Ar­tus lauds Ro­mans’ rock steady de­fence at Dul­wich

Bath Chronicle - - SPORT - @Bathc­itylive | 01225 322300 [email protected] Mark Still­man

Frankie Ar­tus was full of praise for Bath City’s firm rear­guard as they se­cured a fourth win in five games at Dul­wich Ham­let. Af­ter a goal­less first pe­riod, Tom Smith and Ross Stearn net­ted late in the day to keep the Ro­mans in red-hot form. But just as im­por­tant were the work of the de­fen­sive unit, plus cen­tral mid­field­ers James Mor­ton and Ar­tus him­self. “I think we were in con­trol in the first half, we cre­ated a cou­ple of good chances, and were un­lucky not to take the lead,” he said. “The gaffer said at half-time to keep do­ing what you’re do­ing – mov­ing the ball, cre­at­ing open­ings. We did that and for­tu­nately nicked the goal. “From then we looked solid. I know we got the sec­ond, it’s al­ways nice to have that cush­ion, but I think we dom­i­nated the game. “At the back the boys were ter­rific. We kept them out, they didn’t re­ally have a sniff all game.” Ar­tus has been one of City’s most con­sis­tent per­form­ers this sea­son, start­ing the last 13 league matches as the Ro­mans have only suf­fered two de­feats. As a more de­fen­sive-minded mid­fielder, he was beam­ing with pride in a fourth clean sheet in five in Lon­don. He added: “The cen­tre-halves are buzzing, even me and James sit­ting in front, we’re ob­vi­ously do­ing some­thing right, keep­ing it tight for them. “You know what the cen­tre­halves and goal­keeper are like, they pride them­selves on clean sheets. I think last sea­son we did quite well with that as well. “To win to­day’s game with one, keep them rack­ing up, four or five over the Christ­mas pe­riod, is good.” The Bris­to­lian has slot­ted in seam­lessly into the re­cent for­ma­tion change - Jerry Gill em­ploy­ing a three-man de­fence and wing-backs - high­light­ing the im­por­tance of oth­ers able to change po­si­tion, and notic­ing why the change was cre­ated in the first place. “We’re quite flex­i­ble, there’s a lot of play­ers that can play in dif­fer­ent po­si­tions and that,” Ar­tus said. “Joe [Raynes]came in at left wing-back, which just shows how flex­i­ble we are. “I think it stemmed from when we went down to ten men against Chip­pen­ham. We still dom­i­nated. We took that into the game when we played at home, when we dom­i­nated them all over the pitch. “I think it suits us. We’ve got de­fen­sive play­ers who are good with step­ping out with the ball as well, cre­at­ing two-v-ones in ar­eas. “It’s some of the best foot­ball we’ve played this sea­son, play­ing like that. All the boys are en­joy­ing it, work­ing hard. It’s paid off.” A com­bined at­ten­dance of 4,831 wit­nessed City face Chip­pen­ham and Dul­wich in con­sec­u­tive games, with the club’s league av­er­age a healthy 910 ahead of an up­com­ing ex­pected bumper crowd against league lead­ers Torquay United. Ar­tus said: “It’s bril­liant, that’s what you want to be do­ing [play­ing in front of big crowds]. “I think when we played Chip­pen­ham at home, we’ve given them some­thing to cheer about early on. We’ve re­acted to them cheer­ing, to go four-nil up in the first half was breath­tak­ing. “It’s good to see the fans en­joy­ing it as well, com­ing in their num­bers to­day. When we score they’re buzzing. I hope they carry on com­ing as they do. It does help” It was a win which pushed City up to fourth in a com­pet­i­tive divi­sion be­fore they went to Slough on Tues­day night, with only five points sep­a­rat­ing sides be­tween third and ninth. “We’re tak­ing each game as it comes,” Ar­tus said. “We know if we keep play­ing the way we have in the last five or so games, we’re not go­ing to lose many. “When you’re play­ing well and win­ning you look for­ward to the next game. “I think it’s for­tu­nate we’re in this good spell over the Christ­mas pe­riod where we want to rack up as many points as we can, see where it takes us at the end of the sea­son. “The boys are re­ally en­joy­ing it now, they’re a great bunch of lads and we en­joy work­ing hard for each other.” Hav­ing been at the club since 2014, Ar­tus has ex­pe­ri­enced many highs and lows and ex­changed pleas­antries with plenty of team­mates, plus three man­agers. With only four play­ers ahead of his 144 Na­tional League South ap­pear­ances at the club, he paid trib­ute to oth­ers, rather than fo­cus on his own ac­com­plish­ments. “You look in the chang­ing room, we’ve got a great group and great age of the team,” he said. “There’s some young play­ers who’ve been ter­rific this year. “It proves that they can go on and play a lot higher than this. “It’s good to be part of a group that want to go and win some­thing. “We’ll just keep do­ing what we’re do­ing hope­fully at the end of the sea­son we’re right up there.”

Jerry Gill (L) and Jim Rollo watch from the dugout at Cham­pion Hill

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