S Shaw (2)
A second half brace from substitute Steve Shaw was enough for a sluggish Wootton Bassett Town to secure an away win at struggling Clanfield.
Bassett's performance was in stark contrast to the one produced in the Challenge Cup tie against Premier Division side Slimbridge in the week as they often looked tired and made hard work of the game.
In the eighth minute, the hosts would have taken the lead if it wasn't for a great save from James Domm, who tipped away a hard hit John Andrews shot at the forward's feet after the defence failed to deal with Jason Court's set piece.
Bassett struggled to hold onto possession as their tendency to overplay and go for the deft little flicks meant they never had the ball long enough to open up the Clanfield defence.
Matty Bennett did after a Mark King through ball in the 26th minute but Bennett's effort from 15-yards lacked accuracy and failed to trouble Dan Harding.
Steve Yeardley came close with a bicycle kick following a Chris Mills free kick nine minutes before half time but his shot was headed away with Harding caught off of his line.
Another Mills set piece was met with Andy White's head two minutes after the restart but the ball looped just over before King was replaced by Shaw.
Bassett should have been one down two minutes after his introduction though as Andrews beat the offside trap only just and bore down on Domm. The 'keeper kept his cool and clawed the ball out of the striker's feet. Andrews regained possession though but Domm's save allowed Yeardley enough time to get back and block the second effort.
Bennett was provider for Shaw's first in the 58th minute, intercepting a poor clearance from the Clanfield defence before skipping past Court in the right corner. He cut the ball back across goal and an unmarked Shaw easily tapped in at the far post at a time when a goal didn't seem imminent from either side despite the earlier chances.
Adam Little saw his header loop just over two minutes later following a quickly taken free kick from Court. Adam Lock was booked in the 62nd minute for a foul on Nathan Hall.
With 16 minutes to go, Scott Large set Bennett free down the right. The winger cut inside and found himself one-on-one with Harding but shot straight at him and his shot was easily tipped away.
A goalmouth scramble at the other end almost brought an equaliser as Mark Connelly's corner wasn't cleared before eventually getting scrambled off the line.
After clearing the danger, Bassett countered and a switch of play from Shaw set Bennett free. He once again found himself with only Harding to beat but forced an easy save with a 15-yard effort.
After Neil Barrett was booked for dissent, Bassett wrapped up the win in injury time after another move initiated by Bennett. White chased down his ball into the right corner and whipped in a first time cross. Shaw, unmarked at the far post, stuck out a foot and directed the ball into the top right corner.
Bassett successfully dealt with the five plus minutes of injury time which saw a yellow card for Lee Cook and the introductions of Danny Heath and Marcus Neale to help slow the game down. It worked as Clanfield weren't able to create any more chances.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Steve Shaw – made the biggest impact of any player on the pitch despite playing just less than 45 minutes. He linked up well with the midfield, scored the two crucial goals and his overall work rate caused trouble for the Clanfield defence.
Scoop Rating: 6/10 – Bassett never really got going in the first half and their tendency to overplay created problems. However, great goalkeeping from James Domm and a solid offside trap ensured a clean sheet allowing Shaw's goal to be all that was required from the front men.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Monday 21st September 2020 at 09:19
S Shaw (2)