S Tucker (2), B Gascoyne
A brace for Steve Tucker set Wootton Bassett Town on their way to a comfortable 3-1 win away at Clanfield in a game that produced nine yellow cards even though it wasn't a rough match.
The game didn't start well for Bassett though. A Jason Court free kick was tipped wide by Paul Hawkins to set up a corner, which Clanfield took the lead from in the 3rd minute.
Court whipped the corner in from the left hand side and Richard Mace outjumped Dwayne Quinn at the far post and headed into the top corner.
Tucker should have opened his account a minute later as Matty Bennett cut the ball back to the penalty spot for the unmarked Tucker, but his shot was straight at Dan Harding and cleared away.
Seven minutes later a sweeping Bassett move got Tucker his first. Mark King played the ball out to Bennett on the right, who whipped in an inch perfect first time cross to Tucker and he easily slotted the ball past Harding.
Tucker almost turned provider for Bennett in the 16th minute but Bennett's header from a Tucker set piece went just over as Bennett and Stu Hemsley went for the same ball. Tucker shot just wide from 20-yards a minute later as Bassett took advantage of a poor defence.
Ben Gascoyne gave Bassett the lead on 19 minutes. Gascoyne cut inside from his left wing position before twisting and turning his way past three Clanfield defenders and, with the faintest of touches, rolled the ball into the back of the net.
Tucker grabbed his second five minutes later as he found himself in the right place at the right time after Clanfield failed to clear their lines. A Matty Bennett shot from just outside the box was deflected and parried away by Harding but the ball fell to the unmarked Tucker and he passed the ball into the open goal.
Although Bassett had easily created three goals in an eleven minute span, the game was still on and a mistake from Steve Yeardley – who went for the ball and missed – gave John Edmunds a site at goal. Edmunds hit a shot from 25-yards, beating Paul Hawkins but the ball bounced back out off the post.
Sam Lawro then nearly scored his first goal for the club with a spectacular effort. A corner wasn't cleared properly by Clanfield and the ball fell to Lawro 30 yards out and the youngster unleashed a powerful volley only for Harding to tip it wide brilliantly.
Just before half time, Steve Bunting and Tucker found themselves in the book – Bunting for a late challenge that didn't necessarily warrant a yellow and Tucker for dissent.
Both teams defended well at the start of the second period, with Bassett ditching the flowing football that had allowed them to carve open the Clanfield defence in the first half and trying to run the ball into the back of the net instead.
The breakdown in attacks allowed Clanfield to break often but solid defending by Dwayne Quinn, Steve Yeardley and Rich Gee snuffed out the majority of these breaks; Clanfield failed to produce an effort that troubled Hawkins in the second half.
On the hour mark, two more yellows were produced – Court for Clanfield due to dissent and Quinn for Bassett for a foul. Five minutes later, Matty Bennett received a yellow for delaying the restart of play before he was replaced by Tom Messenger.
Adam Greaney replaced Quinn in the 70th minute before a short Stu Hemsley free kick into the feet of Steve Tucker gave Tucker a good chance to get his hat trick but his shot was straight at Harding.
Ben Gascoyne was booked for tripping although he slipped with 15 minutes to go and Simon Jones replaced Gascoyne immediately after his caution.
Referee Gregory was obviously in the Christmas spirit as he continued to dish out present by the way of yellow cards before the end – Mace and Nathan Radbone were booked for the home side whilst Adam Greaney picked up Bassett's last yellow of the day.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Steve Tucker – held the ball up well and showed his eye for goal although he should have had a hat trick.
Scoop Rating: 7/10 – A solid performance all round in tricky conditions. Looked great going forward in the first half with some brilliant football before defending well in the second period.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Thursday 17th September 2020 at 18:59
S Tucker (2), B Gascoyne