R Carter, R Driver, S Packer, J Turner
Rylands Way, 24th September 2011
For the best part of 70 minutes, an underwhelming Wootton Bassett Town struggled to breakdown a much depleted Headington Amateurs, who were a shadow of the side who stormed to the Hellenic League Division One West crown last season. But a scrappy goal from an unlikely source - midfielder Richie Carter - helped open the floodgates as Dave Turner's side went on to record a convincing 4-0 victory.
Despite the much appreciated three points, which helped continue Bassett's slow and steady rise up the table - they now lie seventh, the majority of the afternoon was a turgid affair. At near full strength - Ethan Delaney was Bassett's lone absentee of note - against a Headington side cobbled together from scraps thanks to large scale unavailability, it should really have been a trouble-free afternoon from the first whistle.
Instead though, Bassett toiled miserably. They did dominate the game in terms of possession, but Turner's side let their opponents off the hook far too many times to count, especially during the first half. Of the few dangerous openings fashioned in that opening period, just once was makeshift goalkeeper Adam Simmonds threatened; regular shot stopper Harry Jenkins was used up front in the target man role and put in a decent performance.
Seven minutes in, Lee Bowen sent a snap shot from the edge of the box over after Sam Packer had stole the ball and set his teammate free.
Seconds later, Matt Bown put Mitch Wyatt through one-on-one with Simmonds, but a lack of urgency allowed a defender to recover some ground and make a last ditch tackle before the powerful forward was able to shoot. The loose ball fell to Carter on the right wing and he delivered an inch perfect cross to an unmarked Packer at the far post, but the livewire midfielder could only head over.
Thereafter, the half descended into a bitty midfield battle. Aftab Hafiz and Luke Cuff - Headington's top scorer the past three seasons - offered something of an outlet for the visitors, but the pair's talent and nous could not be matched by any colleague, meaning they were often caught in possession. Bassett, meanwhile, just could not produce the final ball needed. For all his hard work and endeavour, Wyatt seemed to be fighting a losing battle up front - rather than playing to his strengths, too many balls were sent into space for him to chase down.
Moments before half time though, he did come within an inch of putting his side ahead. Bown received a throw in close to the byline in the left corner, swivelled and sent across a low fizzing cross that Wyatt was able to get a toe to five yards from goal. With Simmonds beaten the ball agonisingly cannoned off the post and was hacked away to safety.
The early stages of the second half were a repeat of the first. In fact, Bassett almost found themselves a goal down within five minutes of the restart when Shaun Carter misjudged a bounce, allowing Cuff a free run at goal. But a superbly timed Liam Edmundson tackle ensured Pete Doolan's was not brought into action.
On the hour, Adam Corcoran came close twice from successive Bown corners. He first saw a firmly struck shot deflect off a defender's back and loop just over, before a fine header was tipped away by Simmonds.
With time fast fading, it was left for Richie Carter to finally break the deadlock. On 68 minutes, the ball fell perfectly for Russell Driver just inside the box, but he could only fire straight at a defender. Carter picked up the scraps, however, and curled the ball into the top corner from 15 yards.
With Headington heads now dropped, Bassett pounced. Three minutes after taking the lead, Packer doubled the advantage with an absolute wonder goal. Bown opened up the visitors' defence with a typically direct run before cutting back when he reached the edge of the area. James Turner seemed intent on striking the ball, but a confident Packer called him off and with one powerful swing of his right boot he thundered the ball into the back of the net from 30 yards.
With quarter of an hour to go, Bown and Carter combined down the right before the latter unselfishly squared for Driver, who convincingly swept the ball into the back of the net.
Turner then added a fourth in the 81st, dancing past the last defender before firing home from twelve yards.
Victory means that Bassett are now unbeaten in their last ten fixtures against Headington. However, none of those results were as convincing, yet, at the same time, anti-climatic as this one.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Sam Packer - a class above again, always wanting the ball at the heart of the Bassett midfield. His goal was something special.
Scoop Rating: 5.5/10 - after a turgid opening hour, Bassett were eventually able to impose their will on the game. Although they stroked the ball around throughout the match, poor decisions on the attack denied Bassett the chances their possession should have brought.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
R Carter, R Driver, S Packer, J Turner