The Cuthbury, 15th November 2008
So it wasn't to be Wembley after all for Wootton Bassett Town.
After going further than they ever have done in the FA Vase, Bassett's run came emphatically to an end as Wessex League Wimborne Town ran out comfortable 4-0 winners.
On the day, Wimborne were just a class above Dave Turner's side. From their sharpness, to their levels of fitness, to their movement off the ball and the football they actually played, they were something else.
Bassett therefore found themselves often chasing shadows, as their hosts' stretched them to near breaking point during what can only be described as a 90-minute lesson in football.
However, by no means were Bassett poor. It says something that three of the game's goals originated from errors by the visitors. And sides such as Wimborne are always going to make teams pay if given a sniff on goal.
Throughout, they dominated possession, but were also happy to sit back and just catch Bassett on the break. And who wouldn't adopt such a policy when you have the pace of somebody like James Joyce up front.
Midway through the first half he broke clear of Chris Oram with ease before squaring to James Stokoe on the edge of the box, who saw his powerful, low effort thwarted only by the legs of Stewart Thompson.
His speed proved decisive again thirteen minutes before the break, enabling him to get away from last man Luke Sharps and he made no mistake, clinically placing the ball past Stewart Thompson.
However, if it wasn't for two Bassett mistakes, perhaps his chance would not have come about. Tom Ritchie's throw in deep in Wimborne territory went straight to a black and white shirt and the ball was quickly cleared. Indecision between Chris Oram and Shaun Carter then allowed Joyce to latch onto the loose ball, leaving a helpless Sharps with the impossible task of catching him.
There was little time for any analysis of the cause of the goal though, as Wimborne came straight back with a second. Mark Jones somehow produced enough power off his back foot to head onto the bar from 12 yards, and the rebound dropped sharply, into the feet of an extremely fortuitous James Stokoe, who prodded home from half a yard.
Extended periods of possession were a rarity for the visitors, and even when there were such spells, stout defending prevented any clear cut chances from being created. The closest Bassett came to testing Mark Ovendale was a minute before the break, but Ryan Banks could only fire wide of the near post after losing his balance.
The second half was again back to the walls stuff for Turner's men. Wimborne played some delightful football with Pete Smith and Kevin James – both superb – pulling the strings in the heart of the Magpies' midfield.
Opportunities continued to present themselves, however either the final finish, a Thompson glove or – as happened on one occasion – a Lee Moulton goalline clearance kept the game within Bassett's reach.
Yet, James had other ideas, producing the pick of the game's goals with 18 minutes remaining. Again possession was conceded cheaply from a throw in and the ball was squared inside to the midfielder, who struck a rasping effort into the top corner from 20 plus yards.
Worn out from their continual chasing of the ball, a fourth always appeared on the cards and came with the final kick of the game, once again stemming from Bassett wasting possession.
This time a wayward corner presented the opportunity for Wimborne to break. They did so emphatically.
All it took was four passes between the ball falling into their possession to it ending up in the back of the net; included in that sequence was a sublime exchange of instinctive cross-field passes between Joyce and James, which overstretched the already outnumbered Bassett defence.
Joyce ultimately had the final say, producing another cracking finish from distance that Thompson could do little about.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Ryan Banks – another hard working performance, who linked up well with Scott Ward; his surging runs created problems for the Wimborne defence.
Scoop Rating: 6/10 – Class prevailed as Bassett, through no lack of effort, were dealt a lesson in football by a superb footballing side. Ultimately, there was no shame in the defeat or nature of it, however without some critical mistakes, the game could have been different.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38