Rylands Way, 12th February 2011
Manager Dave Turner's prediction that his side's derby affair with Shrivenham would be a dreary affair proved correct. For 75 minutes.
The majority of the match was an insipid, uninspired, action-starved borefest, but Chris Cox's headed goal for the visitors with just under quarter of an hour left sparked a frenetic finish that saw Wootton Bassett Town equalise through youngster Ethan Delaney with seconds of stoppage time remaining.
It meant for the second time this season Bassett had denied John Fisher's relegation battling outfit points with the earlier meeting between the two sides having been decided by a last minute winner from Sam Collier.
This rematch though was a contest which neither side deserved to win, with the majority of those present at Rylands Way likely wishing they too had taken Turner's initiative and ventured off to a foreign land for the weekend instead.
In the opening exchanges both strike partnerships gave their defensive opponents an easy ride. Playing too far apart, both Bassett's pairing of Delaney and Sam Collier and Shrivenham's duo of Steve Robertson and Rory Sproule, demonstrated a lack of chemistry between one another that meant any flick-ons were swept up comfortably instead of causing any danger.
Therefore, the opening period was one of just half chances, the first of which fell to Robertson twenty minutes in. Ryan King weighted a cross from the deep to the forward perfectly, but Robertson snapped an effort on the turn from a tight angle wide of the upright.
Shrivenham then felt they should have had a penalty when Dan Thompson appeared to have been clipped just inside the box. However, his theatrical tumble failed to convince referee Payne to put whistle to mouth, much to the disgust of the visitors' bench.
On the stroke of half time King raced on to a Robertson flick on and the right winger struck across goal from an angle, however his effort was a weak one, failing to trouble Stewart Thompson, and rolled timidly out of play.
These two openings did have Thompson on his toes though, unlike Ian Gill in the visitor's goal, who was not once alerted in the first half, with the best the hosts could muster being speculative long range efforts from midfielders Sam Packer and Matty Bown that missed the target by a considerable distance, sailing over.
Early territorial advantage following the restart belonged to the visitors. However, they were unable to capitalise on this, meaning Thompson's quiet day between the sticks continued.
This early pressure also almost led to Bassett taking the lead following a quick break. Bown began the move, sending a long pass upfield that Collier directed into the path of substitute Matty Boucher with a deft header. The former Fairford midfield then sent a precisely timed and weighted through ball into the path of Delaney, who had beat the offside trap. Against an onrushing Gill, the youngster was first to the ball and poked the ball beyond the ‘keeper. Unfortunately however his shot crawled agonisingly wide of the left hand post.
Ten minutes later it appeared as though the hosts were going to be made to pay for that missed opportunity when Cox nodded home at the far post from a Martin Stratford corner that had been allowed to sail across the face of goal unchallenged by the Bassett defence.
Desperate for an equaliser, they sent a third man up front, which had the effect of pegging the visitors back into their own half. But it appeared as though this switch was going to bear no fruit as Gill was not forced into action thanks to some steadfast defending.
Yet, the game had one final twist in store as Delaney conjured up a goal out of nothing. He was the recipient of a deflected pass on the edge of the area, but a heavy first touch appeared as though it would kill any chance of him getting a shot off.
But, the Shrivenham back line failed to pounce on this mistake, allowing the youngster to regain his composure. And he made his second bite of the cherry count, firing a low effort on the turn towards goal that beat Gill and founds its way into the back of the net via the post.
With Reading Town, Bracknell Town and Witney United securing impressive victories that goal may come to have added significance as it meant the ground made up with Tuesday's win against Carterton was not entirely wiped out.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Liam Edmundson – nullified the impact the dangerous Rory Sproule was to have on the game, winning most aerial duels against the spirited Shrivenham frontman. Shaun Carter was also composed, meaning Stewart Thompson could enjoy a relatively quiet afternoon.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 – the heavy Rylands Way pitch did not help either team, but neither demonstrated much quality. The point was very much welcome, but much better performances will be needed if Bassett are to continue to add to their points tally in the season's second half.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38