L Stoddart (2), P Tearle
Rylands Way, 12th April 2008
Whilst it wasn't the most attractive or exciting victory of the year for Wootton Bassett Town, their 3-0 triumph over relegation bound Banbury United reserves was arguably the most comfortable.
All three goals came in the second half after Bassett appeared to be unwilling to score in the opening 45 minutes, despite looking like the only team present capable of finding the back of the net.
Twice in quick succession, Lee Stoddart – who had struggled to beat the visitor's offside trap early on – missed the target with left footed efforts after racing onto balls over the top of the Banbury defence.
To his credit though, on both occasions there was a defender within close proximity of him. That was not the case for Phil Tearle nine minutes from the break, when he latched onto Stu Hemsley's lofted through ball and shrugged off the attentions of William Jones.
After doing the hard work, the youngster found himself with only 'keeper Edward Samm to beat. However, by opting to strike the ball with his laces, he put the ball the wrong side of the right upright from a mere ten yards out.
Still though, the misses did not appear as though they would come back to haunt Bassett when the final whistle arrived. Bar a ten minute spell in the second half just after Tearle had finally given Bassett the lead, the threat posed from Banbury was minimal at best.
That first goal arrived with less than sixty seconds of the second half on the clock. Tom Marchment's superb cross-field pass left Tearle with only Jones between him and the 'keeper. As before, he easily outmuscled his opponent and fired left-footed into the top right corner from an angle.
That small period of pressure from the visitors did see them find the back of the net after a swift move down the right cut open the Bassett defence, but a flag for offside prevented them from equalising.
Just before the hour, they were once again able to carve out an opening. Dan Reeves delivered a testing cross from the right wing that Sean Purcell was unable to snag out of the air. It fell to Jason Goddard at the left hand post and he immediately squared the ball across goal.
Steve Adkins was ready and raring to pounce on the loose ball but fluffed his shot from six yards and Rich Gee was able to scramble clear.
With their lead intact, Lee Stoddart went about wrapping up the three points, finding the net twice in a two minute period midway through the half.
A minute before he grabbed his first, Marchment was unlucky not to open his first team account. A Stu Hemsley free kick from the left flank caused more trouble than the midfielder intended as Dan Drummond was forced to head off the line.
His clearance did not travel far, and Marchment – ever the poacher – stabbed a foot at the ball from close range and Samm was forced to parry away an effort he knew little about.
Drummond turned into the villain seconds later, playing a woefully under-hit backpass towards Samm, which Stoddart raced onto before keeping his composure in order to slot past the stranded 'keeper.
Two minutes later he supplied the finishing touch to a far more aesthetically pleasing goal. Rob Hopkins initiated the move, winning a brilliantly timed sliding tackle and the loose ball fell into the feet of Hemsley.
On the halfway line, he squared the ball out left to Danny Heath, who then took a touch before splitting the Banbury defence with a fine through pass to Tearle. In the left corner of the box, Tearle drew the 'keeper towards him before squaring across goal for an unaccounted for Stoddart to tap in for his brace.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Stu Hemsley – directed the game from the centre of midfield and really didn't put a foot wrong over the course of the 90 minutes.
Scoop Rating: 7/10 – the football Bassett played wasn't the best, but a hard pitch made it difficult because the ball was racing about the field. However, in the end it was a comfortable three points and a deserved clean sheet too. Enough was done to ensure victory, and that's all you can ask for.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
L Stoddart (2), P Tearle