Boss Garry Haylock declared himself happy with the weekend’s work at Bath University and the performance, "It was enjoyable for me and the players too, we had a number of good sessions and put a lot of hard work in, ideally I would like to have the players full time and have them back in Wednesday morning to work on a few things from today, but overall I was happy with the performance"
The side looked strong defensively from the start but it took an 83rd minute strike from striker Scott Fitzgerald to seal the win after a useful work out against a good Bath City side.
Garry Haylock fielded former Oxford United man Matt Day in his starting line up as he formed part of a five man midfield which included the impressive Marc Canham. Defensively, Captain Tom Cadmore returned to the line up in the right back position with Matt Ruby and Sámi El-Abd forming a strong central defensive duo.
It was Canham who had the first sight at goal in the 4th minute firing just wide from 20 yards. In a game that featured plenty of hard work and industry goal attempts were at a premium. Adam Green came close in the
25th minute when his deflected free kick from the edge of the box forced home keeper Perrin into a good save. Just after the half hour mark Dale Binns got into the game and his low left wing cross was met by the diving Ram Marwa, his header flashing just wide of goal. A minute later Binns latched onto a loose ball only to see his goal bound shot well blocked by home defender Holland.
The hosts best chance of the half came six minutes before the interval, Rollo’s long ball beat the United defence and Douglas found himself with just Delroy Preddie to beat. His fluffed shot hit Preddie only to bounce back off Douglas to roll towards the empty net, quick thinking by El-Abd saw him clear the ball to safety.
The second half started off with Scott Fitzgerald firing over but just 10 minutes after the restart he created the opening goal when he flicked on a long Preddie clearance which Marwa ran onto and calmly slotted home with the home defence stagnant.
The second half also saw few chances, it was Green who created the next one when his fantastic left wing cross just eluded Danny Allen-Page as he sneaked in at the far post with the ball just needing a touch to steer it home.
The second half, as pre season matches tend to, became disjointed with a series of substitutions for both sides as the hosts altered their shape to play with two forwards. This paid dividends when in the 74th minute a left wing cross from Aaron Cornwall caused confusion between Preddie and El-Abd and Sido Jombarti had the simple task of steering the ball into an empty net.
The hardworking Fitzgerald almost responded immediately, after seizing onto a bad back past he rounded substitute keeper Dunn only for his angle to be too tight to squeeze home.
After a hard weekend of work, Garry’s side could be forgiven for easing up in the last ten minutes, however despite being tired they continued to work hard and a change of shape from the manager saw substitute Steve Perkins moved up front to support Fitzgerald and it was this combination that was that was to provide the winning goal in the 83rd minute. Perkins flicked on a pass from fellow substitute James Mulley, Fitzgerald ran onto it in the penalty area and rounded Dunn before firing into the empty net.
Overall a good win against a good Conference South side that nearly made the play-offs last year after a hard weekend of work for the players.
Report by Nick Griffith.