R Gee, N Hall
Wootton Bassett Town's defence once again showed why they are the best in the league as they kept another clean sheet â€“ their seventh of the year â€“ in a comfortable 2-0 victory away at Malmesbury Victoria.
Bassett did the damage in the first half and took the lead in the 13th minute when Rich Gee headed home at the far post from an in-swinging Nathan Hall free kick taken from what looked like an impossible angle.
Five minutes later the lead should have been doubled but Lee Marshall headed over a free header from a Matty Bennett cross.
A looping cross from Andy Mitchell tested John Haines just before the half hour mark as his cross from the right sailed just over.
In the 33rd minute Jon Smith missed a sitter, which should have levelled the game up again. Mitchell cut the ball back to Smith, who was lurking on the edge of the six yard box but the Malmesbury forward shot wide of the near post.
Five minutes before the break Bennett latched onto a Hall through ball before nutmegging the last man. Bennett's finished wasn't up to scratch though as he dragged the ball wide with his left foot from the edge of the area.
However Bassett doubled the lead a minute before the break when Sam Lawro played a ball into the corner and both Bennett and Malmesbury 'keeper Martin Woodhouse chased it down. Bennett was first to the ball and rounded Woodhouse before cutting the ball from the byline to an unmarked Hall, who tapped into the open goal from six yards.
Malmesbury forced a save out of Haines in first half stoppage time as he was equal to a Rob Hunt header.
Nine minutes after the restart a first time effort from Mitchell sailed over before Anthony McCusker was booked for dissent. Hall then shot over from the edge of the area in the 57th minute.
Two minutes later Bennett latched onto a clearance from Gee in behind the Malmesbury defence. Bennett ran untouched towards goal and shot from 15 yards, forcing a good save from Woodhouse who tipped wide. Steve Bunting replaced McCusker in the 60th minute before Chris Hawkins came on for Stu Hemsley nine minutes later.
With sixteen minutes left, Hawkins drilled a low cross into the box, which struck a Malmesbury defender and if it weren't for the positioning of Woodhouse, Bassett would have furthered their lead.
A trip by Nathan Hall earned him a yellow card in the 81st minute before Ryan Whitefield was given his debut, the ex-Cricklade player replacing Paul Crabtree.
Malmesbury pushed for a goal that would pull them to within one of their opponents but this search was in vain as the Bassett defence held out.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Richard Gee â€“ didn't let anything past him all game and scored the opener, which brought life into the Bassett side following a shaky start.
Scoop Rating: 7/10 â€“ A comfortable win, which could have been by more. Were shaky at times but Malmesbury never looked like scoring.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Friday 18th September 2020 at 10:47
R Gee, N Hall