M Bown (2), L Bowen
The Red House, 10th March 2012
Rarely does derby day between Wootton Bassett Town and Purton disappoint. And so that proved to be the case again as Dave Turner's side edged a 3-2 thriller. Typical of contests between the two sides, the game had it all - full-blooded tackles, baffling officiating, a cracking comeback from the hosts and late fireworks as Lee Bowen headed a late winner.
Twists and turns would occur throughout the match, but the drama would begin before the opening whistle had been sounded. Bassett ‘keeper James Domm, whose season has been plagued by niggling injuries, came up lame in the warm up, forcing forward Mitch Wyatt to don the gloves.
It was seemingly advantage Purton. Facing the hosts' fearsome attack without a recognised ‘keeper suggested that it could have been a long, long day.
But for the duration of the first half, Wyatt was rarely troubled. Only on one occasion was he brought into action, but the stand-in ‘keeper kept his composure to smother at Dave Gee's feet after the winger had been gifted a one-on-one opportunity when Shaun Carter sliced an attempted clearance directly into his path.
Instead the action during the opening 45 minutes centred, surprisingly, on Purton's goal.
The action produced two goals for Bassett, but the damage inflicted on the shell-shocked could have been much worse.
In the opening five minutes a flowing move almost resulted in James Blake breaking the deadlock. Ethan Delaney – back to his troublesome best – set Jack Ellis free down the right wing before the youngster advanced into the space in front of him. Ellis then picked out Blake with an inside pass, and the forward clipped a snap shot towards goal from the edge of the area, which Johnny Cowley acrobatically tipped wide.
The resulting corner was not properly cleared and Blake was once again presented with a chance after Craig Bowden recycled the ball, but could not open the scoring as his measured lob drifted inches over.
Eventually Bassett were rewarded for their persistence, though Cowley and Travis Barrett both suffering from rushes of blood to the head in quick succession provided a helping hand.
Twice Purton, playing a high line, were caught out by balls over the top. On the half hour mark, Delaney flicked on one such pass, setting free Blake. Presented with a one-on-one, the forward tried rounding Cowley only to be felled. From the resultant spot kick, penalty king Matt Bown coolly sent the ‘keeper the wrong way, stroking the ball into the bottom right corner.
Minutes later Adam Corcoran's clearance sailed over the Purton rear-guard and, quick as a flash, Delaney latched onto the ball and raced towards goal. While preparing to shoot, he was dragged to the ground by a desperate Barrett. The same player taking two penalties in a match is often considered dangerous. But Bown proved that theory wrong, picking the same spot and producing the same result.
With half time approaching Delaney had the chance to put the result beyond doubt. Bown chipped the ball over the top and into space and Delaney was again first to the ball. After outmuscling Barrett he had just Cowley to beat and attempted a lob from 18 yards that appeared destined for the top corner. However, it was to miss the target by the narrowest of margins.
Still with a glimmer of hope, Chris Pethick's side sought to wrestle control of the match following the restart and did a fine job of maintaining possession, forcing Bassett to defend deeper and deeper in numbers.
Without an outlet – both Delaney and Blake were sucked in to defend – this limited any openings for Turner's team. But on the one occasion they did forge forward they should have been awarded a third spot kick. Yet referee Tobin was unmoved after Ryan Child clearly barged Delaney off the ball.
Action at the other end increased anxiety levels on the Bassett bench, with both Scott Campbell and substitute James Richards heading narrowly over when unmarked.
Eventually their pressure paid as Tom Cadden fashioned some space and drove a perfectly struck 20-yard effort past an outstretched Wyatt and into the bottom corner.
He would soon restore parity. Receiving the ball in the middle of the park, Marcus Hall – as per usual – initiated a sweeping move, sending a through ball to Campbell on the right. The winger then sent in a low, measured cross that fell perfectly for Cadden, who swept home at the second attempt after his initial effort was blocked.
Purton were now firmly in the ascendancy and could realistically have had a man advantage for the final twenty minutes as Delaney was lucky to stay on the pitch for an ugly looking, though not malicious, challenge on Leigh Brown.
But it would be Bassett who, somewhat controversially, had the last laugh. In the dying minutes they were awarded a free kick on the right wing, which Bown rushed over to take. His delivery was poor, hit behind the runners, but Alex Green was able to check his run and redirect the ball back across goal. It was placed perfectly for an unmarked and, according to the hosts, offside Lee Bowen, who guided the ball into the top left corner past a helpless Cowley.
What a game. What a finish. What a derby, again.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Mitch Wyatt – there were plenty of candidates as this was a fantastic performance, but Wyatt deserves special mention for donning the gloves in his side's hour of need. His performance did not come across as that of a novice ‘keeper, and he even produced a one handed grab from a cross late on that was as cool as they come!
Scoop Rating: 8/10 – this season has not entirely matched expectations, but inflicting defeat on Purton, who now trail Winterbourne United in the battle for third, is always something to cheer especially after their win at Rylands Way earlier this season. Though Bassett invited more pressure than was necessary in the second period, they were well organised, played some neat football and exploited their hosts' weaknesses to good effect.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
M Bown (2), L Bowen