S Yeardley (2), M King, C Mills
Wootton Bassett Town ended their slate of home games for the season with a resounding four goal victory over second bottom side Clanfield. Steve Yeardley netted two goals in the first half to move himself a goal ahead of Matty Bennett in the battle for team top-scorer whilst Chris Mills and Mark King netted twice in the second period.
Bassett dominated the game from start to finish and put their Oxfordshire opponents under pressure from the start. Eleven minutes in Yeardley's thru ball to Bennett left his goalscoring rival with only Colin Jordan to beat. Bennett controlled the ball with his chest before firing a strike from range but couldn't trouble the 'keeper.
Two minutes later Jack Dodd did well to keep the ball in play, hooking the ball down the line to Bennett. He then squared inside to King who shot with his left foot from 12 yards inches wide of the left post.
With a quarter of an hour gone Bassett finally managed to grab themselves a goal. Scott Large's corner beat everyone in the box but King picked up the loose ball on the right wing. He crossed in and the ball bounced off a Clanfield defender before Yeardley fired into the bottom left corner with a powerful drive.
Bennett continued to harass the visitors' defence but to no avail. He found himself on the end of a King flick on in the 24th minute before rounding three defenders and raced half the length of the pitch unopposed. When it came to the finish though he fluffed his effort and failed to come close to the target.
He had another chance eight minutes before half time, this time cutting across the box, weaving his way past would-be tacklers. He shot from 12 yards but once again saw his effort go the wrong side of the post.
The player who could find the back of the net though was Yeardley and he did so again on the stroke of half time. Large crossed to the far post and Bennett picked up the pieces at the far post. He cut the ball back and the Bassett captain emphatically headed home from 10 yards.
A strong wind had been causing both sides numerous problems throughout the match and it almost led to a freak goal thirty second after the restart as a towering Reese Winney cross – which was mis-hit – got trapped in the wind and forced James Domm to make a dramatic save as the Bassett shot-stopper tipped the ball onto the crossbar whilst on the back-pedal.
Mills then grabbed his third in three games with 52 minutes on the clock. More fine work from Bennett set up the goal as the tricky forward danced his way away from his marker before Mills took possession and fired into the bottom left corner from the edge of the box.
Domm was forced into another save four minutes later as Rupert MacFarlane's free header from Mark Connelly's corner forced the 'keeper to parry over after the ball took a high bounce.
With twenty five minutes to go Paul Burke gave Phil Tearle his first team bow as the young forward, who will most surely feature often next season after progressing through the youth system and shining for the reserves recently, replaced Mills – another product of Chris Jones' floodlit side. Seven minutes later Marcus Neal replaced Large.
With fifteen minutes left, Bennett was finally able to find the target but the right upright kept him from getting his name on the score-sheet after he turned his man following a quick throw in from Dodd.
Despite being three goals down, Clanfield continued to push for a goal and were unlucky not to in the 81st minute when Jason Court's corner was flicked onto Neil Barrett at the far post. His first time effort from six yards though was harried off the line and clear of danger.
Three minutes later King wrapped up the scoring. Yeardley put Bennett in the clear down the right and he tried squeezing the ball in from a tight angle. However Jordan parried but only as far as King who tapped home for his fifth of the year.
There was still time though for Clanfield to try grab a late consolation. In the final minute a Winney corner fell to MacFarlane who first time effort at the far post was blocked on the line by Jack Dodd to preserve Bassett's first clean sheet in ten games.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Steve Yeardley – netted two emphatic goals (from open play nevertheless!) and stamped his authority on the game from his central midfield role.
Scoop Rating: 6.5/10 – In all fairness it was an easy victory against inferior opposition and all four goals were taken well following good build up. However it should have been way more than four and there were still some defensive flaws which better sides would most likely have taken advantage of. The old adage goes though that you can only beat what is put in front of you and this was a comfortable win.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Monday 21st September 2020 at 11:50
S Yeardley (2), M King, C Mills