Radcot Road, 19th April 2008
For Wootton Bassett Town there has been nothing left to salvage from this season, bar pride, for a while now. Now, judging on their performance– particularly that in the second half against fellow strugglers Clanfield – it appears a bit of pride is not on their end of season wishlist.
During the first half hour of the game, Bassett looked to be the better side as their opponents failed to register a shot on goal, but following Sean McKeon's goal nine minutes before the break, things took a fast, downhill turn, with the game ending a 4-0 rout.
McKeon's goal epitomised most of the other 58 goals Bassett have conceded this season. It was soft.
Sean Purcell was forced into a fine parry down low to keep out a free header from Dean Barker after Tim Jenkins' free kick. But McKeon – bereft of his marker – jumped on the loose ball and poked home from six yards.
Before that, the best of the openings had fallen to the visitors, with Lee Stoddart forcing a save from Chris Brain and Steve Yeardley blazing just over from distance.
However, soon after McKeon's opener, Clanfield set about stamping their authority on the game. And they should have been two up just before half time but Ashley Johnson headed wide at the far post whilst unmarked.
Moments later Phil Tearle saw a 20-yard effort deflected just wide of the right post, before a swift break opened up a one-on-one opportunity for John Magani five minutes into the second period. His futile run in front of goal continued though as he slotted the ball wide of the left upright.
From then on, Clanfield clamped down on any Bassett attack. They were helped by the fact their opponents were making it rather easy for them, with no real off the ball movement to open up holes.
Due to this, Bassett were forced to sit and wait, knocking the ball across the midfield to no avail, and invariably play broke down allowing the home side to counter attack.
Just before the hour, Bassett once again had their backs to the walls. With ease, Jenkins rolled Rich Gee on the right flank before riding a sliding tackle from Stu Hemsley. This afforded him the space to open fire from 25 yards but his shot flew just wide of the left post.
However, Steve Knight was able to go one better than him ten minutes later.
From the left corner, McKeon was allowed to square across the box to Barker, and the dangerous forward rolled Jonny Aitkenhead before slotting through an unmarked Knight, who dinked the ball over Purcell from a matter of yards.
With quarter of an hour to go, Barker found himself on the scoresheet too, poking home from just outside the box with an outstretched boot after Eddie Everett's hopeful ball over the top caught the defense out. And Barker was just able to beat an onrushing Purcell to the ball.
If it wasn't for the loss of interest by those who had bombed forward after the breakdown of Bassett's attack, there's a chance a point would at that point still have been in reach.
After the ball had slowly rolled into the bottom left corner though, it wasn't, and Barker added a headed third a minute from time after a Purcell miskick had fallen to Knight and the pacy winger crossed in from the right.
Moments earlier, Magani had the chance to salvage a consolation goal. He took down Neil Matthews' flick on with his chest on the edge of the box before proceeding to sidestep 'keeper Brain.
However, great hustle from Jason Court allowed the experienced defender to throw his body in front of the ball after Magani shot towards an open goal. It said something that, despite being three goals to the good, Clanfield were still chasing balls like that down.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Paul Patel – it may seem odd giving man of the match to a member of a defence that conceded four goals, but really the back four didn't play too badly. Patel performed his duties protecting his goal well and also looked to be creative going forward.
Scoop Rating: 4/10 – How what was the most winnable of Bassett's remaining three fixtures turned into a drubbing is anyone's guess. Once again, Bassett caused problems for themselves by switching off at the worst possible times and showed little attacking creativity against a defence that has conceded 79 times this year.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38