Scours Lane, 26th March 2011
It is well and truly squeaky bum time for Wootton Bassett Town after their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Reading Town, coupled with victories for fellow strugglers Bracknell Town and Carterton, narrowed the breathing space Dave Turner's team have as their Hellenic League Premier Division campaign enters its final stages.
A stunning strike from Jamie Pierce with twenty minutes to go decided the game in the hosts' favour after Bassett had rode their luck throughout the first period before equalising through Tom Dingle. Reading were in the end well worth the three points, but it was another missed opportunity for Bassett - still with five games left against teams battling it out for honours at the other end of the table - to get themselves out of danger.
After troubling league leaders Ardley United in midweek, Bassett reverted to their midseason form that saw them slip into trouble with a frustratingly below par display. Although Ethan Delaney and Sam Collier threatened early, both seeing shots narrowly miss the target, Reading were dominant in the first half.
Spearheading their charge was centre forward Marcus Richardson, whose ability to hold the ball up, made livewire pair Danny Seaward and Ashley Watkins - both intelligent with their runs - even more dangerous. In the 25th minute the journeyman former pro, sent Seaward down the left flank, his cross being met by Jordan Cousineau, who headed across goal and narrowly wide.
Despite their attacking quality, Bassett appeared more than willing to create problems for themselves with wastefulness in the midfield, which saw possession conceded all too easily.
And it would be this failing, which played a crucial role in the hosts opener with twelve minutes to go before half time. Quick to counter, the ball was played into Richardson just inside the visitors half of the field. An unmarked Watkins was then played in down the left flank and he centred for Cousineau, making a late darting run, to direct the ball into the bottom right corner past a helpless Luke Sharps.
The visitors seemed not to have learned their lesson after conceding a goal from such a simple, yet effective move.
Two minutes later, Watkins blazed narrowly over after Seaward had beaten the offside trap and crossed from the right. Then, on the stroke of half time, Watkins breezed past right back Craig Bowden before delivering a dangerous low cross, which Richardson struck over with a first time effort.
To their credit, Bassett came out after the break a changed side. Tightened up at the back and less carefree when in control of the ball, they actually began to threaten and were rewarded for their enterprise on 67 minutes. A quick corner from Delaney to Matt Bown stung the unprepared hosts, and the latter's weighted delivery was met by Dingle, who rose highest and looped a header into the back ofthe net with the help of the left-hand post.
It was to be a fleeting lifeline though. Moments after an innocuous Richardson flick on had Sharps scrambling to bundle the ball away from danger after having hit the near post, the hosts retook the lead.
From a weighted free kick taken from the halfway line, the burly Richardson set the ball perfectly for Jamie Piercey, who lashed an unstoppable volley into the bottom left corner from the right hand edge of the box.
It was a hammer blow from which Bassett could not recover, try as they did for the final twenty minutes.
Defeat means they slip a further place to 17th, just five points ahead of fourth bottom Witney United. Time to dig deep.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Tom Dingle – was rewarded for his hard work with his second goal for Bassett. Better service from his teammates is required though if his qualities are to be utilised fully.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 – Reading dominated the midfield battle comfortably, which wound up deciding the game. Too haphazard in possession, Bassett created a number of problems for themselves, especially in the first half, from which the hosts fashioned a plethora of chances. Somewhat lucky to still be in the game at half time, Dave Turner's side did claw their way back into the game, but after going behind again they failed to muster anything meaningful in front of goal.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38