Whilst still mathematically being in the race for the top three positions, Wootton Bassett Town's 2-1 defeat to local rivals Pewsey Vale all but put an end to those dreams. Bassett were second best all day as Pewsey's physical, no thrills style being the difference between the two sides.
They should have led after a mere four minutes when Carl Marsh headed down Harry Hambridge's cross to Scott Ward who found himself one-on-one with James Domm. However Ward somehow blasted over from 10 yards.
Craig Wall was once again a handful for the Bassett defence and on 18 minutes came close after rolling Steve Yeardley and firing at goal from 15 yards but a deflection sent the ball wide.
He made amends for his miss six minutes later producing a fine finish to round off a clinical Pewsey move. The Bassett midfield failed to close down Ward who played through Wall with a perfect through ball. Having gotten himself goalside of Rich Gee, Ward struck the ball first time from 20 yards leaving Domm no chance.
Bassett's first clear cut chance of the game came with 27 minutes gone with Matty Bennett firing wide from an angle after Stu Hemsley's ball over the top. Bennett went for the spectacular with is half volley but would have been better served allowing himself a touch before setting fire.
With 32 minutes gone Bennett whipped in a cross from the right which fell somewhat unexpectedly to Paul Crabtree at the far post. Crabtree's header from the edge of the six yard box sparked premature celebrations as Stewart Thompson did brilliantly to scramble across goal and tip the ball wide.
Thirty seconds into the second half Bennett squared to Andy White who shot first time from just outside the box forcing a diving save from Thompson.
Danny Heath replaced Stu Hemsley in the 57th minute, a minute before White levelled it up. Steve Yeardley's free kick from the deep was headed into the path of white by Gee. White struck first time from 15 yards and caught Thompson off his line as the ball looped into the top corner for a relatively soft goal.
The first caution of the game came in the 61st minute, pretty surprising for a derby, as Yeardley was cautioned for a late challenge on Wall.
Three minutes later Wall played the ball into the path of Ryan Banks. Banks' twelve yard effort was parried away by Domm though as Bassett were let off the hook again.
From the resulting corner, Ward's free header from 10 yards out looked headed for the top corner but , luckily for Bassett, Heath was covering the post and headed away off the line.
Wall was booked midway through the second period after a foul on Dwayne Quinn, whose overreaction played a little part in the Pewsey forward receiving a yellow.
A minute later Pewsey won the game with, in Bassett's mind at least, a very dubious goal. A crunching tackle on Bennett, in which neither Pewsey player who went in for the challenge won the ball, was deemed legal allowing the visitors to counter. Hambridge sprinted down the right before sending a low cross across goal and an unmarked Tom Ritchie tapped in easily at the far post.
Bassett's frustrations showed as Quinn was booked almost immediately after play restarted. Mark King and Scott Large were thrown on for Nathan Hall and Chris Mills respectively yet neither managed to change the game as Pewsey's height at the back meant any balls over the top quickly went back the other way.
Ritchie was booked for a hack on Quinn with four minutes to go but nothing came from the ensuing free kick, condemning Bassett to their ninth loss of the year.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Paul Crabtree â€“ put himself about in the centre of midfield winning numerous tackles and spreading the ball around well. Despite being swamped by his opposite numbers in terms of height and size, Crabtree didn't allow this to affect him.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 â€“ Bassett didn't get started in the first half and only really threatened in the second period for a brief 15 minute spell at the start of the half. For Pewsey's defence it was a relatively comfortable game given the lack of chances Bassett created.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Monday 21st September 2020 at 09:30