Wootton Bassett TownWBTFC
North Leigh
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WBTFC Scorers:
G Swatton

Bassett Topple Top of the Table North Leigh

Rylands Way, 4th February 2003

Bassett shrugged off the challenge of top of the table visitors North Leigh in a thrilling encounter at Rylands Way to win 1-0 thanks to a late, Geoff Swatton goal and some brilliant Bassett defending.

Bassett were the most dangerous of the two sides in the first few minutes with Geoff Swatton having three good opportunities.

North Leigh's first chance came after twelve minutes when Nick Hughes had a shot blocked in the six yard box from a corner kick.

Bassett created another good chance three minutes later when Ben Gascoyne had a shot saved by Kevin Alder after, what Barry Giles said was 'magic' work by Nick Tooley. Dave Jones fired in a shot from 25 yards out in the twentieth minute but his shot was comfortably saved.

North Leigh picked up the pace halfway through the first half and started putting pressure on the Bassett defence. In the 29th minute they earned a corner when a cross from the right was put behind by the Bassett defence. Two minutes later North Leigh's best chance of the half came when a Harry Burnley shot wasn't dealt with, but luckily for Bassett, it sped past the far post.

Bassett were let off again on 34 minutes when North Leigh captain Gary Murphy hit wide.

Bassett had two further chances before the half time whistle. On forty minutes a Dave Jones free kick dipped just over from 30 yards and a minute later Geoff Swatton hit over again following a good Justin Hyde run.

Bassett were the better team in the first half and had numerous chances to take the lead – most falling to Geoff Swatton and Dave Jones but the game remained without a goal at the break.

Bassett, again, were the team who got off to the best start in the second half. Two minutes after the restart, Ben Gascoyne had a good chance but missed following a Geoff Swatton cross.

On fifty minutes, another Geoff Swatton ball led to the best chance of the game at that point, as Danny Clayton hit both the bar and post.

Bassett continued to press and in the 53rd minute Ben Gascoyne fell in the box and Bassett were awarded a penalty. The penalty though, was missed as Stu Lamont failed to convert with Kevin Alder saving his weak spot kick.

Bassett were still searching for an opening and were given a scare on the hour mark when Darren Maisey put through Matty Ellis who was just beaten to the ball by oncoming Bassett 'keeper Rich Stevens.

Bassett were lucky not to go down to ten men a minute later when Justin Hyde was booked for raising his hands at a North Leigh player. Bassett were on the back foot at this point and were let off once again due to excellent defending this time by Steve Yeardley and Rich Stevens who pressured Nick Hughes, who placed his shot wide.

Dave Jones put Geoff Swatton through in the 69th minute but unfortunately Swatton hit the post before North Leigh had Mark Lewis booked for a bad foul. The game was getting aggressive by this stage and referee Tony Sharkey was having trouble controlling the players.

January Player of the Month Rich Stevens saved Bassett again in the 71st minute by pulling off an awesome save to deny Nick Hughes a certain goal. On this form Stevens looks like he will also be February's player of the month.

At the other end Geoff Swatton was denied again when Kevin Alder pulled off another great save to thwart Bassett's lively striker.

Bassett made their first change on 82 minutes bringing Gary Ashford on for Ben Gascoyne. He had an immediate impact as he headed Geoff Swatton clear of the North Leigh defence and Swatton scored a superb goal following a twenty yard run and powerful shot past Kevin Alder.

Five minutes from time a controversial incident happened when Steve Yeardley went down in the Bassett box following a punch before a North Leigh free kick. To the dismay of the watching home fans no official saw the incident, only the resulting felled Bassett player, and the offending North Leigh player escaped what should have been a clear red card.

North Leigh threw everything but the kitchen sink at Bassett in the closing stages but were unsuccessful due to brilliant Bassett defending.

Bassett brought Justin Hyde off and replaced him with Mark Hammond for the final couple of minutes but Hammond had no time to make an impact.

Bassett came away with a great 1-0 victory against the league leaders and will look to beat another top side in Highworth Town and the returning Steve Hale on Saturday.

Manager's Man of the Match: Steve Yeardley (Mick Byrne's choice not Pete's)

Scoop's Man of the Match: Justin Hyde – a great game running up and down in midfield – doing his job well.

Scoop Rating: 10/10 – A super performance both defensively and offensively. Great performances by Rich Stevens, Geoff Swatton, Justin Hyde, Steve Yeardley and Ben Gascoyne especially.

Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Wednesday 2nd September 2020 at 10:13

Wootton Bassett TownWBTFC
North Leigh
Wootton Bassett Town Logo
1 ‒ 0
North Leigh Logo

WBTFC Scorers:
G Swatton