Football: Regis pulls the plug on Bath: Stoke end 23-year barren spell

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The Independent Online
Bath City . . .1

Stoke City. . .4

SOMETHING had to break last night and, to the regret of minnow fanciers everywhere, it was the home team. Bath had never reached the fourth round of the FA Cup; Stoke had not won away in the competition for 23 years, but it was the former statistic that proved more relevant.

On a pitch given a glassy sheen by constant and heavy rain, the First Division side had eradicated the prospects of a shock in this third-round replay before the interval and turned the match into a rout after it. Dave Regis was the principal beneficiary with two goals while Ian Cranson and Toddy Orlygsson also plucked from the tree of plenty that was the home defence. The baton of optimistic underdog will now pass to Stoke, who travel to Oldham of the Premiership in the next round.

It was an unexpected exhibition of superiority by Stoke who arrived to meet their Conference opponents with portents that could only have been worse if their coach had run over a black cat on the way to Twerton Park. Ted Heath was a fresh Prime Minister when they last won an away FA Cup tie, in March 1971.

Yet they secured a firm hold on proceedings with a goal after five minutes and could, in truth, have secured many more.

The first goal, after five minutes, set the trend for the evening, acting as a prototype for the next two by stemming from corners on the left by Orlygsson. Regis rose to the near post and flicked the ball backwards in a gentle arc that looped over David Mogg and into the far corner.

Some teams learn by their mistakes but Bath clearly are not among them as Cranson (38 minutes) and Regis (56) scored in near-identical fashion. So it came as a novelty when Orlygsson raced through the defence to add the fourth.

Bath were forlorn but scant consolation arrived in injury-time when Stoke's goalkeeper Gordon Marshall fumbled a low free-kick from Paul Chenoweth over the line.

Bath City (4-4-2): Mogg; Gill, Banks, Hedges, Dicks; Chenoweth, Cousins (Smart, 75), Brooks, Batty; Adcock (Vernon, 55), Mings. Substitute not used: Torres (gk).

Stoke City (4-4-2): Marshall; Butler, Cranson, Overson, Sandford; Foley, Orlygsson, Sturridge, Gleghorn; Regis, Carruthers (Shaw, 85). Substitutes not used: Gynn, Prudhoe (gk).

Referee: P Wright (Northwich).