After winning against the odds last week in the Supplementary Cup, Wootton Bassett Town were favourites to beat a struggling Easington Sports side but yet again failed to beat a side who they should have disposed of with ease.
Bassett's habit of starting poorly continued as Easington took the lead in the fourth minute, with ease. Gareth Source had a shot deflected and an unmarked Perry Hawkins was able to slot easily past Paul Hawkins after picking up the loose ball in what Bassett felt was an offside position. On 13 minutes Source was booked for persistent fouling.
In the 22nd minute a rash decision from Easington 'keeper Paul O'Connor gave Bassett a chance to equalise. O'Connor flapped at a Sam Lawro corner and the ball fell to Richard Gee. Gee attempted to lob O'Connor but his shot was tipped just over.
Paul Burke was forced into an early change on 25 minutes after Matty Bennett picked up an ankle injury and Mark Hammond was brought on to replace him; Bennett's early exit was a blow to Bassett as it took away a player who could have had a field day against the poor Easington defence.
Three minutes after Hammond's introduction, his hard work should have finally given Bassett a goal. Hammond latched onto a Rich Unwin through ball before rounding O'Connor and squaring to Paul Crabtree who was alone in the six yard box. Crabtree was beaten to the ball though and it was somehow cleared over the bar.
With five minutes to go before half time a Lawro corner was deflected to the far post where Lee Marshall connected with a header that went just wide.
Bassett managed to equalise before half time when they were awarded a penalty a minute into first half stoppage time when Mark Hammond was held back by O'Connor. Steve Yeardley duly dispatched the ball into the bottom left corner.
Two minutes after the restart the lanky Joel Bloxham headed down to Perry Hawkins who shot just wide from the edge of the area.
Three minutes later a curling Marshall free kick forced a save from O'Connor who could only palm the shot wide before Rich Unwin was booked for a late lunge a minute later.
In the 53rd minute Marshall flicked on a Steve Bunting throw and Hammond was able to get a deft touch on the ball but he saw his effort go out off the outside of the post.
Anthony McCusker replaced Unwin just after the hour mark before Andy Hallett made his first appearance after half a season away from the club, replacing Justin Hyde.
Despite most of the second half being played in Easington's half, Bassett couldn't convert their pressure into meaningful chances as the offside flag and poor touches brought attacks to an abrupt halt.
With seven minutes a great save from Paul Hawkins kept Bassett from losing a point. Paul Crabtree lost possession at midfield after being sold short by Bunting and Adam Daley intercepted. Daley ran to the byline before cutting back to an unmarked Ian Thomas. Thomas shot from ten yards but Hawkins dived to his left and pulled off a fine save.
Hammond had a chance come out of nothing at the other end with three minutes to go following a Crabtree ball. Hammond received the pass on the edge of the area, surrounded by three defenders, and somehow managed to wriggle his way through them. However the ball squirmed loose from beneath his feet and before he was able to pounce on the loose ball O'Connor had smothered it.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Steve Bunting – another solid outing, contributing well at the back as well as going forward as he made some great headers to clear his lines and linked up well with the midfield. His crosses and long throws caused problems for the Easington defence, creating chances that weren't converted.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 – Another below par performance against a side who were one of the worst teams faced all year. The loss of Bennett early on and the absence of Ben Gascoyne took away some of the firepower up front but, still, Bassett should have won comfortably.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Friday 18th September 2020 at 10:28