Rylands Way, 22nd March 2008
For Cheltenham Saracens, four seems to be their magic number this year whenever they face Wootton Bassett Town.
For the third time this season they stuck that amount past Paul Burke's side, romping to victory as their promotion charge continues.
The story for Bassett is much the opposite, as the loss – coupled with Clanfield springing a surprise over the in-form Malmesbury Vics – pushed Bassett back down to 16th in the table.
However, the win was made easy for Saracens with three of their goals coming on the break, and the other – the crucial third goal, that put to bed any hopes Bassett had of coming back to get something from the game – emanating from Graeme Little failing to clear and subsequently getting caught in possession.
Saracens – aided by a strong tailwind – raced to a two goal advantage in the opening 45 minutes. Both goals were class finishes, but both goals were produced by textbook counter attacking football.
In the 19th minute, the ball was switched to Andy Crosskey on the left, and the winger played an inside pass to Andy Sherlock, who –with his back to goal - teed the ball up with his first touch before firing an exquisite overhead kick into the top right corner from 15 yards.
He could have had his second seven minutes later, but Gary Eggleton made a fine reflex save from the potent forward's close range volley at the right hand post.
However, he made up for his miss just before the half hour by providing the cross that led to the second.
Phil Tearle was caught in possession after failing to put the ball back into the box after a corner and a cross-field pass set Sherlock loose down the right.
He advanced 20 yards with the ball before whipping in a cross that Joe Tustain met with a diving header, which got the result it deserved.
Seeing as Bassett were blessed with the chilling wind being in their favour in the second period, the game was nowhere near over as a contest though.
And Tearle – with a large portion of help from Stuart Hughes - got his side back in the game four minutes after the referee blew his whistle for the restart.
Hughes sliced a right wing cross from Neil Matthews in the direction of his own goal, and the youngster pounced on the loose ball, poking home from close range before 'keeper Ryan Betteridge could get to the ball.
A flurry of chances for both sides followed. Twice Bassett unlocked the Saracens defence through the middle, but Danny Heath shot straight at Betteridge after a move that deserved more before Paul Patel fired just wide of the left post whilst under pressure.
At the other end Tustain blazed over with a firmly struck first time drive from outside the box before a shot on the turn from Sherlock beat Eggleton, but rattled the frame of the goal. Suffice to say, both chances came when Bassett had men caught upfield following broken down attacks.
Just after the hour the death blow was dealt by Sherlock after Little's catastrophic error. Crosskey nipped in to easily take the ball from the feet of the Bassett sweep before playing his teammate through. And Sherlock made no mistake, firing between the legs of Eggleton from the edge of the box.
Saracens twelfth goal against Bassett in all competitions followed with eleven minutes left. A quick throw from Betteridge initiated the break and Sherlock provided his second assist of the day, feeding the ball to Carl Griffiths, who coolly found the bottom right corner.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Danny Heath – worked tirelessly for the entire 90 minutes, although to no avail. He linked up particularly well with Paul Patel and Neil Matthews, but the lack of quality in the final third meant his play did not reap any rewards.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 – Bassett were once again made to pay heavily for their mistakes, although it took two quality finishes in the first half to get things going for their opponents. Bassett appeared second to everything and the visitors played the ball around them with ease, exploiting Bassett's deficiencies with swift, emphatic counter attacks.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38