Tytherington Rocks brought Wootton Bassett Town back down to earth with a 1-0 victory in a game which had it all. Despite a flurry of missed chances, a penalty and a sending off, only the odd goal separated the two sides at the end of a frustrating night for Paul Burke's side.
Tytherington, one of the pre-season favourites along with Bassett to take Winterbourne's crown, should have led 3-0 going into the half time break as they totally outclassed a sluggish Bassett side in the opening 45 minutes.
After only twenty seconds Dave Legg shot straight at John Haines after a long punt over the top had him through one-on-one with the Bassett 'keeper.
A Paul Crabtree mistake gifted the visitors the lead after 17 minutes as his clearance went straight to Jimmy Potts. The pacy forward cut the ball back to Mark Totterdale who gave Haines no chance from ten yards.
Legg could have had a hat trick inside 30 minutes when he headed over whilst unmarked at the far post.
The opening period ended on a sour note with three cards having to be produced. Firstly Rich Gee got a yellow for an innocuous challenge. Then, three minutes before half time Mark Totterdale shoved Stu Hemsley, enciting a melee. Totterdale, deservedly received his marching orders whilst Hemsley received a caution for his part in events.
An injury forced Paul Crabtree off at half time as Scott Large came on in his place.
Twelve minutes after the restart disaster struck for Bassett as Potts got the better of John Davis who upended him in the box. However a cheeky chipped penalty from Potts was batted away by a Haines diving to his right to keep the visitors lead at a minimum.
Mark King replaced Davis a minute later to give Bassett more options up front. The move almost immediately paid off when tough tackling from King put Large through. The youngsters' shot was brilliant parried away though with Large looking to slot the ball into the bottom corner.
Both sides then had a flurry of excellent chances. Midway through the half Potts took the ball to the byline and tried slotting under Haines. Large though was there to pick up the pieces and scramble the ball off the line.
On 71 minutes Nathan Hall received the ball unmarked on the edge of the area but hit a weak shot wide. Tytherington immediately broke and Potts, ever the threat, took the ball round four defenders before squaring to Legg. However Steve Yeardley was able to clear off the line to save Bassett once more.
Legg continued his poor form in front of goal when, with 16 minutes to go, he somehow hit wide from 12 yards out after more good work from Potts. A minute later Legg received Jon Peacock's cross at the far post but hit the ball across the face of goal.
Anthony McCusker replaced Stu Hemsley in the 77th minute. A minute later John Magani connected with a Gee cross but didn't put enough power behind his header which drifted agonizingly wide.
Tom Messenger's strike from 20 yards in the 85th minute was spilt by Rob Dent and rolled wide, out of the reach of an outstretched Yeardley.
Bassett continued to press for an equaliser and came close through their captain a minute later but his dramatic overhead kick from a Steve Bunting cross sailed wide.
Yeardley then headed just over from a Mark King cross in injury time as Bassett's late efforts coming up short after a dreadful opening period.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Steve Bunting â€“ worked hard throughout, never shirking a challenge. Provided some decent crosses for the front men but to no avail.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 â€“ How the game ended up being settled by a single goal God only knows. Some slack defending and poor passing in the middle of the park should have gifted Tytherington more than the one goal. The introduction of Scott Large improved the organisation and created chances but the ball continually fell the wrong side of the post.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Sunday 20th September 2020 at 14:40