Bassett strike five in cup goalfest

Royal Wootton Bassett Town triumphed 5-3 against Stonehouse Town in their Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup second round match.

Royal Wootton Bassett Town struck five goals on the way to their first win of the 2019-20 campaign as they defeated Stonehouse Town 5-3 in a high-octane Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup second round encounter.

It certainly was not the prettiest of victories, with Bassett's performance veering from being dominant in spells to lacklustre in others. However, with a number of Sam Collier's team still getting acclimated to playing with one another, that is to be expected. And they still did more than enough to book a place in the next round of the Challenge Cup without facing too much real difficulty against plucky Division One West opposition.

Bassett controlled the game early on and were a perfectly-timed Ryan Thwaite tackle away from taking the lead after only twelve minutes as the defender slid in to deny Brad Pagliaroli.

But the Bassett winger was not to be stopped three minutes later as he coolly sent Will Pedrick the wrong way from the penalty spot after Danny Langford had been clipped from behind by Jake Gardiner in the box

That lead was doubled ten minutes later as Pagliaroli this time turned provider. His towering corner caused a mini-scramble to ensue in the Stonehouse area and the ball dropped at the far post for defender Chris Jackson, who saw his first effort bounce off the post before scrambling the rebound just over the line.

A touch of brilliance from Stonehouse then halved the deficit for the hosts. They had struggled to create anything from open play in the opening half hour, but found the net when captain Alex Kibble powered a stunning free kick from the edge of the area into the top right corner.

Yet the visitors restored their two goal advantage four minutes before half time. Racing onto Pagliaroli's ball over the top, Langford was able to get goalside of Lee Keveren before the defender hauled him down for another clear penalty. Pagliaroli went the same way from the spot, tucking the ball into the bottom left corner with Pedrick not even attempting a dive.

Bassett then began the second half seemingly brimming with confidence. And it looked as though they were going to run away with the tie as two goals made it 5-1.

Caine Bradbury was unfortunate not to get his team's fourth when his shot on the turn was turned around the post by Kedrick.

The resulting corner did bring a goal though. Pagliaroli's inswinger was only half cleared and the winger was able to recycle the ball into the box. It fell for Jon Davoile, who, with his back to goal, set a pass back to Harrison Lea and the midfielder steered in from an angle.

Less than a minute elapsed before Bassett had their fifth. Bradbury raced onto a pass played over the top into the right corner, and the impressive youngster squared for an unmarked Mani Roper, who, after an initial poor first touch, calmly slotted beneath Pedrick.

There should have been no way back into the game for Stonehouse. But Bassett appeared to take their foot off the gas, inviting pressure from their hosts.

Nathan Buckland fired across goal after getting in behind the defence before Chris Earle headed over Adam Philp's cross while unmarked.

They then cut the deficit to three shortly after the hour. Bassett cleared a corner only as far as Earle, and he picked out the bottom right corner with a fine 25-yard drive.

Seven minutes later they made it 5-3 as Bassett's frailty defending set pieces haunted them again. Tim Williams steered in a free kick from deep on the right and an unmarked Philp guided a header into the bottom corner from twelve yards.

Stonehouse could well have pulled within one goal too, which would have made things very interesting given that they were now in the ascendancy. The chance arrived in strange circumstances as the referee ignored his assistant flagging for offside. With the Bassett defence stopped, Earle found himself through one-on-one. However, Adam House was on hand to turn his shot around the post.

It was the last opportunity the Division One West side were able to conjure up, with Bassett failing to finally kill the game off as substitute Tinashe Gwavava snatched at a square pass from Alfie Presley when through.

It was not Bassett's finest display. But producing five goals and, most importantly, a victory should hopefully allow Sam Collier and his team to kick on in the coming weeks after a stuttering opening fortnight.

Man of the Match: Caine Bradbury – having already played at full back and in central midfielder, the youngster continued to demonstrate his versatility by putting in a good quality display in the number ten role behind the striker.

Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 17th August 2019 at 18:38