M King, S Tucker
Goals from Steve Tucker and Mark King were enough for Wootton Bassett Town as they recorded their first away victory of the year with a 2-0 win over Hook Norton.
Travelling hasn't really suited Bassett over the past couple of seasons, and after a baron run so far this year away from Rylands Way, Paul Burke's side knew they had to put in a solid performance to stand a chance – and that's what was put in with the defence managing a first clean sheet of the year and 'keeper John Haines having next to nothing to do.
The opening stages of the match were dull with neither team able to suss each other out. Ben Gascoyne cut inside the Hook Norton defence on fifteen minutes but his effort rolled wide before Haines easily saved from a weak Richard Northover effort a minute later.
The next action came 30 minutes in with two bookings being produced – one for Hook Norton's Mark Ward for persistent fouling and the other to Ben Gascoyne for retaliation.
Both of the sides kept looking to play the long ball on a flat pitch suitable for passing football and Bassett rode their luck a couple of times after giving the ball away in midfield but never did their opponents look likely to capitalize.
Tucker eventually broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time. Moses Greene took on three defenders before laying the ball into the corner for Stu Hemsley. Hemsley cut the ball back across goal from the byline and, after attempts to clear the ball away by the Hook Norton defence, the ball fell to Tucker who easily tapped in for his first of the season.
Two minutes after the break, Robbie Canaway whipped in a free kick from the right that was met with a glancing header from Mark Ward but the ball trickled just wide of the far post.
Stu Hemsley was replaced by Tom Messenger on 55 minutes after Hemsley had picked up an injury before Dean Barker nearly snuck past the Bassett defence but a good challenge by Steve Yeardley put Barker off balance and Haines easily scooped up his shot.
Greene was replaced by Mark King just before the hour and Dwayne Quinn ten minutes later for Ben Gascoyne.
Quinn and King combined to set up Tucker in the 72nd minute but Tucker's shot from twenty yards went wide with 'keeper William Johnson caught off his line.
Johnson was forced to make a great save from a Craig Maclaren header with five minutes left after Maclaren connected with a Steve Bunting corner.
Two minutes later Ward chipped just over at the other end after his long range effort nearly caught Haines out.
Tucker had another opportunity in the 90th minute after a Messenger through ball, however the finish wasn't good enough and the ball went wide.
A minute later King settled the contest with a fine solo goal as he the ball through the Hook Norton defence and coolly placed the ball past Johnson.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Steve Bunting – Brilliant in the air and a presence down the right, winning tackles and putting in some decent balls for the frontmen; worked tirelessly all day.
Scoop Rating: 7/10 – Edgy at times but deserved victory. Solid at the back, never looking likely to concede, contributing to a solid all round performance.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Thursday 17th September 2020 at 09:57
M King, S Tucker