppage time Bath should have added their third. Karim El Salahi had his block tackle fall right into the path of City substitute Phil Walsh, but the striker fired high and wide of Pullen's goal. All in all a highly disappointing night for Eastleigh.