By Scott Hatley
Having been unfortunate in front of goal in the opening two games of the season at home to Gosport and away to Eastbourne, the first half was a game of very few chances.
The hosts ended the stronger of the two in the first half with Frankie Artus smashing the crossbar with the final kick of the half, before the hosts went close early in the second half through Ben Addlesbury.
Both sides were mostly restricted to shots from distance as both defences stood firm, though Nicky Eyre was forced into making a superb tip over from Addlesbury’s long range drive midway through the second period.
Chelmsford best chance came when Glen Southam’s low shot from outside the area was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Jason Mellor late on as neither side could break the deadlock.
Including the 2-0 defeat to Weston Super Mare on the final day of last season that now makes it four consecutive matches without a competitive goal for The Clarets.
But boss Mark Hawkes was unconcerned about his side’s lack of goals after leaving Bath having felt that his side controlled the game for long periods.
Hawkes made two changes to the side that lost to Eastbourne on Tuesday night - with new signing Matt Fry slotting in at centre back and Luke Callander returning to the starting line up in place of Christian Smith – and it was Chelmsford who had the first meaningful effort on goal when Joe Ward drilled his shot from the edge of the area harmlessly wide.
That, though, was a sign of things to come as chances were few and far between for either side in front of a vociferous crowd at Twerton Park.
A last ditch header from Andy Gallinagh prevented Callander from getting on the end of a knock down from Fry, whilst up the other end Dave Pratt failed to get a decent connection on his header from a corner.
Ward chanced his arm from distance after the ball fell to him following some head tennis between the teams, striking well but at a comfortable height for Mellor to catch diving to his right.
Mark Haines will feel he may have done better with his header which looped into the hands of Mellor from a Glen Southam free kick, but it was the hosts who ended the half the strongest with the game’s best chance.
After Haines had conceded a corner in first half stoppage time, a headed clearance only fell as far as Frankie Artus who created some space before smashing his effort off the underside of the crossbar with the last kick of the first period.
The second half continued along the same sort of pattern as the first with neither side creating much in the final third.
But just like the first half it was Bath who created the best chance when, from a corner, Ben Addlesbury glanced a header narrowly wide of Nicky Eyre’s right hand post in opening few minutes.
The match then took an unwanted turn for the worse after Bath’s Phil Walsh went down clutching his ankle after going up for a header with Michael Cheek.
Walsh had to be stretchered off the pitch with a suspected broken ankle following the incident, receiving a rapturous applause from all corners of the ground as he was taken down the tunnel.
After the match resumed Eyre was forced into making a top-draw save when Addlesbury let fly from distance, only to see The Clarets ‘keeper spring to his left to tip the ball over expertly.
Artus’ effort late in the second half, and Addlesbury’s header and long range efforts were to be the closest either side would come to breaking the deadlock, although Pratt will feel he should have done better with his header inside the area which went straight down the throat of Eyre.
Chelmsford continued to frustrate in front of goal, with Southam’s low drive from the edge of the area being comfortably saved by Mellor as the two sides shared the points, both still in search of their first goals in the new season.
Afterwards, manager Mark Hawkes saw it as two points dropped rather than one point gained, saying “I’m fairly disappointed today because we had a great opportunity to come away and get three points.
“I think they (Bath) were nervy to start with but we didn’t keep the ball for long enough periods and in the last third we didn’t put them under enough pressure.”
Hawkes though was pleased to see his side keep a clean sheet, as was Mark Haines, who said after the match “clean-sheets, that’s what we defenders live for. We’ve leaked a few goals in the last two games, so it’s good to have kept a clean sheet.”
1. Jason Mellor
2. Dan Bowman
3. Dan Ball
4. Andy Gallinagh (C)
5. Sekani Simpson
6. Phil Walsh
7. Chris Allen
8. Ben Addlesbury
9. Dave Pratt
10. Andy Watkins
11. Frankie Artus
12. Ross Stearn (on for Andy Watkins, 66’)
14. Ashley Kington (on for Chris Allen, 78’)
15. Chas Hemmings
16. Pat Keary (on for Phil Walsh, 57’)
17. Martin Slocombe
1. Nick Eyre
2. James Love
3. Leon Redwood
4. Mark Hughes (C)
5. Mark Haines
6. Matt Fry
7. Lee Sawyer
8. Glen Southam
9. Luke Callander
10. Michael Cheek
11. Joe Ward
12. Rohdell Gordon (on for Luke Callander, 67)
14. Marvin Ekpiteta
15. Amir Berkane
16. Harry Morgan
19. Niklas Freund
Bath: Frankie Artus 76’ (Foul)
Referee: Adrian Quelch (Christchurch)
Assistant Referees: Martin Underhay (Weymouth) & Lee Rutter (Poole)
City Man of the Match: Matt Fry