Bath City failed to trouble the scoreboard for the fifth successive match at Twerton Park, and consequently had to settle for a single point against high flying Truro City despite dominating for long periods. In isolation, this was a creditable result but frustration was, no doubt, the overriding emotion felt by the majority of those on the terraces as the goal drought continued.
Bath, attacking the Bristol End in the first half, began brightly and Jack Compton’s 3rd minute free kick was deflected by a defender, forcing keeper Tom McHale to push the ball over the crossbar for a corner.
The Cornish side responded in the 7th minute through a low cross from Cody Cooke that flew across the face of Luke Southwood’s goal, and away to safety. Almost immediately, Michael Kelly flashed a cross into the danger area that eluded his teammates, and then Tom Smith’s clipped effort was cleared over the bar by a defender.
The hosts were now dominating in terms of possession, and a good move down the left on 18 minutes resulted in Compton’s cross picking out Smith, whose flicked effort was blocked by a well-timed challenge. Compton then tried his luck twice in quick succession from 25 yards out, with the first shot being well wide, and the second being too high.
James Morton concluded some neat passing movement with a driven shot that was wide of McHale’s near post and, on the half hour mark, ‘The Romans’ had perhaps their best opening of the first period. McHale came a long way out of his box to clear a long through ball, but the rebound fell to Smith. The midfielder struck a first time shot but, with the keeper stranded, the ball drifted over the unguarded net.
Truro came more into the game thereafter, with Cooke skewing a shot badly wide from just outside the home box, and Niall Thompson’s rising effort from distance being too high to trouble Southwood.
The returning Ross Stearn was becoming more influential as time wore on, and his 37th minute angled drive from the edge of the area bounced awkwardly just in front of McHale, who did very well to hold on the ball.
There was a scare for the home side three minutes before the break when former ‘Roman’ Noah Keats let fly from 25 yards. The ball squirmed from Southwood’s clutch, but the keeper reacted quickly to gather at the second attempt on the goalline. The home stopper was called into action again when he was forced to punch a cross away whilst under pressure, and again recovered in time to save Cooke’s extravagant overhead kick.
The second half started slowly, but the visitors came desperately close to taking the lead in the 55th minute. Cooke rose highest to meet a right-wing cross, and thudded his header against the face of Southwood’s crossbar. The loose ball was scrambled clear.
Stearn found space down the right flank on the hour mark, but his raking cross just eluded the onrushing Nat Jarvis. At the other end, Ed Palmer’s powerful free kick was deflected for a corner, and Bath responded with another Stearn cross that eventually fell for Compton, who could only scoop his shot over the bar.
Cooke fired over Southwood’s goal on 71 minutes as ‘The White Tigers’ continued to threaten on the break, but it was the hosts who remained largely in the ascendancy. With ten minutes remaining Morton shot narrowly over the crossbar and, a minute later, worked his way into the Truro box, only for his firm rising drive to fly just over the top of the near post.
As Bath continued to push forward Kelly planted a deep cross into the area from the left, but Stearn’s header from a difficult angle was wide of the far post. Compton’s free kick from 30 yards on 87 minutes was held under the bar by McHale, but the home side had to settle for a point when Dan Ball was mysteriously shown a second yellow card for an infringement on the half way line. The defender appeared extremely unlucky to be the recipient of two very ‘soft’ cautions from a referee who, after an anonymous first half, became increasingly erratic as the game progressed and produced a series of incomprehensible decisions.
There is no doubt that, overall, this was a decent performance from City, but the continued inability to score goals at Twerton Park is concerning. For all their good play and domination today, the fact remains that the Truro goalkeeper did not have a genuinely stretching save to make. Jerry Gill’s side now have a difficult trip to Chelmsford City next Saturday before hosting Concord Rangers on 20th January when, hopefully, the Twerton faithful will have something to cheer.
Bath City: Luke Southwood, Miles Welch-Hayes, Kevin Amankwaah, Dan Ball, Michael Kelly, Frankie Artus, James Morton, Ross Stearn (Jack Batten 90+2), Tom Smith, Jack Compton, Nat Jarvis. Subs not used: Anthony Straker, George Rigg, Ryan Case, Kieran Hodges.
Truro City: Tom McHale, Niall Thompson, Connor Riley-Lowe, Ed Palmer, Alex Hartridge, Jamie Richards, Aaron Lamont, Noah Keats (Jordan Copp 78), Tyler Harvey (Andrew Neal 78), Cody Cooke, Ben Harding. Subs not used: Chris Todd, Stewart Yetton, Billy Palfrey.
Referee: Mr. Alex Blake.