J Beeden, L Edmundson
Rylands Way, 30th August 2010
A stirring, resolute performance from Dave Turner's men ensured the return of former Bassett trio Steve Yeardley, Jonny Aitkenhead and Richie Saunders to Rylands Way was not a happy one, as the hosts prevailed 2-0 in a fascinating derby encounter.
The victory means that Bassett remain unbeaten in all competitions at the end of the first month of the season, whilst the Worthians dropped their third league game so far – a situation opposite to what most would have anticipated given the different ambitions the two clubs had prior to the commencement of the Hellenic Premier Division campaign.
The turning point of what was an action-packed derby played in front of a bumper crowd came with 66 minutes gone. Highworth ‘keeper Kurtis Sharkey, having flapped at a Matty Bown free kick, chased down substitute Phil Tearle – who had been on the pitch a matter of seconds – to try and make amends for his handling error.
Instead though, he made things a hell of a lot worse. Even though Tearle had been forced away from goal, Sharkey made an awkward lunge and, missing the ball completely, dragged the winger down. It was a definite penalty, and youngster Jon Beeden confidently smashed the ball home to double the hosts' advantage.
From there, Dave Webb's side went to pieces. With quarter of an hour left, their early season indiscipline continued when dangerous wide-man James Guthrie – just ten minutes after being booked for needless dissent - received a second caution for a clumsy challenge on Ryan Banks.
Their defence too was opened up regularly as the impressive Ethan Delaney, who caused endless problems all afternoon for the visitors, gave centre back pairing Tom Cole and Craig Curtis the run-around.
Only poor finishing ensured they didn't make the short journey back to The Elms on the back of a heavier defeat. Sam Collier was twice the guilty party, firstly scuffing an effort after a superb one-two between Tearle and Delaney, before he blasted over from close range whilst unmarked following a Bown cross. Delaney too should have done better when set free by Collier, but his touch failed him when attempting to round Sharkey.
To confound Highworth's misery, they failed to even grab a consolation when both TJ Bohane and Cole missed with an open goal at their mercy. The former rattled the post from six yards, whilst the latter skewed his effort way wide.
Prior to Bassett's second, it was the Worthians who had crafted the majority of the game's chances. But wasteful finishing, coupled with resolute defending from the hosts, meant they failed to take advantage.
Bohane in particular was guilty of failing to put the ball in the back of the net when he really should have done. Just two minutes into the match, he fired straight at Stewart Thompson after fashioning an opening for himself on the edge of the area.
Four minutes later, a fine glancing header of his following a Dan Hilder corner produced a fine fingertip save from the ‘keeper before being headed off the line by James Turner.
He then connected with another Hilder set piece, but a fortuitous bounce on its way towards goal ensured the ball fell safely into the hands of Thompson.
Soon after, Bassett took the lead. Bown sent in a poorly struck corner from the right, but Shaun Carter was fortunately on the edge of the box to redirect the ball into the danger area. Liam Edmondson, who was also in imperious form throughout when performing his defensive duties, reacted first, flicking the ball – with his back to goal – past Sharkey from twelve yards.
Thompson's instincts then kept the lead intact. Once again Bohane was denied as his free header from another Hilder delivery was parried away at point blank range.
On 24 minutes Collier had the ball in the net at the other end, but a dubious foul ruled out what appeared to be a legitimate goal.
On the stroke of half time – after Bohane had again missed – Edmondson was highly unfortunate not to have a second. His glancing header from another Bown corner had Sharkey beaten, but the defender was denied only by the post.
Without the comforts of a two goal lead, Bassett were somewhat shaky at the beginning of the second period. They should have been punished on the hour when Guthrie broke free down the left and cut the ball back for an unmarked Rob Dean. However, the midfielder dragged his first time effort wide.
Then came Sharkey's moment of madness that completely changed the complexion of the game.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Stewart Thompson – the veteran ‘keeper made a number of fine saves to keep Highworth dangerman TJ Bohane from adding his name to the scoresheet. In all honesty though, every player on the pitch did their part. Notable contributions also came from Ethan Delaney - who made life a misery for the experienced Tom Cole, Richie Carter – who asserted his authority in the centre of midfield, and Liam Edmondson – who scored the opener and was dominant in the heart of the defence.
Scoop Rating: 9/10 – Highworth will claim Bassett rode their luck, but this was a fantastic performance by the hosts from the first to the last minute. Dave Turner's side rose to the occasion in style and were fully worth the win that keeps their unbeaten start to the season going.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
J Beeden, L Edmundson