S Terry (3), C Shand, S Yeardley
Stratford Fields, 6th September 2008
The curse – one that has lasted six years – surrounding Wootton Bassett Town and the FA Vase was finally lifted after a 5-3 victory at Buckingham Athletic in an extraordinary game that nobody – not even Mystic Meg – would have been able to predict.
For the opening hour, Bassett were as awful as the Buckinghamshire weather and as a consequence found themselves two goals down.
On 27 minutes, Scott Latham was afforded too much time on the ball in the middle of the pitch and beat Stewart Thompson at his near post with a low 25-yard drive.
This came after a period in which, despite not playing up to what they were capable of, the majority of chances had fallen to Bassett. However, Bassett were unable to take advantage, even though mistake prone 'keeper Dean Odell appeared willing to offer the visitors chance after chance.
Things got doubly worse just after the hour mark as a huge punt up pitch from Odell alluded Shaun Carter, allowing Andrew Hammond to blast home past a helpless Thompson from just outside the box. It was a route one goal at its finest, but should really have been avoided.
Instead, Bassett appeared poised for another exit at the first attempt in the competition. A scrappy goal moments later though from Steve Yeardley offered hope, as he turned the ball in at the second attempt after Chris Oram redirected a Tom Ritchie corner back across goal.
With twenty minutes to go, the game should have been levelled after Sean Terry received a push in the back in the box and a penalty was awarded. Terry stepped up to the spot, but his poor penalty was easily saved by Odell to his right.
It took until nine minutes from time for Bassett to get back on level terms as Craig Shand slotted home at the near post from Terry's reverse pass to force extra time.
However, things went as they typically have done for the visitors when competing in the Vase four minutes into the first extra period. Bassett shot themselves in the foot. Hafeez Olarewaju played a square ball from the right wing to an unmarked Steve Norman, and he made no mistake.
Shand, though, was to be the saviour, despite being a late scratch from the starting line-up after feeling ill and also coming on just before the hour.
After his goal forced extra time, he went on to set up the goals that put Bassett's noses in front for the first time of the long afternoon.
Two minutes before half time, he helped Luke Sharps' free kick onto Terry, who fired in – with his right foot – from the edge of the box.
Immediately from the restart he set in motion Bassett's fourth. His through ball set Lee Moulten free down the left, and the youngster provided a low, precise cross from the left wing that Terry turned in.
Terry's hat trick and redemption were earned with three minutes to go as he tapped in from close range after Yeardley had a shot from a tight angle parried by Odell after a surging run down the right.
The win – improbable as it seemed after Hammond doubled the host's lead – set up an appetizing tie in a fortnight's time at Hellenic League Division One East side Henley Town, whose ground has in recent times been a happy hunting ground for Rylands Way's finest.
If it offers half the thrills – without Bassett's overall performance – then it should be another cracker to watch.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Craig Shand – turned the game around after he was brought on early in the second half as he played a role in four of the five goals despite feeling rough before the game.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 – the win was all that mattered but it wasn't a performance to saviour as all three of the goals conceded were avoidable. Saying that though, the team showed immense character to comeback from the brink of elimination.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
S Terry (3), C Shand, S Yeardley