M Bennett, L Morse
King George V Ground, 4th September 2004
An 89th minute goal from Neil Saunders robbed Bassett Town of a replay as Exmouth Town won their Preliminary Round tie by three goals to two.
Bassett were the better team for most of the game but failed to capitalise on this as poor defending led to three silly goals and some abysmal officiating also cost them dear.
After five minutes, Exmouth nearly took the lead when Richard Pears got goalside of Rich Willis but headed over a Steve May free kick.
A minute later, Bassett were ahead when Andy Youngsam played through Matty Bennett who slotted under 'keeper Simon Harris and the ball went in off the post.
It wasn't long until Exmouth drew level. In the 12th minute, Tom Gardner put a free header past Lee Flynn as May picked him out with another free kick.
Lee Morse gave Bassett the lead again in the 15th minute when he delivered a perfect free kick which dipped over the wall and into the back of the net from twenty yards.
Three minutes later, Richard Pears came close for the home side when he shot over from twenty yards whilst unmarked.
Lee Flynn was called into action again after 20 minutes as he tipped over from May's free kick.
May again nearly created a goal as Pears connected with his cross but he headed over from a free header.
In the 32nd minute, the scores were again level; Richard Spiller ran through three Bassett defenders and fired home past Lee Flynn from ten yards out.
Two minutes later Matt Bennett was booked for kicking the ball away after being adjudged offside when he was in his own half. He didn't hear a whistle so carried on and the referee decided to book him. Just before the break Paul Pocock volleyed over from the edge of the area and the scores were tied at the break.
Spiller and Bennett had half chances early on in the second half but failed to convert. On the hour mark Rich Willis nearly scored an own goal as he connected with a deep ball from Steve Jenkins and Willis chipped just over the bar.
Nine minutes later, Paul Pocock fired a 25-yard effort, which rebounded off the bar before, Pears fired in the follow up but Flynn made a great reflex save to shut it away.
Dave Tyler replaced John Magani in the 71st minute to add more strength in the midfield, as Bassett weren't winning the majority of 50-50 balls.
Pocock then tried a pot shot from forty yards, which went just over the bar thirteen minutes from time before, in the 81st minute young Mark King made his debut, replacing Steve Bunting.
In the 89th minute – when the tie looked as though it was heading for a replay – Neil Saunders grabbed a late winner for the home side. He connected with a Spiller cross after Spiller and May had worked a quick free kick, catching the defence off guard and Saunders headed home.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Andy Youngsam – Set up the first goal and played a part in the second earning the free kick. He worked tirelessly all game but failed to trouble the score sheet.
Scoop Rating: 7/10 – On the day the better team but three defensive errors cost Bassett a home tie in the next round versus Salisbury City. Then again this was the first time in 52 years, so there is plenty more FA Cup football to look forward to in the coming seasons.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
M Bennett, L Morse