Waters easily outsmart pedestrian Bassett

Saturday 21 September 2019 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 22 September 2019 at 21:26)

Royal Wootton Bassett Town's winless start to the Hellenic League Premier Division season continued as they were beaten 3-1 at home by Virginia Water.

Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, 21st September 2019

Royal Wootton Bassett Town's search for a first win in the Hellenic League Premier Division season rolls on after they were humbled 3-1 on their own turf by Virginia Water.

The visiting Waters were fitter, better organised and far smarter than their pedestrian hosts. While Bassett had more of the ball throughout the game, they were ultimately far too easy to defend against.

Virignia Water's backline was rarely stretched and play was consistently in front of them as the lack of pace in Bassett's team was exposed. The visitors were patient enough to sit back and not chase the ball as Bassett circulated it around with no real intent. And often enough, attacks would fizz out with no serious questions being asked.

At the other end, a pair of mistakes gifted the visitors their opening two, well-taken goals before a third came late on the counter to kill any hopes Sam Collier's team had of staging a comeback following TJ Bohane's volleyed effort.

Though neither side gave that much of a positive impression early on, there were some signs of hope in the opening minutes for Bassett. And they almost went ahead midway through the first half when Caine Bradbury lost his marker to meet Harrison Lea's cross from the deep in the box, but he could only steer inches wide of the left post.

Declane Lehmann was called into action for Bassett when Adam McNamara turned veteran Wayne Turk, but the Bassett 'keeper was more than equal to the forward's shot.

Alfie Presley then came close to Bassett as he stretched to get on the end of a Brad Pagliaroli cross, forcing a point-blank parry from Matt Jones.

The game appeared to be headed into half time goalless though. That was until a heavy touch from Turk allowed Josh Dillon to pounce on the ball and feed a pass through to Paul Burrows making an inside run from his position on the left wing. With just Lehmann to beat, the midfielder comfortably picked out the bottom right corner.

A great saving tackle from Adam Mills denied Presley a shot at goal following a break initiated by Tinashe Gwavava two minutes before the interval.

And, a goal down at half time, Bassett's woes were compounded on the hour mark when Burrows added his second. Possession was again carelessly conceded inside their own territory, and substitute Martin Peters fed a pass through the middle for Burrows, who was just able to stay onside. The midfielder had all the time in the world to steady himself to shoot, and while Lehmann got a hand to his effort, the ball crept in over the line.

In a desperate possession, Bassett were unable to inject the necessary energy into the game.

They had a couple of near misses, with Adam Corcoran's close range flick swatted away and Gio Wrona finding the post with a speculative drive.

With twelve minutes remaining they did get on the board as TJ Bohane volleyed in Pagliaroli's sweet left wing cross.

That was the extent of the response Bassett could muster though. And the visitors restored their two-goal advance with three minutes of normal time remaining. No pressure was put on the ball as Virginia Water broke from deep. Play was then spread to McNamara on the right and his low cross into the box was met with a simple sidefoot finish from Peters.

This may only have been Bassett's fifth league contest of the season. But even then, October is just around the corner - and there's every chance they'll enter the third month of the season with a big round zero still in the win column.

In normal circumstances it would be an extreme exaggeration to label Wednesday's visit to Longlevens a must-win encounter. But that's the territory Bassett find themselves in as they now sit bottom of the table.

Man of the Match: Caine Bradbury – the midfielder was the only Bassett player who really asked any questions of Virginia's Water defence, showing willing to make runs in behind. He was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet in the first half, his run into the box deserving better as he steered wide from Harrison Lea's delivery.

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