Cheltenham Saracens
Wootton Bassett TownWBTFC
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WBTFC Scorers:
C Wall

Farcical Finish Overshadows Betteridge Brilliance

St. Peters Ground, 8th April 2009

It is Ryan Betteridge's brilliance in the Cheltenham Saracens goal, which should really be remembered from their 1-1 draw with Wootton Bassett Town, for it was that which prevented Dave Turner's promotion chasing side from earning all three points.

Instead, a second half, which saw three players sent off thanks to some ridiculous officiating, will stay in the memory of those present.

Two of those red cards were presented falsely too.

The first came just before the hour when Steve Yeardley received his marching orders for venting his frustrations at himself for failing to prevent the ball crossing the line for a goal kick. Instead, though the assistant believed the midfielder's words to have been aimed at him, resulting in the dismissal.

For the home side, goalscorer Stewart Lewis was correctly sent for an early bath after directing an elbow at Tom Ritchie, but it was Mike Wilce's dismissal moments later that raised eyebrows.

After a challenge – and a fair one at that – from Shaun Carter, Saracens' Leigh Rayson lashed out at the Bassett defender. Chaos ensued, with both sets of players getting involved in a mass scrum.

After the storm had been calmed, a discussion with the same assistant who played a part in Yeardley's red card resulted in Wilce being ejected, despite him trying to act as peacemaker. Ironically, Richie Carter was booked for his brother's involvement in the mess.

The game had been spoilt earlier though by arrogant, nonsensical officiating.

After Paul Hunt was booked for dissent in the first half, the referee served up four more yellows for the same offence in an eight minute spell midway through the second period. At that point the game had yet to see one bad tackle or moment of controversy.

What had transpired though was a fruitless period of Bassett dominance and a smash and grab goal for the hosts.

Betteridge had denied a Chris Oram header with a point blank save before Lewis put the home side ahead after half an hour. He supplied an emphatic left foot finish following Joe Tustain's cross field ball.

Moments later Lee Moulton spurned a fine opportunity, looping his effort wide after being played through by Ryan Banks.

Two corners produced near misses just before the half and a minute after the restart, Scott Ward found the bar with a close range header before the ball fell into Betteridge's grateful hands.

Even after losing a man, the Cheltenham defence struggled to cope with Bassett's relentless attacking.

They had their 'keeper to thank though as he foiled Ritchie with the midfielder in behind the defence, and then made a great double save, blocking the aforementioned Ritchie before parrying away from the feet of Paul Hunt.

Bassett finally got their breakthrough with eleven minutes to go though. Ward slipped in Ritchie in the right corner, and the midfielder drilled a low ball across the six yard box, which fellow substitute Craig Wall got to first.

The close range finish was simple enough for Wall's first goal in a blue and yellow shirt.

Betteridge was to have the final say before chaos ensued, tipping wide at his left post after Wall tried hooking the ball in from a tight angle.

Sadly though, his heroics were soon forgotten.

Scoop's Man of the Match: Scott Ward – was superb at holding the ball up and bringing others into play. His work created numerous problems for the Saracens defence.

Scoop Rating: 6/10 – Bassett will be disappointed not to have picked up all three points with the number of chances they created. Betteridge was brilliant, but Bassett's finishing on a couple of occasions allowed the hosts to snatch a point, despite them having a solitary shot on goal.

Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38

Cheltenham Saracens
Wootton Bassett TownWBTFC
Cheltenham Saracens Logo
1 ‒ 1
Wootton Bassett Town Logo

WBTFC Scorers:
C Wall