Wootton Bassett Town suffered two huge losses – one in their battle to stave off relegation, the other the loss of the influential Dave Tyler – in their first game over the Easter period; Bassett lost 1-0 to bottom side Bicester and Tyler headed off in an ambulance with a very serious neck injury.
The home side were on the back foot straight away and Mark Wickens should have given Bicester the lead in the 4th minute but he hit over from six yards following a cross from Steve Blackwood.
A minute later poor defending allowed the ball to fall to Louis Pilgrim but his blasted shot took a deflection and went wide.
With a quarter of an hour gone, Mark Scanes gave Bicester a deserved lead. Pilgrim jinked his way through the Bassett defence before squaring to Scanes, who easily rolled the ball past Daryl Simms.
Blackwood then came close with half an hour on the clock. He hit over on the half volley after Steve Miles nodded the ball down to the Bicester forward.
Bassett lacked a spark and only Ben Gascoyne was able to find the target when his shot from the edge of the area was snuffed out by 'keeper Richard Darvill.
Bicester gave Bassett one last scare before the break when Dean Smith got a deft touch on a long Scanes throw in at the back post, after eluding Tom Messenger but Simms was there to hold on.
After a lacklustre first half performance from the same team that defeated Almondsbury in the week, Chris Jones enforced his first change at the break – bringing Rich Willis on to replace Carl Taylor.
Bassett had two decent chances before the hour, both from corners. Firstly, Ash Bradshaw struck the corner of the woodwork from an in-swinging corner before another Bradshaw corner led to a goalmouth scramble where Dave Tyler should have bundled the ball across the line.
A good run by Tyler allowed Leigh Jones a sight on goal in the 62nd minute. However, Jones hit just over from 25 yards.
Andy Hallett replaced Messenger three minutes later before Tyler suffered his injury.
The Bassett forward rose to challenge for a header with Vinnie Byfield but injured his neck forcing a half hour stoppage for Tyler to be taken to hospital in an ambulance; Rob Hopkins was Tyler's replacement.
After the stoppage, Chris Mills nearly got the chance to equalise but 'keeper Darvill was quick to react to a Ben Gascoyne ball over the top and palmed away before Mills could get there.
Lee Morse hit a 25-yard free kick with six minutes left and Bassett now need to bounce back with a win over Tuffley on Monday.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Leigh Jones – battled well in the middle of the park, standing out in a very below average performance.
Scoop Rating: 4/10 – Never looked like scoring again and failed to create. Looked sloppy at the back early on after a great performance midweek.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Wednesday 16th September 2020 at 14:13