S Hemsley, S Large
The Christmas period started brilliantly for Wootton Bassett Town, despite seeing Steve Bunting receive a red card on the hour mark, as two first half goals from unlikely sources earned a deserved 2-1 victory away at Tytherington Rocks.
After being reduced to ten men, Bassett rode their luck for the final thirty minutes as at least three Tytherington shots were cleared off the line but the better team won as a dominant opening 45 minutes was enough to ensure victory.
Two minutes in Scott Large struck just wide after good work by John Magani opened up a good opportunity for the youngster.
After quarter of an hour the two combined to give Bassett the lead. Magani rolled his marker down the left before Large powerfully headed home the forwards' cross from 10 yards for his first Bassett goal.
Eight minutes later Magani was the creator once more for Bassett's second. The tricky forward turned his way past two defenders before crossing in from the right. Tytherington failed to clear and the ball fell to Stu Hemsley who struck home easily from ten yards.
Errol Deans and Nathan Irwin were both booked for fouls before Dwayne Quinn came close to adding a third just before the break but his glancing header at the far post was headed off the line.
Tytherington stormed out of the blocks in the second period and could have been level even before they got a one man advantage. Four minutes after the restart Richard Evans forced a brilliant point blank save from James Domm who did well to turn Evans' powerful eight yard effort around the post.
From the resulting corner an unmarked Phil Ward headed over from six yards as Bassett were let off the hook.
Andy Hallett was cautioned in the 58th minute, two minutes before Bunting's dangerous challenge saw Bassett go a man down. The challenge was hard but not reckless but incited a melee which saw an injured Bunting, who had hurt his ankle, stamped on by Ward who received only a yellow; John Davis was also booked for his part in the events.
Another Under 18, Danny Heath, replaced Mark King in the 66th minute as Paul Burke went with one up front to protect the lead with only ten men.
The lead was halved on 70 minutes when an unmarked Ward easily headed home a Mark Totterdell corner to ignite an action packed final few minutes.
Another Totterdell corner was connected with by Evans but the ball sailed across the face of goal before Quinn did well to deflect a Ward shot over after another set piece.
The league's top scorer Jimmy Potts was booked with twelve minutes left for dissent after being caught offside. Potts was neutralised all game by the Bassett defence as Quinn played him especially well keeping the Rocks' biggest threat out of the game much to his displeasure.
Totterdell continued to find himself heavily involved in the action: after seeing his shot deflected just wide his 81st minute corner was knocked around the area before Evans directed it goalwards only to see Large clear off the line.
Heath almost wrapped the points up after Magani led a quick counter attack but after the forward's through ball put him through, Heath placed his effort the wrong side of the post.
Peter Holbrook saw two of his efforts go wide, one with help of a deflection before a low effort from Totterdell beat Domm but Large was there to divert the ball around the post once more.
The action didn't stop there as Deans saw a glancing header go just wide before Magani was booked for a foul.
In the final minute Potts beat the offside trap for once and went down easily after Steve Yeardley had put him under pressure and referee Commander rightly waved play on to preserve a much needed and much deserved three points.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Scott Large â€“ scored an emphatic goal before helping clear two off the line in the second half in what was by far his best display in a Bassett shirt. Technically he wasn't Bassett's best player but he was there when his team needed him most preserving the victory.
Scoop Rating: 8/10 â€“ Outclassed their opponents for the first sixty minutes before the Bunting sending off shifted the momentum in Tytherington's favour but a great defensive display saw Bassett survive the barrage of chances the home team had.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Sunday 20th September 2020 at 18:39
S Hemsley, S Large