Rylands Way, 3 April 2012
Faint as their hopes of promotion were, Wootton Bassett Town will now not be capable of making an immediate return to the Hellenic League Premier Division following a crushing 3-0 defeat at home against lowly Lydney Town.
Bassett's display was insipid as they come - it was arguably the worst performance since Dave Turner took over as first team manager four years ago and came with something still to play for.
The visitors to Rylands Way, despite beginning the night third from bottom in Division One West, have been on a fine run recently, which has enabled them to catch up with those sides currently occupying mid-table positions.
But that was no excuse for Bassett. Five wins from the last seven games rekindled hopes that, maybe, third place come the season's conclusion was a possibility. While finishing there would have required those around Bassett - notably Winterbourne United and Purton - to drop points, there was all the chance of that happening given the tricky run-in both faced.
Instead though Bassett were the team to bottle their chance.
And the damage was done inside the first five minutes as two Pete Doolan errors granted Lydney two quickfire goals.
Under 120 seconds after the opening whistle a long throw was allowed to travel three quarters the width of the pitch unchallenged, falling all too kindly for Jarred Liddington. Twenty yards out, the forward swivelled and struck a looping effort from 20 yards towards goal that should have been kept out. But poor positioning from Bassett's 'keeper meant the ball found the top right corner.
Moments later the visitors' lead doubled. James Morse outmuscled Matt Bown before advancing down the right wing and cutting inside for Liddington. With his back to goal, the forward attempted an audacious backheel flick from close range, which Doolan spilled at his near post. Ross Scott then charged in to bury the follow up and place Bassett in a desperately deep hole.
Unable to get out of their own half, the home side continued to find themselves under intense pressure. Morse glanced a free header over before Danny Clarke somehow placed a shot from under the crossbar over with no player in a blue shirt within five yards of him.
For the home side, their best chance came via right back Kyle Pitts, after Jack Ellis played a neat through ball to tee up the overlapping defender. But his first time strike, which was accurate but lacking venom, was batted away by Richard Thomas.
The game was killed off ten minutes before half time when Pete Macklin coolly slotted home a third. Morse once again galloped forward down the right before squaring to the impressive Liddington, who - with his back to goal - laid the ball back for his veteran strike partner. It was an incisive, cutting attack that led to the goal, with Liddington's burst and movement off the ball allowing him to break free of his marker.
Soon after Bassett's frustrations revealed themelves when Lee Bowen received his marching orders for a second yellow. A needless handball earned him his first caution before he dragged down Liddington with the strike baring down on goal.
The points well and truly in the bag, Lydney took their foot off the pedal following the restart. Intent just to neatly stroke the ball around and play some lovely, confident passing football, they looked nothing like a team who had toiled in the depths of Division One West for most of the season.
Bassett, on the other hand, looked just that. Unable to maintain possession for a meaningful amount of time and with any confidence gained from their positive string of results, they bore the look of a well beaten team.
With time winding down, Lydney almost added insult to injury. Intercepting a wayward pass, centre back Niall Halford proceeded to tear forward through the midfield and Bassett's depleted defence. A neat one-two with Liddington on the edge of the area presented him with a one-on-one, but Doolan was able to bat the ball away after racing off his line to narrow the angle.
Scoop Rating: 3/10 - Bassett showed better in the second half but still were unable to muster a chance. The less said about the opening period the better.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38