Lee Bowen, Matt Bown
Rylands Way, 7th April 2012
After Tuesday night's crushing meltdown against Lydney Town, it could have been expected for that performance's impact to linger as Wootton Bassett Town wound down their season. But a professional performance against Cirencester Town Development, capped by goals from Lee Bowen and Matt Bown, secured a 2-0 victory and preserved – for now – Bassett's hold on fourth place.
Befitting of a game between two sides looking forward more to the summer break than the encounter at hand, this contest was not much of a spectacle with chances rare and no real excitement on offer to the hardy souls making up the Rylands Way crowd.
Part of the explanation for the decidedly average football on offer was the fact the hosts were once again forced into naming a much changed side. Missing were Alex Green, James Turner, Alex Harper and Kyle Pitts, while in their place came Mitch Wyatt, Liam Edmondson, Matt Buckingham, with Lee Bowen moved to centre forward from centre half.
The lack of continuity unsurprisingly led to Bassett spending much of the first half chasing the ball and camped inside their own half. Fortunately the visitors were unable to translate the lion's share of possession they had into meaningful opportunities, ensuring â€˜keeper Pete Doolan had a decidedly quiet afternoon.
Cirencester shifted the ball around with impressive confidence for a team so young. Their back four favoured a measured, patient approach, refusing all temptation to pick the easy option and thump the ball clear. Bassett, on the other hand, struggled to maintain possession early on. Often the visitors were gifted the ball back as their pressing style forced mistakes.
Yet merely to possess the ball is no guarantee of success. Certainly Cirencester did threaten, but not in the necessary areas. For instance, George Williams' skill on the left wing provided Craig Bowden with a test, drawing a rash challenge in the left corner and a booking for the Bassett defender quarter of an hour in.
It said something that, for all their pretty play, the only real notable chance they created came from a corner when Ollie Pitt's overhit set piece was headed wide at the far post by Nathan Hawkins, who had risen above marker Richie Carter.
At the other end Bassett eventually found their feet. And the first time the home side were able to string a decent set of passes together nearly allowed them to take the lead. Play was switched to Jack Ellis on the right, and his clever backheel created room for the overlapping Bowden. The defender then slid in Bowen, who cut the ball back across goal to Buckingham, but his powerful drive was well held on the dive by Charles Steward.
Bassett were then quick to find their feet after the restart, netting twice before the hour mark to assume control of the match.
In the 51st minute, substitute Daryl Charman found himself with the ball in the left channel, and he squared to Bowen, who fashioned some space before picking out the bottom right corner from the edge of the area.
Seven minutes later the lead was doubled. Matt Bown saw a corner of his only half cleared, and he quickly regained possession on the right flank. There, he flashed across a volley – seemingly intended as a cross, which flew towards goal instead and through the hands of a surprised Steward.
From there on out it was relatively comfortable sailing as Bassett gained revenge for their loss earlier in the season at the Corinium Stadium. Rarely did Cirencester threaten late on. Only Danny Hale – prolific for Bassett's under 18s over the past three season, came close, but he dragged weak effort wide following Jack Smith's cutback.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Jack Ellis – the young, tricky midfielder continued to justify his elevation into the first team with another assured performance. His pace posed problems for the Cirencester full backs, while his use of the ball was typically intelligent.
Scoop Rating: 7/10 – not a performance to rave about, but enough was done to eventually secure a relatively comfortable three points.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
Lee Bowen, Matt Bown