BATH CITY 0 HEMEL TOWN 1 Cawley 74
Footballing fate was not on Bath City’s side as they were the victims of a smash and grab Hemel Hempstead Town victory. Not unduly troubled for the best part of 75 minutes, the Romans were in charge for the majority of the contest. However, they were unable to convert a host of strong chances. And having lost centre-back Jack Batten during their draw at Truro City in midweek, his replacement Kevin Amankwaah departed injured in the first half. After all that, the final kick in teeth arrived with 15 minutes to go as Steve Cawley smuggled in the winner to hand new Tudors boss Joe Deeney victory in his first match in charge. With missing players making life difficult, the Romans began with a diamond midfield and two up top, changed after Amankwaah’s injury. Tom Smith twice glanced crosses from Anthony Straker wide in the first period with his head. Adam Mann also curled an effort just high and wide of the top corner as the Romans, lacking perhaps a little ingenuity in the final third, went in goalless at the break. City set off apace in the second period with Hemel keeper Laurie Walker having to tip a Smith volley around his right-hand post. Rarely called into action, Romans stopper Ryan Clarke had two saves to make, getting everything behind a Steve Cawley shot and getting down well to hold a wel-struck Jordan Parkes effort after he darted into the area. That save was outdone at the other end by Walker, who sprawled to keep out an acrobatic Mann attempt, after the Romans had nodded a free-kick back across the box. Then came the chance of the game for City. Straker played a fine cross-field ball that Mann collected to go one-on-one with Walker, the visiting keeper out quickly to smother the final effort. And Cawley’s match-winner was soon to follow as the hosts failed to adequately deal with a long freekick to the edge of their box. Cawley collected, touched the ball away from his marker and prodded past Clarke. With their away goal in the bag, Hemel were eager to shut up shop on City. The home side huffed and puffed, with the Tudors put under especially great duress for the final minutes of the contest, but could not open up the clear-cut chance they wanted to draw level.