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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
20:34 11th January 2011

BATH CITY 0-0 HATTERS

The Hatters' run of four successive league victories came to an end at Twerton Park as both sides the woodwork twice in the second half. In a game that somehow ended goalless, Andy Drury hit the post and Alex Lawless hit the bar in the last minute of added time for the Hatters. Bath striker Lee Phillips shaved the post when put through on-one-one with Mark Tyler before Sido Jombati saw a shot cannon back off the crossbar. In an end-to-end encounter the Town came first to opening the scoring on 16 minutes when home stopper Carl Pentney kept out Danny Crow close range effort with a sprawling save after a game of ping-pong in the penalty area. Half chances continued to fall for the Town while Bath could not quite find the target themselves with a number of efforts from long range failing to test Mark Tyler. Five minutes before the break the Hatters should have took the lead when Claude Gnakpa contrived to head wide of the target from three yards following Drury's left-wing cross. After the break Bath's pace on the break became a real threat and on 54 minutes Phillips spurned his chance when put clear of the Town defence only to send a shot skimming off the outside of the post with the goal at his mercy. Two minutes later as chances began to fall both sides' way Pentney palmed away a vicious effort from 20 yards from Crow before Drury saw his left-foot shot strike the up-right seven minutes later as the Town asserted pressure. The lively Amari Morgan-Smith hit two shots wide in a five-minute period beginning on 61 minutes and on 73 minutes Drury missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock when shooting straight at Pentney after a sublime Hatters move involving Keith Keane and Jason Walker. Two minutes later the hosts themselves came agonisingly close to stealing the points when Jombati saw his effort come back off the bar with Tyler beaten. As time ticked down both sides went close to snatching all three points. In the second minute of added time Adam Connolly saw a piledriver whistle inches the wrong side of the post before Lawless smashed an effort from an acute angle onto the crossbar with the last kick of the game. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Bath City 0 Luton Town 0 Result FULL-TIME  It's all over here at Twerton Park and the Town's run of four straight wins comes to an end but they still earn a point here in what was a thoroughly entertaining game. Standby for pictures and reaction. 90 + 4 mins - Lawless hits the bar after Kroca's flick-on. Blimey. 90 + 2 mins - Hearts in mouths for the Town as Connolly lets fly from 25 yards that flashes past Tyler's left-hand post. That was very close. 90 mins - A minimum of four added minutes have been added. 88 mins - Two left, time ticking down now. First booking of the game though is awarded to Canham for the hosts for dissent. 86 mins - Four left now as the PA announcer reads the visiting attendance out which is greeted with a warm round of applause by the home faithful. 85 mins - Five to go here now... 84 mins - There are 965 in the away end cheering on the Hatters this afteroon. Top support. Will they be celebrating a late winner? 83 mins - Great chance for the Town to break the deadlock as Drury spots the on-rushing Gleeson who hits it first time, volleying a shot that goes a whisker wide of the post. That was close and I almost thought that was in. 81 mins - Nine left and the Hatters have the ball and a good move from subs Walker and Lawless sees the former flash a right-wing pass across the Bath penalty area but no man can get on the end of it and it goes out for a throw. 80 mins - The attendance here at Twerton Park is 2,301 - it's biggest of the season so far. We're waiting on the number in the away end. 79 mins - 11 left on the clock as Adie Britton sends on Scott Murray for the hosts. 75 mins - Well, as I keep saying I don't know how this game is still 0-0 and Bath come closer to breaking the deadlock themselves as the woodwork is hit again. Rollo picks out Jombati on the left flank with a wonderful crossfield pass. He cuts inside, Gleeson and curls bends a curling shot goalwards that comes back off the crossbar with Tyler motionless. 74 mins  Second change for the Town as Alex Lawless replaces Gnakpa. 73 mins - Move of the match from the Town and it should be 1-0. Keane finds Walker who in turn flicks the ball into the path of Drury who dances past two Bath challenges and is in on goal. Everyone's got their money on it being the first goal but Pentney has other ideas, saving the midfielder's low shot from 12 yards. What a chance. 70 mins - 20 left here, still the Hatters boss things but no signs of breaking the deadlock. How this game is still goalless is anyone's guess. 67 mins - And that's another off target effort from the lively Morgan-Smith who takes a touch, turns and sees a low shot bounce just the wrong side of the post. 66 mins - Gnakpa and AMS have switched flanks and they combine but the less said about the finish by the Frenchman the better as he strides forward with purpose but whacks a shot way, way, way over Pentney's goal and it's out the ground. New balls please. 61 mins - Walker straight into the action as he trots down the right flank, looks up and spots Morgan-Smith with a cross that the winger hits first time but it flashes the wrong side of the post. Unlucky. All the Town now. 61 mins  First change of the afternoon for the Hatters and it's MBH who is replaced by Jason Walker. 59 mins - Oh oh oh...chance...and the Town should be ahead. Bath fall asleep thinking they should be awarded a foul but Drury picks it up, runs forward and hits a left-foot shot that comes back off the post. The ball pings back to Morgan-Smith who barely has time to react and sends a shot over the crossbar with the goal gaping. 56 mins - Make that another and this time Pentney has to be called into evasive action, flying to his left to paw away a curling shot from Crow from 25 yards. The Hatters pressure is rising. Can they break the deadlock? 55 mins - Another minute, another chance, this time for the Hatters as Kroca heads a Drury corner straight down the throat of Pentney. 54 mins - Oh my I should be sitting here typing how Bath have the lead but somehow the home striker Lee Phillips spurns a one-on-one chance, shooting wide after being sent clear of the Town defence by Connelly. 53 mins - I must credit the hosts they are defending very, very well, especially in wide areas. 50 mins - Back come Bath and Mohamed does well to carry the ball forward down the left flank. He gets past Gleeson and into the box but balloons the ball high and wide of the target. 50 mins - Great pace from Morgan-Smith gets him clear of the Bath defence but Webb does brilliantly to put in an inch-perfect challenge to deny him getting a shot away. Great defending. 49 mins - Shot on target from the Hatters but it's comfortable for Pentney as he catches Gnakpa's shot from the edge of the penalty area. 47 mins - Town on top in the first 90 seconds of this second half but then it's heart in mouth as Simpson goes down under the challenge of Howells in the box. The ref decides to pull back play for an earlier foul which is cleared but home faithful are left perplexed by the whistler's decision. 46 mins Annnnnnd we're off as the Town get this second half underway shooting from right to left as we look. No changes for either side at the interval. 16:04 MATCHDAY MUSIC Mulder and Scully by Catatonia. 16:03 BACK OUT The Town men are back on the pitch doing their pre-second half warm-up. HALF-TIME Referee Atkins calls time on an entertaining first 45 minutes here in which both sides will go in thinking they should have the lead. The Hatters have had more of the ball and have spurned the best chance. Only Claude will know how he missed from there. Anyway, we're off for a coffee. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half updates. COYH. 45 + 1 mins - Good work down the right from Gleeson wins a corner but from Drury's flag-kick Pilkington sees a header from 10 yards go straight down Pentney's throat. 45 mins - Three added minutes at the end of this first 45 here at Twerton Park. 43 mins - Two minutes to the break and there's still disbelief that Claude's missed that. The Town have been on top but in truth Bath could quite easily have the lead themselves. 40 mins - Oh oh oh dear. The deadlock should be broken as the Town somehow spurn a super chance. Another short corner rountine involving Howells and Drury sees the latter ping in a wonderful cross that Gnakpa, three yards out, heads wide of the post. An incredible miss. There were people celebrating thinking that was in. 38 mins - Hearts in mouths time for Town as Bath again come close. A short corner rountine sees Canham smash a shot goalwards from the left-hand edge of the penalty box. It looks to be heading out of play but at the back-post sub Webb heads over from three yards out. He's got his head on his hands. That should have been 1-0. 36 mins - First change and it's for the hosts as Burnell is withdrawn and is replaced by Danny Webb. Staight swap. 34 mins - The Hatters have the hump as MBH, kept-on onside, runs through but the referee signals for a foul against the striker, strangely, despite Joe Burnell's apparent handball. 32 mins - Stoppage in play as Gethin Jones is on the deck receiving treatment after taking a whack from Crow who just gets a talking-to from referee Atkin. 28 mins - Again, back come the Town and Morgan-Smith picks out Gnakpa in some room down the right with a wonderful crossfield pass. Claude does well to keep his eye on it and volley it first time across goal. It would have been a super pass had anyone cottoned-onto his thinking but Crow can't get on the end of it and it bounces wide. 27 mins - Still end-to-end and the Hatters have Howells to thank as he clears under pressure from Simpson, lurking for a tap-in following a searching left-wing cross from Jombati that disected the Town defence. 27 mins - Half a sniff for Crow again as he scampers down the inside-left channel but without support he has to go alone and pokes a shot straight at Pentney from an acute angle. 25 mins - We have readers around the world remember...Shout out to Jane Ledsom, checking on the Town's progress in a pub in France. It's alright for some. 23 mins - As I said some moments ago it is end-to-end as the Hatters break up the other end and Crow momentarily ghosts between the two home centre-halfs and bears down on goal but can't quite get enough on his shot from the 16 yards. 22 min - The home faithful are again ooooohing as Harris - obviously keeping an eye on this commentary - receives Mohamed's pass from the left and sends a shot from 25 yards zooming inches the wrong side of the crossbar. Great hit. 19 mins - Still the Hatters enjoy plenty of possession but Bath look a threat on the break...and just as I say that Adie Harris kicks the ball out of play, unable to pick out his team-mate Kaid Mohamed. 16 mins - CHANCE. End-to-end here as Howells does well to win a corner down the left. Drury takes a short corner to Howells before getting it back to curl a super cross into the box. It causes confusion in the box and after a game of ping-pong the ball falls to Danny Crow who side-foots a shot goalwards that looks to be heading to the bottom corner before Pentney pulls out a hand to keep it out. Great save. 15 mins - Oohh that's close and everyone in the ground knows it as Marc Canham's left-wing corner is flicked goalwards by Sido Jombati whose header flashes just past the post. 13 mins - Bath win a corner but the Hatters break superbly with Keane the architect, brilliantly winning the ball and striding forward. He spots Gnakpa racing alongside him down the right. The Frenchman sends a low cross in looking for Barnes-Homer but it's put behind by Simpson. However, from the corner from Drury, Bath clear. 9 mins - Good chance for the Town to break the deadlock goes awry from a good position as Andy Drury's free-kick from 30 yards is curled in from the left-hand side but the midfielder's set-piece eludes everyone including Gnakpa at the back post. 7 mins - Half a sniff for Claude Gnakpa - the scorer of two in his last two games - as he comes close to latching on to Dan Gleeson's long pass forward and keeper Pentney can collect. 5 mins - Back come Bath though and a dangerous cross from Sido Jombati almost catches out Tyler but Howells is on hand to clear the danger and gives Bath the first corner of the game. 3 mins - Yep, good start from the Hatters and they're on top in the early stages. Amari Morgan-Smith does well down the left and sees his cross half-cleared to Jake Howells. The Town left-back hangs up a high cross that Pentney comes to meet but up jumps Claude Gnakpa with the home goalkeeper but his effort looped harmlessly over the bar. 1 min - 37 seconds in and we have our first effort as a bright start from the Town sees Dan Gleeson stroll forward from right-back and send a shot flying wide of Carl Pentney's goal. Positive beginning. 1 min And we're off here at Twerton Park as the hosts get us underway with the Hatters shooting towards their packed contingent behind the goal away to our right. 14:58 JUMP! Those fireworks scared the hell out of Godfrey Poku, still out on the pitch warming-up. His team-mates quite rightly think that's very amusing. 14:57 BANG! Out come the two sides, the Town in orange, Bath in their black and white stripes, as fireworks spark off by the touchline and tunnel. Razamattaz. 14:50 HONEYMOON AT THE FOOTBALL Congratulations to Town fan Steve Abbott and his new wife Cerys Matthews who tied the not yesterday and are here to take in the Town before jetting off on Honeymoon. There is plenty of media interest in the couple with photographers and a camera crew surrounding them on the Twerton Park pitch. 14:49 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 2-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 2-1 Luton, Ian Pearce: 2-1 Luton, Mark Wood: 2-0 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 1-1, Ian Ryan: 3-1 Luton, Bill Cole: 2-1 Luton. 14:43 NO PLACE LIKE HOME With a healthy contingent from Bedfordshire, Bath hope this game will see their largest gate of the season so far, exceeding the 1,262 that witnessed a 0-0 draw with Wrexham back in August. 14:40 TOWN TRAVELLERS Plenty of Hatters fans have made the trip west, and with 20 minutes to kick-off still, the away terrace and seats already look pretty full. 14:31 HERE THEY ARE THEN Your teams, as promised: Hatters; Tyler; Gleeson, Pilkington, Kroca, Howells; Gnakpa, Drury, Keane, Morgan-Smith; Barnes-Homer, Crow. Subs: Lawless, Asafu-Adjaye, Walker, Lacey, Poku. Bath: Pentney, Simpson, Rollo, Jones, Burnell, Harris, Connolly, Canham, Phillips, Mohamed, Jombati. Subs: Murray, Webb, Hart, Jeanne, Robinson. 14:20 UNCHANGED Breaking news, the Town are unchanged. Full sides to follow. 14:16 WARM-UP Whilst I warm-up with a coffee (in fairness it's not that cold out there) the Hatters players are out on the on the Twerton Park pitch being put through their paces by Sports Therapist Jon Chatfield and physio Simon Parsell. 14:05 PIG Using the facilities beneath the Twerton Park main stand I bump into the Bath City mascot. It's a big, pink pig. Not sure what the connection is there. 13:55 TWERTON PARK The Town have been here before, twice, winning one and losing one against Bristol Rovers when they groundshared here. The main stand side, where we are, is made up for a couple of different stands whilst there is terracing on three other sides, including two open ends, one of which is where the Town fans are standing. The sun is still shining. Lovely stuff. 12:40 WEATHER WATCH In a word, glorious. The sun is out and there isn't a cloud in the sky in this beautiful city. Shame it's going to get dark later. 12:10 ON THIS DAY Traditionally FA Cup third round day, the Town have played 14 times on 8th January, eight of which have been in cup action. In total the Hatters have won eight which incluces seven of their last 10 outings on this day. There has been one draw and five defeats. It was a defeat the last time the Town appeared on this day when they fell to a 2-0 defeat to Brentford at Kenilworth Road in the FA Cup in 2005. The full record: 1898 DIV2 Walsall A L 0-5
1921 FAC Birmingham H W 2-1
1927 FAC Chelsea A L 0-4
1938 FAC Scarborough A D 1-1
1949 FAC West Ham United H W 3-1
1955 FAC Workington H W 5-0
1966 DIV4 Chester H W 5-2
1969 DIV3 Shrewsbury Town A L 1-3
1972 DIV2 Preston North End A W 1-0
1977 FAC Halifax Town A W 1-0
1983 FAC Peterborough United H W 3-0
2000 LD2 Stoke City A L 1-2
2002 LD3 Kidderminster Harriers A W 4-1
2005 FAC Brentford H L 0-2
10:45 BIGGER GAMES Cast your mind back a month and you'll remember Richard Money admitting in wasn't the end of the world that his side came a cropper against Charlton in the FA Cup. "Yes we're disappointed we're not going to Tottenham but we're looking forward to a bigger game on 8th January: Bath City away." Fast-forward to today and, as ever, the Town boss is spot on. This afternoon's Blue Square Bet Premier takes on massive significance. A chance to rack-up a fifth straight league victory. And (whisper it quietly) the opportunity to end the day top of the table. There's no doubt the Town would have loved a trip to White Hart Lane tomorrow - who wouldn't? - but in truth this season is about one thing: promotion. Also, given the rearrangement madness following postponements and abandonments in December, maybe it's just as well the Town aren't in the third round of the Cup. Focus on the sole priority of lifting the title is where it's at. Believe me. With AFC Wimbledon, Crawley, Newport and Fleetwood - not to mention the plethora of other clubs still desperate for a top five finish - just as consistent as the Town's form at the minute, every dropped point, even at this half-way point of the campaign, is viewed as a major slip-up. They're all big games from here on in. Talking of big games, the same goes for Bath City. The opponents the day the Town celebrated their 125th anniversary weekend believe today's game is the biggest in their history. So much so manager Adie Britton said yesterday: "If you had told me when I joined the club five-and-a-half years ago that we'd be playing Luton Town at home in the league I'd have said you were nuts." As I said, big games for everyone. As Richard also said yesterday: "We know everyone finds that little bit extra against us." Don't we know it. Bath have only lost twice at home this season so a fifth straight victory for Money's men is far from a foregone conclusion. Sure, Twerton Park is not White Hart Lane but I'd rather have the chance to add another three points to the tally than a one-off game against 'Arry Rednkapp's reserves. Wouldn't you?
    Data provided by Press Association

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