E Everett, T Ritchie
Rylands Way, 28th March 2009
Despite occupying the higher reaches of the league table, Letcombe – given their recent run of form of a solitary win in eight games – appeared to be opposition who Wootton Bassett Town could return to winning ways against.
However, two sloppily conceded goals and another below-par performance meant the spoils were shared at Rylands Way after Bassett let a 2-1 lead slip away.
In the first half, Letcombe were by far the better team and unfortunate not to take the lead going into the break.
After Craig Wall spurned a great chance for Bassett with quarter of an hour gone, Letcombe deservedly took the lead midway through the period, finally seeing their period of dominance bear fruit.
Helped by a strong wind, Tom Broad sent a free kick from the deep into a crowded Bassett box, and 'keeper Stewart Thompson failed to get two hands on the ball, allowing Iain Whatley – one of two Letcombe players, who had easily shed their markers – to tap home.
It was debatable whether or not Thompson had been fouled, with the evidence pointing in his favour, but with the goal being allowed to stand Bassett got what they deserved.
Prolific strike Richard Claydon should then have made it two. Harry Trethowan deftly flicked the ball into the danger area from the right, but the forward – having stayed onside – clipped the ball wide of the right upright from a matter of yards.
Tom Ritchie then levelled things up five minutes before the break with an enormous amount of help from visiting 'keeper Steven Vaux. Ritchie swung in a free kick from the left wing, which evaded his targets in the box. It appeared to be an easy collection for Vaux but somehow the ball sailed through his arms and into the back of the net.
Ritchie was withdrawn from the game at half time and it was his replacement, Eddie Everett that put Bassett ahead.
Both sides came out for the second half in a determined mood, and an early chance fell to talented youngster Lyle Gifford, who forced a diving save from Thompson after he had put Shaun Carter on his back.
Where Gifford had failed seconds earlier, Everett succeeded. Wall did superbly in the right corner before cutting the ball to the midfielder on the edge of the box. Everett then teed himself up before firing a fine dipping shot over Vaux from 20 yards.
The lead could have been extended minutes later when a long goal kick from Thompson caused all kinds of problems for the visiting defence. The ball fell to Wall, who saw his effort blocked, but Ryan Banks anticipated well before driving just over from 15 yards.
Just after the hour, the lead was nullified after another avoidable goal. Thompson was forced into a fine parry stretching to his right by Gifford, but the loose ball was not cleared by Carter or Liam Edmundson, both of whom were in the vicinity.
Claydon took full advantage, looping the ball into the six yard box where Whatley rose highest to nod home.
Bassett had the best of the latter exchanges, but could not convert their chances into goals. Firstly, Vaux denied a first time drive from Paul Hunt with a low save at his near post following a Banks cross. Then Carter saw a looping header sail just over after jumping highest to meet his brother's free kick from halfway.
The result did no good for either side, as a Malmesbury victory saw both sides continue to slip away from the second place side. Somewhat luckily, Oxford City and Purton could not be separated in their encounter, but the flipside is that Bassett missed out on a great chance to close the gap on those two sides as well as their opponents.
The importance of the upcoming games therefore increases.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Paul Hunt – the lynchpin of the majority of Bassett's attacks. Hunt demonstrated his class throughout the game, with his glue-like first touch bringing others into play, maintaining numerous attacks. He was also unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
SScoop Rating: 5/10 – Bassett were slightly lucky to escape with a point, but also missed out on a golden opportunity to bag a win. Letcombe were there for the taking, but again errors proved to Bassett's undoing.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
E Everett, T Ritchie