Paul Patel, Richie Saunders
Court Place Farm Stadium, 4th March 2008
The final score – a 6-2 defeat – may have suggested that Wootton Bassett Town were totally outclassed by Oxford City Nomads, but for anyone in attendance on Tuesday night they will know that one man alone caused the majority of the damage.
With Oxford City's first team – a Southern League side - having no midweek fixture, a handful of their players featured for their 'reserve' side, most notably forward Ian Roper.
The lightning quick forward found the back of the net three times, but his contribution was far greater than just that. His cleverly timed runs opened up a vast amount of space for strike partner Ben Moses to operate in and opened up gaping holes in the Bassett back line.
They were first breached six minutes in. Following a quick counter, Josias Carbon fed Steve Davis through down the middle from the right wing, and the latter coolly dinked the ball into the back of the net.
To Bassett's credit though, they matched their opposition strike for strike in the opening 45 minutes, and with just quarter of an hour gone they were level as Paul Patel bent a sublime 25-yard free kick into the top right corner, which a 'keeper at any level would be hard pressed to have kept out.
On the half hour it could have been Bassett ahead but Gareth Tucker was able to tip Rich Saunders' low effort around the near post following a neat clip around the corner from Neil Matthews set him loose.
Oxford took full advantage two minutes later to reassert their lead. Lee Morse was caught in possession from a throw and Lewis Colwell sent a defence splitting pass down the middle, which Moses tucked under the oncoming Sean Purcell.
The attacking nature of the game did not subside and Saunders levelled just over 60 seconds later.
Matthews flicked on a Morse corner at the near post, and after seeing two close range efforts blocked – one by teammate Phil Tearle – Saunders eventually fired in from close range.
The game remained tied up for another 120 seconds as Roper got his first of the game. After Bassett failed to catch their hosts offside, Carbon sent a low cross into the box from the right and an unmarked Roper tapped in from 12 yards.
Once again Bassett countered with a chance themselves, but failed to capitalise as an unmarked John Magani volleyed over from 15 yards after a pin-point Jonny Aitkenhead cross from the right wing.
The game, however, was still in Bassett's reach. But not for long. Eleven minutes after the restart, Roper controlled a low Carbon corner at the front post before delivering a superb bicycle kick into the top left corner.
His hat-trick was then complete with 67 minutes gone. Carbon again sent a low corner to the front post and Roper beat his man to the ball directing it in from the edge of the six yard box.
The hosts did not relent in their push for further goals, despite the outcome of the game being beyond doubt.
Joe Parker an substitute Michael Sackey both saw shots from range force Purcell to tip around the post before the 'keeper was made to pick the ball out of the back of the net for the sixth time four minutes before the end.
A ball over the top proved the defence's undoing and the 'keeper at first was able to prevent Roper from bagging a fourth. However, Carbon picked up the pieces and tapped in from the edge of the box with the 'keeper off his line.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Richie Saunders – continued his rich vein of form in front of goal and his work rate was once again superb.
Scoop Rating: 6/10 – The scoreline doesn't really tell the story of how Bassett actually performed on the night. They were just outdone by opponents, who included a handful of players far too good to be playing at this kind of level.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
Paul Patel, Richie Saunders