Launton Playing Field, 15th December 2007
It's becoming the story of an increasingly frustrating season for Wootton Bassett Town: the failure to coincide the production of chance after chance in front of goal with that of actually finding the back of the net.
The curse struck yet again at Launton Sport as the Oxfordshire side were able to come away with a 1-0 victory despite the fact Bassett were the far livelier side in front of goal. Instead, the post, the crossbar, 'keeper Danny Clifford and assorted Launton players got in the way of any ball crossing that thin, white line.
Clifford was the first to be called into action 18 minutes in when he acrobatically tipped over a left-footed drive from the edge of the box from Lee Stoddart after Lee Morse's lofted ball wasn't effectively dealt with.
Stoddart, who must have surprised himself after discovering the talents held within his left boot, continued to cause trouble and on 23 minutes actually beat Clifford. However, it was the crossbar that got in the way of him opening the scoring as his 30-yard left foot volley bounced over.
Five minutes later the left foot was again in use. Great hustle from Lee Morse set the forward through, who from the right edge of the box. Again though, Clifford left his feet to navigate the ball over the crossbar.
The hosts had their first chance of the game just before the half hour mark with Paul Wright having a 10 yard effort deflected wide by Steve Yeardley following Matt Jenkins' ball over the top. Wright had beat the offside trap after Jonny Aitkenhead had a momentary lapse in concentration.
Stoddart's favoured right foot then produced a shot that whistled past the right post after more good work from Morse.
But it was Launton who looked most likely to score first in the final moments of the first half.
Nine minutes before the break, Danny Green motored past Rich Gee before delivering a low cross. Nick Neal connected with a shot from six yards but close marking from Aitkenhead did enough to force the forward to hit over.
Three minutes later Christian Jones' through ball set Green loose, but the forward was unable to beat Sean Purcell, who was able to get his fingertips on the front-man's attempted lob.
Purcell was forced into pulling off an even better stop eleven minutes into the second period from Neal. The ex-Old Woodstock man found himself one-on-one after Green and went for power ahead of placement with a shot from 20-yards. The Bassett 'keeper kept his composure though, and tipped the effort wide.
However, he was powerless to stop the next effort that came in his direction as Green produced the game's only goal. Bassett turned the ball over from their own throw and Wright fed the ball to the powerful forward. He turned Rich Gee and struck an unstoppable 20-yard effort across goal and into the bottom right corner.
Two minutes later Neal nearly added a second. Aitkenhead could only head a Lee Blossom cross away as far as him and Neal struck first time but blasted way over.
Desperately seeking an equaliser, the final fifteen minutes constituted a siege on the Launton goal. However, it was to be all to no avail in the end.
Substitute John Magani – making his comeback after a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury – caused numerous problems, setting up Chris Mills in the 77th minute after a mazy run.
His counterpart struck low from 10-yards towards the bottom left corner but Clifford was able to guide the ball onto the post. Finally, a defender swept up the remaining danger.
Seven minutes later Stoddart headed a Morse free kick into the path of Yeardley, who could only blaze over from 15 yards.
Twice in injury time, Mills saw shots hacked off the line. Firstly, a despairing sliding tackle from Blossom diverted a low effort away from goal before Paul Anderson got his foot to the ball after Clifford was beat.
In between both chances, Richie Saunders had fed through Magani, enabling the forward to set off on one of his trademark jaunts. However, his left-footed poke from 12 yards went the wrong side of the left-hand post.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Richie Saunders – along with central midfield partner Lee Morse, he was able to exert a considerable influence on the game. Saunders was instrumental in many attacks with his great movement and also used his non-stop engine to make a number of crucial tackles going the other way.
Scoop Rating: 7/10 – taking into account the conditions and the fact the team compromised a couple of square pegs being fit into round holes to compensate for late withdrawals, it was a fairly convincing performance that deserved much more than nothing.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38