Rylands Way, 13th October 2007
Wootton Bassett Town's performance against Wilts Premier side Marlborough Town was not exactly what was expected after a win against Hellenic Premier pacesetters Almondsbury in the week.
However, with a side featuring nine changes to the starting eleven and a number of key players missing not a lot can be taken from an extremely dreary 1-0 win. After all, the job was eventually done: Bassett weren't embarrassed by lower level opponents and advanced to the next round of the Wilts Senior Cup.
It could have been much different though as Marlborough came out with nothing to lose, putting in a performance that they can be very proud of.
They should have taken the lead on 15 minutes when Brad Mildon raced through the Bassett defence and cut the ball back for an unmarked Dwayne Henry. However, Henry – who trained preseason with Bassett – failed to keep his composure and blazed over from 12 yards.
Nine minutes later, Steve Yeardley powerfully headed a Nathan Perkins corner past 'keeper Dan Fry but was denied by a superb goalline clearance.
What proved the difference between the two sides though was a hiccup between Fry and defender Ryan Keeley, which allowed Lee Stoddart to pounce 29 minutes in.
Andy White played a through ball in behind the defence intended for Stoddart. Fry came off his line looking to hoof clear but his defender ran into him and the ball sprayed loose. The Bassett forward was then left with an easy tap in from 15 yards and made no mistake for his third goal in three games.
The visitors did not allow the goal to cause heads to drop though and continued to throw caution to the wind. And why not?
Twice in the final ten minutes of the first half they came close to equalising. Firstly, Dean Hughes glanced a header across goal and just wide of the left post before Jack Kelly saw a 10-yard volley well saved on the dive by a returning John Haines following a low cross from Nick Woodward.
In between, Steve Yeardley saw an acrobatic bicycle kick go just over before Adam Whitefield headed a Rich Gee cross just wide at the other end. However, Bassett continued to not produce much at all.
Instead the action continued in and around the Bassett box at the start of the second half. Haines – perhaps somewhat eager in his first game back since the middle of last season – almost gifted Kelly a goal after a stupid call to play a goal kick short. The ball went straight to the diminutive Kelly but luckily he shot wide.
In the 56th minute a Jonny Aitkenhead foul in the left corner produced another great chance for the visitors. Woodward swung a free kick in and Kelly connected with a powerful header from six yards that was fantastically held by Haines at point blank range.
Bassett continued to create little in front of goal until eight minutes from time when Whitefield placed a ball over the top of the Marlborough defence for White. The forward bore down on goal, but with only Fry to beat, he hit low and not far enough away from him, allowing the 'keeper to make a comfortable diving stop.
A minute from time Whitefield once again set up a golden opportunity, this time with a head over the top, which Stoddart raced onto. With Fry off his line, Bassett's score went for a lob but hit miserably wide.
With Marlborough still in the game, it was left to Haines to save Bassett – something he has done numerous times in the past. He didn't fail to live up to the task, producing an acrobatic tip over the bar to deny a cross-come-shot from the right touchline provided by Hughes.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Chris Mills – the pick of a flat bunch. Had a solid game on the left wing, before filling in at left back following the introduction of Phil Tearle to the match, winning the majority of headers and tackles he went in for.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 – Bassett weren't helped by the overhaul the team experienced from Tuesday's win, but still they should have comfortably seen of their Wilts League opponents. To be fair to Marlborough they brought their 'A' game but were up against a team who played nowhere near their best.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38