Romans made to labour hard for FA Cup victory
City battle their way to Cup victory before defeat in first game of league campaign
Tommy Conway made a dream start to his Bath City career with two goals on his debut in Saturday’s 3-2 win against Winchester City in the FA Cup.
The 18-year-old gave City the lead inside two minutes and levelled it up on 72 when the Romans were fearful of exiting to a side two divisions below having trailed to a Frankie Artus own goal and Tyrell Mitford strike just before half-time.
Tom Richards’ 86th minute deflected effort eventually proved the winner to earn a trip to fellow National League South side Slough Town on Tuesday.
Conway was delighted to get off the mark, scoring both his goals through superb Callum Evans assists.
“It was a good feeling to get off to a good start.” he said. “The ball from Callum was something we’d been working on in training and it was great that it paid off.”
His second with 18 minutes remaining was a near carbon copy of the first, as Evans’ cross picked out the young forward at the near post to slam past the helpless Charlie Philpott.
“We had to get a goal at that stage of the game,” said Conway. “As soon as I saw Cal get the ball I knew where he was going to put it.
“In the second half we got to grips with the conditions more, it was getting a bit scrappy at the end of the first half.”
Conway has been training with Bath on Tuesdays and Thursdays and twice a week with Bristol City individually due to the Covid-19 rules about different bubbles to enable players to isolate from different groups.
The youngster ended last season on loan at Yate before making the step up.
Conway said: “When I spoke to Brian Tinnion about coming here he said about all the players that have come through here like Antoine Semenyo, Sam Pearson and Max O’leary.
“He told me I could do the same. I’m here to score goals and hopefully follow in their footsteps. I enjoyed my time at Yate. I needed to play some games in men’s football. Now I’m here and I will see where it takes me.
“I’ve settled in really well and get on well with the boys. I’m buzzing to carry on from here.”
Jerry Gill was delighted with Conway’s immediate impact.
“What a good player he’s going to be,” said the City manager, who celebrated three years in charge on Monday.
“He performed well at Yate and I’ve watched him a lot in the under 23s for Bristol City.
“I thought he was good but I didn’t realise how good he was until I saw him in a competitive game.
“Some of his link-up play was really neat and tidy and his two movements for the goals are not by chance.
“He trusted Callum to put it in the right area, and Callum put in two fantastic deliveries.
“Tommy’s one-touch finishing was terrific. He looks like he’ll score a lot of goals at this level.”
However, Gill was not as impressed with his side’s fragility in defence, where Artus’ headed own goal - while under no pressure from Jamie Barron’s under-hit corner was followed up by Jason Pope misjudging Danny King’s long ball forward to allow Mitford to nip in and drill past Ryan Clarke.
A stunning save from Clarke in added time prevented Olly Balmer’s shot from nestling in the top corner, which would have resulted in penalties.
“I’ve got two really good goalkeepers now in Ryan and Will Henry,” said Gill. “They’ve got to battle it out for the jersey, just like any of the 10 outfield players.
“We felt that Ryan did slightly better pre-season but Will isn’t far behind at all. The two goals we’ve conceded are awful, individual mistakes from us. The second is just farcical.
“We looked a bit frail defensively and that’s not like our teams. We have to work on that. We’re talking about the first game of course. Individual performances weren’t quite there, but they’ve stuck together as a team and seen off a good side for their level in Winchester.”