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Bath City 0-3 Saints

The Saints secured an important three points with an all round performance against play-off chasing Bath City at Twerton Park on Saturday.

It was a repeat of the score line in the same fixture last season and while on that occasion Bath could have felt somewhat unlucky, they can have no complaints with this result.

Ian Allinson made a number of changes from the side that lost to Welling United, although one was enforced after James Kaloczi picked up an injury during the week.

Those changes meant that City lined up in a 4-5-1 formation with Tom Bender joining Longe-King in the heart of defence, while Dave Diedhiou lined up in a defensive midfield position.

The signs were positive early on as the Saints established themselves against a side that had not lost on home soil in the league since the August bank holiday.

Zane Banton was inches away from opening the scoring in the eleventh minute after latching onto a loose ball deep in the home half. The attacking midfielder burst into the box and rounded Clarke, but with the angle tightening quickly he saw his strike crash off the post.

Bath’s Adam Mann was presented with the home side’s first opening of the game when he met Hartridge’s cross from the left and sent a header over the bar from eight yards out.

However, the deadlock was broken two minutes later when Joe Iaciofano combined with Zane Banton on the edge of the box before the latter teed the ball perfectly into the path of Solomon Nwabuokei, who calmly swept a right footed effort from twenty-yards past Clarke and into the bottom corner of the net.

Mann looked to be Bath’s only outlet during the opening half an hour and went close when he found space twenty-five yards and struck a vicious drive that sailed just wide of Snedker’s far post.

The Saints, however, needn’t worry as they doubled in spectacular fashion courtesy of superb solo effort.

An attack from the hosts was halted on the edge of the City box and the ball was cleared to Iaciofano five yards inside his own half. The twenty-one-year-old turned a Bath man and burst over the half-way line before dinking past two defenders and working it into the box where he took aim and rifled it in off the post.

Another dangerous delivery into the area looked to have presented Frankie Artus with a great opportunity to reduce the deficit, only for the home fans to groan as they watched on and saw the unmarked midfielder send his header high and wide.

The hosts searched for an immediate response after the break but Connor Riley-Lowe’s heavily deflected strike that sailed into the arms of Snedker was as close as they came.

The expected pressure from Bath didn’t materialise and it was the City in purple that scored the third and final goal of the game.

The Saints, who had been imperious at the back all afternoon, won the ball back and put together a thirteen pass move in the home half before Rohdell Gordon slipped the ball through for Zane Banton who smartly curled the ball past Clarke at his near post.

Brunt did take aim with a speculative volley with three minutes left on the clock, but his attempt was always sailing high and wide of Snedker’s net.

Ian Allinson used the final few minutes as an opportunity to give minutes to Antonis Vasiliou and Harry Forster and the fresh legs of both helped pin the home side in their own half during the dying embers of the game.

The victory sees the Saints move up to nineteenth in the Vanarama National League South, just a point behind the two sides above.

City take a break from league action on Tuesday night when they host Royston Town at Clarence Park in the Herts Senior Cup. Kick-off is 7:45pm.

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