Craig Bowden, Matt Bown, Ethan Delaney
Rylands Way, 12th November 2011
Wootton Bassett Town began their series of derby day encounters in fine fashion, cantering to a comfortable 3-1 victory against near neighbours Cricklade Town. The victory meant Bassett's upward surge in Hellenic League Division One West continued, as the three points lifted Dave Turner's team into fourth, above Graham Jackson's sliding side.
The game, featuring two of the division's top six sides, who have always enjoyed close contests against one another in recent year - most of which have disappointingly finished in Cricklade's favour - promised much prior to kick off. However, it quickly became apparent that this was to be a decisively one-sided affair.
Admittedly, Cricklade were under strength, missing amongst others their talismanic frontman (and the reigning holder of the Division One West golden boot) Ben Carter, who has struck 14 times so far this season.
However, his absence cannot be used as an excuse for the insipid display of Cricklade's defence.
Twelve minutes in Alex Green should have taken full advantage of hesitancy amongst the ranks of the visitors' back four, but he struck a weak shot straight at 'keeper Ben Mitchell when presented with a one-on-one opportunity.
A matter of minutes later the deadlock was broken. Cutting in from the left hand side, Matt Bown embarked on a surging run, twisting his way past three defenders before he was scythed down on the edge of the box. A potential goal scoring opportunity awaited him had his progress not been so cynically impeded, but that was to prove no matter.
Craig Bowden stepped up to take the free kick, and his powerfully struck effort took a deflection off the poorly organised wall and nestled into the bottom left corner.
A huge slice of luck may have been involved, but it was no less than Bassett deserved.
Their dominance continued throughout the duration of the half, but Cricklade's defence - unable to cope with the guile of Bown, the raw pace of Ethan Delaney and smarts of Alex Green - were able to thank Bassett's poor finishing for keeping the score respectable.
On the half hour, Delaney outmuscled Kyle Moulden before baring down on goal, but with just Mitchell to beat the youngster skewed his 20-yard effort wide.
A mix-up between Mitchell and his back-line then presented Delaney with another outstanding opportunity. With the 'keeper left in no man's land, it took a goalline clearance from Moulden to deny the speedy forward.
It continued to appear as though it was not to be his day when he side-footed over from close range after a clever switch of play and Bown through ball had set him clear.
But Delaney eventually made amends on the stroke of half time. Cricklade conceded possession deep inside their own half, and Russell Driver fed through an incisive reverse pass, which Delaney latched onto in the left channel before slotting coolly past the advancing Mitchell.
Bassett's supremacy continued following the restart, but they continued to let the visitors off the hook, Green being another culprit when he headed over unmarked from a perfectly placed Bown free kick.
The game was eventually iced on 63 minutes. The visitors failed to clear after Adam Corcoran saw a bullet header expertly parried away by MItchell and the ball was eventually recycled into the box. Green and James Blake both had bites at the cherry, but saw their efforts blocked. Bown though was not to be denied. The ball sitting up perfectly for him, the midfielder blasted a ferocious first time drive into the top corner from the edge of the area.
It was well and truly game, set and match, but still Bassett drove forward. A quick counter involving substitute Mitch Wyatt and Bown set up Lee Bowen on the right-wing. The former Cricklade man then danced inside his marker, before side-footing straight at Mitchell.
Bowen then beat the 'keeper with nine minutes remaining, however the post would keep him out after he had rolled his man to fashion an opening ten yards from goal.
Cricklade would have the final say when Sam Reason scored an inevitable goal against his former team, sweeping home after a neat move. But the goal, which flattered the visitors, was all too little, all too late.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Matt Bown - Bassett's leading scorer had yet another impressive game, scoring a brilliant goal and playing a part in the majority of the home side's attacks. His surging run helped create the opener, while the midfielder's clever use of the ball helped fashion openings for those around him.
Scoop Rating: 8/10 - a clinical victory earned seemingly without a huge amount of effort needing to be expounded. Bassett's football was neat and tidy throughout the course of the match, allowing them to play Cricklade off the park; only some poor finishing prevented a rout.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
Craig Bowden, Matt Bown, Ethan Delaney