Paul Harrison, Terry Hanrahan
The First Round Wilts Senior Cup game proved to be a thrilling affair. With 15 minutes to go it all but looked over with Wootton Bassett two goals to the good but Bemerton just would not give up and responded with two late goals to take the game into extra time, and consequently on to a replay next week down at Bemerton. Bemerton who have not been going as well as normal in the league, took the game to Bassett right from the word go. Allying their strong running with a well organised offside trap, which was to catch the Bassett front three far too often. They caused Bassett a few problems early on, though Rees was only called upon once, coming off his line quickly to gather a loose ball. In fact, the opening goal, a splendid one after 15 minutes was to come slightly against the run of play. Hanrahan picked the ball up just inside his own half and turned to lay a fine pass over the Bemerton defence to Harrison, who had timed his run from midfield perfectly, leaving him 15 yards clear. He ran on with the ball and calmly placed it to the right of the advancing keeper. The rest of the first half saw the game switching from end to end with several goalmouth incidents, though neither side created any further clear-cut chances.
The second half saw no let-up in the pace of the game and the physical but fair nature of it. Bemerton again perhaps had more of the play though Bassett always looked dangerous on the counter. The second Bassett goal followed some good work from Vines, who's been having an excellent season in the heart of the midfield. Winning the ball with a solid tackle he played a fine pass inside the full back for Hanrahan, who took it on into the box before firing positively home. This signalled the start of the best period of the game for Bassett and following a number of half chances a quickly taken short corner was crossed in only for an unmarked Frost to head the ball straight into the arms of the keeper. This proved to be the turning point of the game. From the keeper's kick the ball found its way to Bemerton's nippy right winger who settled it under the advancing Rees. Rejuvenated and throwing caution to the wind with only ten minutes left, Bemerton now came forward in numbers. Rees saved Bassett twice, firstly turning a fierce drive over the bar, and then making a marvellous reaction save from the Bemerton centre forward. As happens so often in cup games, the equaliser, five minutes from time, had a portion of luck in it. A fiercely hit shot was going straight at Rees when it hit Harrison and looped up and over the stranded keeper. Bassett tried to respond, York having a shot go just wide, but to no avail the game going into extra time. The additional 30 minutes proved to be just as fiercely contested as the first 90. Bassett created two good chances, Frost firstly shooting tamely at the keeper when clear then York just going wide again, when a square ball to Hanrahan may have been the better option. Both sides also had what seemed justified penalty appeals turned down. The final effort to win the game came from Bemerton when a fierce shot cannoned off the Bassett crossbar. Although Bassett should never have let the two goal lead slip, full marks should go to Bemerton for battling back into the game, and the replay next week is eagerly awaited.
Credit: Paul Harrison
Last modified on Sunday 15th November 2020 at 18:40
Paul Harrison, Terry Hanrahan