Hardwicke Playing Fields, 5th January 2008
The New Year's arrival failed to bring about a reversal in fortunes for Wootton Bassett Town. Instead, a fourth straight league defeat was fell with 6th placed Tytherington Rocks taking a 2-0 victory.
Paul Burke reverted to an untried 4-3-3 formation for the first game of 2008 and it took a while for his side to settle early on, with the defence just able to weather a storm provided by their hosts.
As early as the second minute Marc Hughes had a shot from just inside the box deflected wide after beating Paul Patel.
Just after the quarter hour mark Sean Purcell was forced into a fine diving save to tip a 25-yard effort from Luke Garbacz around the left post after Bassett failed to clear their lines.
Despite all this pressure, the lead was almost taken against the run of play through Graeme Little on 28 minutes as he latched onto a ball headed down by Neil Matthews.
But for a fingertip save from Rob Dent they would have done as the Rocks' keeper got a glove to the powerful first time drive to divert it around the post.
Two minutes later Bassett found themselves behind. The atrocious conditions twice played a hand in the build up to the goal: an initial slip by Danny Heath in the middle of the park allowed Hughes to steal possession and, whilst chasing down his through ball, Jonny Aitkenhead too fell victim to the mud.
All this allowed Rob Sage to latch onto a free ball and coolly slot past a helpless Purcell into the bottom left corner.
Hughes had the opportunity to double the lead with 34 minutes elapsed but his free header at the far post from a first time Garbacz right wing cross sailed wide.
Bassett though were beginning to find their comfort zone and were not far from equalising in the final five minutes of first half play.
On 40 minutes a testing cross from Paul Patel was nodded down to John Magani by Matthews. Despite having ample time on the ball and being in a superb position, the forward could only roll the ball inches wide of the right hand post.
A minute later he set off on one of his customary surging runs, easily accelerating past at least three defenders to set himself one-on-one with Dent. However, the ball escaped his feet briefly and the 'keeper was able to parry wide after an ineffective stab at the ball from the forward.
The opening of the second 45 minutes saw a marked improvement from Bassett: Rocks were limited to just one early Jazz Bright chance, which Purcell fisted away.
However, chances were also few and far between at the other end. Rich Saunders saw a 20-yard effort dip just over the bar before a deft touch from substitute Phil Tearle forced a diving save from Dent after another flick on from Matthews.
Matthews himself had the opportunity to level the contest up in the 73rd minute when a Saunders cross wasn't cleared properly. The forward struck powerfully first time from 12 yards but Dent was equal to the effort at his near post.
It was left to Danny Copeland to seal victory for the hosts twelve minutes from time. After being denied minutes earlier by Purcell at his feet he went one better.
Tytherington countered after a Bassett attack broke down and the lack of a challenge allowed a ball to be played into the right corner for the forward to run onto. After taking possession he easily sidestepped Rich Gee before rounding Purcell and tapping into an open net.
The frustration for Paul Burke and co. condemned to continue for another week at least.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Neil Matthews – proved vital for Bassett when going forward as his ability to hold the ball up brought others into the game and his aerial presence created decent openings.
Scoop Rating: 6/10 – After a slow start Bassett finally kicked into gear but were in the end blanked by superior opposition. The switch to the 4-3-3 seemed to help when going forward but a midfield, which hadn't played together before, allowed Tytherington to create pressure and they took full advantage of it.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38