Almondsbury Sports & Social Club, 28th August 2010
Please don't let the headline fool you. In all honesty, watching the traffic whizz by on the nearby M5 would probably have been more entertaining than witnessing Wootton Bassett Town's titanic FA Cup struggle with Almondsbury UWE.
Yet saying that, for only the second time in the club's history, Bassett find themselves in the first qualifying round of the world's greatest cup competition where they will travel to face Wessex Premier Division outfit Hamble ASSC, who last year knocked Dave Turner's side out of the FA Vase at the first attempt. And that is the most important news to come from the afternoon.
However they come, wins in the FA Cup are always something to be proud of. The chance at progressing further than ever before and potentially set up a date with a Conference South outfit is something you would trade the ugliest of ugly 1-0 wins for. But to get that opportunity, Turner's team will have to step up their game against their Hampshire opponents in a fortnight's time.
From the first whistle, neither side looked as though they were going to turn in a performance that was fitting for the occasion. Almondsbury, who in the early stages forced corner after corner, looked well drilled with their numerous short set-pieces, but they could not convert any into meaningful chances. Bassett, on the other hand, failed to get a grip on the game, squandering possession at ease, leaving in-form forwards Sam Collier and Alex Green to cast frustrated figures up front.
The latter had the first chance of the match fall to him just after the quarter hour mark following some pinball in the home penalty area. But Green could only poke wide from ten yards when presented with just home custodian Chris Coles to beat.
Out of nothing with half an hour gone though, Bassett fathomed a goal. Ryan Banks' switch of play found Matty Bown on the right wing, although the cross-field ball seemed to be hit with more hope than intent. Bown then outmuscled his marker before feeding the heavily marked Collier – who had gained the attention of a trio of defenders – with an inch perfect pass.
After fashioning an opening on the edge of the box, the forward struck an effort with his right foot that looked as though it would leave Coles with a comfortable save. However, a wicked deflection left the ‘keeper wrong-footed and diverted the ball into the bottom right corner.
It was a not a classic goal by any stretch of the imagination, but on an afternoon as turgid and sloppy as this it was more than fitting that it wound up deciding the game.
The blustery conditions – which were to be expected given the exposed nature of the Western League Division One side's ground – and ropey pitch – something of a surprise given how flat it seemed on arrival – did not help, but the excuses could only go so far.
In the second period things were not much better, although chances were slightly more frequent.
Five minutes after the restart, a woefully under-hit backpass was pounced upon by Collier, but with only Coles to beat the forward could only find the right hand post with a somewhat hurried effort.
Moments later, a Bown through ball cut open the Almondsbury defence, allowing Banks to bare down on goal. However, the winger opened fire too early and Coles was able to parry his effort from the edge of the area.
On the hour, smart play down the left-hand channel involving full-back Jon Beeden and Banks opened up space for the latter to dink a weighted cross into the area. It was perfectly placed for the unmarked Collier to power home a header, but he once again found the woodwork, this time seeing his effort smash the crossbar and drift out of play.
Fortunately though, Bassett's wastefulness in front of goal did not come back to haunt them.
‘Keeper Stewart Thompson was virtually a spectator throughout the game and was only really called into question once, but he dealt more than easily with a half chance created by Simon McElroy in the early stages of the second period.
He will not get an easier day again this season in both the league and FA Cup though, that's for sure.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Richie Carter – dictated the game the best he could from his position at the heart of the Bassett midfield and his solid tackling helped snuff out any semblance of a threat the hosts posed.
Scoop Rating: 4/10 – it was the worst Bassett had played in a very long time – possession was wasted too much and too often the team were too slow getting forward. Thankfully though they were able to grind out a result and seal a place in the first qualifying round. Manager Dave Turner will be expecting much better however, starting with Monday's derby with Highworth Town.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38