Rylands Way, 14th August 2007
If Wootton Bassett Town are to gain a place in the Hellenic Premier Division next season, consistent play and the ability to finish off games are what is needed. Both these attributes were missing as Bassett opened their home account with a 3-1 loss to Tytherington Rocks despite taking the lead early in the second half.
What transpired after Matty Bennett's second of the season was not what was needed as three mistakes gifted Rocks three goals, two for the enigmatic Jimmy Potts, who no team can seem to contain.
However Bassett never really deserved to win this tempestuous game: the front two of Andy White and Lee Stoddart were rendered ineffective by the Rocks' two rocks at the back – giant centre halves Phil Ward and Tarik Whitcliffe – whilst the visitors were unlucky not to lead going into half time after having the lion's share of chances in the opening 45 minutes.
Early on John Magani failed to control the ball allowing Andy Flinch to cross in from the right for Mark Totterdell but his snap shot rolled wide.
Six minutes later, and against the run of play, White headed a testing Nathan Perkins free kick across goal and, after Tytherington failed to clear, the ball fell to Adam Whitefield. He fired a shot from 12 yards but the ball came back out of the left post after travelling past a host of bodies between him and the goal.
Midway through the first period Sean Purcell ensured the game remained deadlocked, batting away a Totterdell header from point blank range after the midfielder had lost his man and found himself on the end of Marc Hughes' cross.
He then denied a long range Hughes effort, parrying away at his front post after stretching out for the ball before instinctively knocking the ball for a corner to ensure Potts had no sniff at a rebound.
After an iffy first half, Bassett got off to a flyer in the second.
White nearly put Bassett ahead in the 48th minute. Whitefield jinked his way between two defenders before crossing from the left flank and White connected with a 10-yard drive that was blocked on the line by Matty Bennett after he had fell whilst challenging for the initial cross.
Two minutes later though Bennett put his side ahead. The goal was created by a Whitefield, this time Ryan, crossfield ball, which was brought down brilliantly by Bennett before he set off past Nathan Irwin and fired a shot that struck the left post and this time settled nicely in the back of the net.
Two minutes later Chris Mills made a great block to deny Hughes before Totterdell's low set piece was hit wide on the half volley by Ward.
With opportunities in front of goal becoming few and far between for Bassett it meant things needed to sharpen up at the back to close it out.
With 14 minutes to go though a cruel blow was struck. Adam Whitefield was caught in possession by Danny Thompson 25 yards out; the substitute immediately struck an effort at goal with force, which Purcell believed to be heading wide. However the ball swerved in slightly and crept inside the 'keeper's front post to the delight of the visitors and the embarrassment of Purcell.
Four minutes later Potts cut the ball across goal from the byline and Hughes slid in just beyond the left post but guided the ball inches wide.
What Hughes failed to do, Potts could though. With six minutes left he intercepted a poorly hit crossfield pass, rounded Scott Large – who had been on the pitch all of two minutes – and slotted home from a tight angle.
He worked his magic again in injury time. This time Jarrod Bright dispossessed Large, who was last man, before sliding through the burly forward to slot home coolly past Purcell.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Nathan Perkins – let nothing past him at his left back position and provided some testing balls from set pieces, which were just waiting for a head to guide them home, yet this never occurred.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 – the 3-1 scoreline certainly flattered Rocks but Bassett's performance was one not worthy of a victory. In typical Bassett fashion, mistakes proved their undoing.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38