Addison Road, 25th August 2007
Tuesday night's upset victory over Highworth Town in the FA Cup should really have kick-started Wootton Bassett Town's season. Instead they came back down to earth with a thud, crashing 4-1 at perennial bogey side Easington Sports.
Missed chances, sloppy defending, frustrating time wasting tactics from the hosts and an absolute peach of a strike from Ricky Johnson condemned Bassett to a second straight league defeat, leaving them with some catching up to do early on after a slow start to the Division One West campaign.
The chances came and came for Bassett – who were the only side to attempt to get the ball down and play some football – but a lack of any end product cost them dear.
Eight minutes in Martin Thompson crossed in from the right and Richie Saunders rose to meet the ball twelve yards out. However the midfielder failed to connect properly and in the end headed wide.
At the other end Johnson came close to opening the scoring with just over a quarter of an hour gone, however good pressure from Rich Gee meant he could only head Sam Hubbard's corner wide.
He made up for the miss in the 21st minute though, coolly slotting past Adam Miller after beating the offside trap and latching onto Matty Keenan's through ball.
The goal came from Bassett overplaying from a free kick in their own half and eventually losing possession through Saunders, although Keenan had to tug at the midfielder's jersey in order to do so, which went unnoticed by referee Rigney.
Bassett had the better of the remaining first half chances: Saunders struck a powerful effort wide from 15 yards after the ball eventually broke loose following a break initiated by John Magani down the right before Lee Stoddart saw a strike from an angle parried away by John Okole after a great run from Matty Bennett.
With six minutes to go before half time a long ball over the top was flicked on by Johnson and, after getting goalside off Gee, Hubbard attempted a lob of the oncoming Millar but could not find the target, much to Bassett's relief.
What transpired inside the first five minutes of the second half delivered a sucker punch to Bassett. Firstly, with 48 minutes on the clock, Keenan slotted the ball through Miller's legs from an extremely tight angle after easily passing Lee Morse and Matty Bennett in the left corner before riding a Steve Yeardley tackle for a soft goal.
Two minutes later Danny Cockle caught Bassett off guard with a quick free kick, squaring to Johnson who took one touch and smashed the ball into the top right corner from 30-yards.
Good work from Bennett a minute later set up a chance for Magani to reduce the arrears but he struck weakly and wide from the edge of the area before Saunders was booked for a foul in the 56th minute.
With Bassett pushing three men up front after the introduction of Neil Dix, Easington were able to cause some damage on the break and were helped by Bassett as attack after attack broke down easily.
One such time Bassett were caught at the back and Hubbard hooked the ball to substitute Mike Spaull, who drove in a shot from 12-yards but could not beat Miller, who parried brilliantly.
Saunders then grabbed a goal back in the 69th minute, losing his man at the front post to easily head home a low Bennett cross following a Morse through ball that set the winger free down the right.
Miller again denied Spaull with a fine parry before a harsh penalty decision killed the game off, Yeardley being adjudged to have brought down Johnson despite the apparent lack of contact. To round off his hat trick, the lanky blasted the ball into the top right corner.
Chances continued to come still for Bassett afterwards but still the end product was lacking. Bennett struck wide from 15 yards with only Okole to beat before the in form 'keeper kept out efforts from Dix, after the forward wriggled his way round his man, and from a Magani lob.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Matty Bennett – as usual the winger created problems for the Easington defence with his pace and crossing ability but with nobody getting on the end of most balls the Highworth target endured a frustrating day.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 – it's hard to work out how a side who had way more possession and chances than their opponents could come away from a game on the wrong end of a 4-1 score-line but it happened. Sloppy defending and poor finishing did in for Bassett who must get their league campaign back on track with at home to Pewsey Vale Tuesday before they fall further off the pace.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38