S Collier (2)
The Recreation Ground, 6th November 2010
Cometh the hour, cometh the man (and the timeliest of wicked deflections). A pair of second half goals from Wootton Bassett Town talisman Sam Collier, the second of which decided the outcome of the game in the final minute, gave his side all three points in their derby encounter with Shrivenham.
Collier's contribution was made all the more significant considering the fact Bracknell Town, Thame United, Oxford City Nomads and Abingdon Town all triumphed, meaning Dave Turner's side maintain the degree of separation between themselves and those below.
For Shrivenham though it was a result they arguably could ill afford, even at this stage of the season. The 2-1 loss seemed slightly harsh on the early season strugglers, who put up a hearty battle, but nonetheless defeat leaves them ten points adrift of Bassett, and six behind fifth from bottom Bracknell.
John Fisher's side certainly deserved their lead though after edging what had been a tight opening.
They were, however, aided by yet more carelessness in possession from Bassett. Having committed men forward, the blocking of Sean Bailey's free kick afforded the hosts the perfect chance to counter. And they did so through the impressive Rory Sproule, who after a surging run which saw him breeze past Chris Oram, squared for veteran Steve Avenall to supply the easiest of finishes half an hour in.
Following their wake up call, Bassett began to get a firmer footing in the game and could well have been on level terms at the break after forging a string of decent chances. Shortly after conceding, Terry Adams tested Luke Alford from distance, but his failure to get enough power behind his shot afforded the home custodian a comfortable save.
Alex Green then directed a header from a pin-point Mark McMeeking cross narrowly over before Sam Collier rose highest to connect with a Matt Bown delivery, but his header was, fortuitously for the hosts, hacked off the line.
Following the restart, Turner's side assumed the ascendancy and began causing a Shrivenham defence that had performed stoutly for the majority of the opening half problems.
Bown was typically the source of Bassett's chances, with his deliveries from the right wing and corner kicks especially troubling. In the 58th minute, his perfectly placed cross should have been rewarded by Green, but the frontman failed to stick one past his former team, glancing his header way wide when it appeared easier to score.
Moments later Collier succeeded where his strike partner didn't. Amongst a congested pack of players, he once again rose highest to divert a teasing Bown corner towards goal. And after what seemed an eternity the ball eventually nestled in the top right corner beyond the flailing grasp of Alford.
He then almost grabbed a second within ten minutes of equalising, but his low curling effort went narrowly wide following a perfectly weighted set down from Bailey.
The final twenty minutes of the contest were frantic, with both sides showing daring for reasons outlined earlier.
First, Bown raced onto a Collier flick on and flashed a shot from the edge of the area across goal, forcing an outstretched Alford to awkwardly parry the ball away to safety.
At the other end, a low drive from Craig Whitbread had Stewart Thompson at full stretch, the ball squirming from his clutches. Only a snap clearance from a fortunately positioned Oram prevented the hosts from firing the ball into the back of the net.
With the game seemingly headed for a draw, the match was settled in dramatic fashion in the final minute. Shrivenham were given a taste of their own medicine as well, with a quick counter initiated by Thompson creating the goal.
The â€˜keeper - after assuredly handling a firmly struck Shane Davies effort - reversed the direction of play instantaneously. His punt was then expertly controlled by Collier, who shrugged off the attentions of his marker before firing towards goal from 25 yards. Alford seemed set to deal with the effort, but a wicked deflection wrong-footed him and the â€˜keeper was helpless from preventing the ball nestling in the bottom left corner.
The bragging rights Fisher had commented were on the line prior to proceedings belonged to Bassett.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Sam Collier – once again his goalscoring exploits inspired Bassett to three valuable points. Despite the physical, yet fair approach of the home defence, Collier persisted for the entire ninety minutes and was duly rewarded.
Scoop Rating: 6/10 – it wasn't the greatest of performances, but the sense of relief amongst the Bassett management once the final whistle blew was tangible. This was one of the biggest games of the season so far, with Dave Turner's side – after a period of indifferent league form – looking to prevent themselves being dragged into the mire at the bottom end of the table. And his troops delivered the three points, which is all that matters, no matter how.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
S Collier (2)