Slough pushed for a goal and had several chances throughout the game, but a finishing touch was just out of reach as Hinds’ 48th-minute finish proved enough for Bath to progress to the Fourth Qualifying Round of the competition.
The away side began the match with an attacking move and the first opportunity to take the lead, but Hinds saw his effort fly well over the crossbar. Slough reacted by working their way into the fixture with a good early run of possession, and attacker Jack McKnight saw his lofted free-kick from the edge of the box go over inside the fifth minute.
Bath had a penalty appeal waved away by referee Jason Richardson before Slough created the first troubling moment for the Romans’ defence. Cam McGilp led a bursting run down the right before finding Dan Roberts on the edge of the six-yard box, but the forward’s low-driven shot was held well by Ryan Clarke in the Bath goal.
The hosts continued to build the pressure and Paul Hodges almost found the net after Clarke failed to clear a corner kick, but the midfielder’s attempt went over the bar. Hodges again went in search of the advantage, this time seeing his close-range strike trickle wide 34 minutes into play.
But the closest chance of the half for Slough fell to McKnight. The midfielder struck a 25-yard free-kick, curling his shot around the Bath wall before seeing the effort tipped just wide.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first after the visitors seized another early possession. This time Bath made their move count as Tom Richards picked out Hinds on the edge of the six-yard box. The forward made no mistake in calmy guiding his strike past Jack Turner to give the Romans the lead.
The Rebels posed an immediate threat from the restart and quickly saw a back-post header tipped over by Clarke.
But Bath searched for a second goal and breathing room, and they were almost successful when the Hinds saw his blistering strike skim the crossbar 55 minutes into play. Turner then produced a fine save to deny Tom Harris’ low-driven effort from doubling the visitors’ lead.
Neil Baker and Jon Underwood’s side piled on the pressure in the latter stages of the game with McKnight and McGlip causing a headache for the Bath defence. An array of shots flew towards the Bath goalmouth in the 80th minute, all of which were blocked before McGlip’s lashed effort went wide.
Louis Lomas broke down the left wing before placing a pinpoint delivery into the heart of the penalty area, but substitute Warren Harris pulled his header wide of the far post. The Romans held firm for the remaining moments of the game to register a narrow victory.
Report: Dan Lewis
Image: Philip Benton
Bath City Line up
Ryan Clarke, Tom Smith, Jack Batten, Dan Ball, Callum Evans, Ryan Harley, Tom Richards, Jason Pope, Tom Leak, Freddie Hinds (Callum Watts 66), Lucas Thomlinson (Freddie Grant 90+2). Unused substitutes: Lloyd James, Will Henry, Lewis Bahadur.