Springfield, October 2nd 2010
A poor start and a gut-wrenching finish combined to terminate Wootton Bassett Town's interest in the FA Vase as Western League Division One outfit Cadbury Heath won the first round tie between the two sides by two goals to one.
The afternoon started terribly for Dave Turner's side as the hosts took the lead within the opening three minutes following some abject defending.
After possession was conceded cheaply, Sasha Tong squared inside from the right wing to Liam Planter, who – despite lurking around the penalty spot – was under no real pressure. Unselfishly, he shifted the ball to left winger George Boon, who had made a darting run into the box unchecked, and he made no mistake, coolly slotting past Stewart Thompson at the Bassett ‘keeper's near post.
Going behind so early should really have served as a wakeup call for the visitors, but that proved not to be the case as Bassett appeared intent on reverting to type when it came to the FA Vase.
The Heathens were able to apply a huge amount of early pressure and the game could well have been over as a contest by half time.
Less than 180 seconds after conceding, Boon's inswinging corner was met by an unmarked Billy Fletcher. However, the towering centre back – despite placing his header on target – could not beat Thompson, who made a firm save on the dive to his right.
On the quarter hour a testing Leon Maloney cross was spilled by the ‘keeper on the edge of the area, the ball squirming loose into Boon's feet. After fashioning an opening, he attempted a delicate chip from the edge of the area to try and beat the two visiting defenders between him and the goal. Fortunately though, his effort sailed agonizingly over.
It was not just the hosts fluid passing that was catching Bassett at sixes and sevens either. Minutes later a long ball over the top was not dealt with, and Planter easily beat make-shift centre-half Richie Carter for pace, leaving him with just Thompson to beat. The ‘keeper spared his captain's blushes though, as he was able to divert the forward's well struck effort wide.
Lucky to be just the single goal down at the break, Turner's side came out for the second period with a sense of vigour and purpose and were duly rewarded – albeit somewhat fortuitously – for their much improved play in the 53rd minute.
After a period of patient build up play, Terry Adams threaded a ball through for Alex Green, who shot on the turn from the edge of the area. In a desperate attempt to prevent his ‘keeper from having to make a save, home defender Dwayne James then got a foot to the ball, but served only to wrong-foot Simon Crawford and divert the ball into his own net.
With the teams back on level terms, the match opened up hugely with both sides committing men forward in numbers.
Midway through the half, a give-and-go between Matty Bown and Adams opened up a shooting lane for the former on the edge of the box, yet Crawford was equal to the winger's powerful shot, which was taken on the bounce.
Sixty seconds and a fast break later, Tong came narrowly close for Cadbury Heath but saw his shot on the turn deflected inches wide after an incisive pass from Boon. From the ensuing corner, the ball fell to the prolific forward, and only desperate defending kept his double effort from going in. The danger was not entirely averted though, and from another perfectly placed Boon corner, Fletcher headed just over.
With seven minutes remaining it was Bassett's turn to apply the pressure when Jon Beeden broke decisively with pace down the left hand side. After shrugging the attentions of a defender off, he whipped the ball into the danger area. Just as it appeared destined to fall perfectly for Ethan Delaney to head home though, the faintest of flicks from Maloney denied the substitute his chance.
Despite the flurry of chances, the game by now appeared destined for an extra half hour, until the cruellest of blows was delivered in the third minute of stoppage time.
A couple minutes prior, a swift counter down the right flank saw Luke Cornish force a save from Thompson. This time though he beat the ‘keeper, albeit with the aid of a deflection. William de Witt's low cross was diverted towards the bottom left corner by the forward, although it appeared the Bassett ‘keeper had it covered. However, a late deflection changed the direction of the ball and despite a despairing dive, Thompson was unable to prevent it from nestling in the back of the net.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Jon Beeden – the only player in a blue and yellow shirt who could really claim to have put in a performance of a consistent standard. He was strong in the tackle and a force in the air, and once again was positive and looking to take players on whenever he had the opportunity to get forward.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 – Bassett's first half performance was abject; however they were much improved following the restart and were unfortunate to have lost the game in the manner they did. Cadbury Heath certainly edged proceedings over the course of the ninety minutes though.
Unfortunately the Vase match was Ryan Banks' last for the club as work and family commitments have made it difficult for him to commit himself to playing regularly. After joining Bassett at the same time as manager Dave Turner, Banks has played a key role over the past two and a bit seasons, including being captain of last year's promotion winning side. His contributions have been hugely appreciated by all involved in the senior section – even more so given the fact he has travelled from Pewsey every week to play. A firm favourite at Rylands Way, he will rejoin Pewsey Vale, who have made a fantastic start to life in Wessex League Division One. The club would like to wish him all the best for the future – both on and off the pitch.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38