M Barnes (2), S Terry, S Yeardley
Rylands Way, 10th August 2012
Wootton Bassett Town's name will never be engraved on the grand old trophy, but they ensured a place in FA Cup history with a pulsating 4-2 victory against local rivals Calne Town, becoming the first team to record a win in the 132nd edition of the competition.
Admittedly Bassett will have to share the distinction with Ascot United and Thrapston Town, who also triumphed on a balmy summer's evening. However – for a small club – most would forgive the Rylands Way outfit for boasting about such an accolade in future years.
There could be no challenges to the claim that their all-Wiltshire tie was a barnstormer, however. All 248 souls undoubtedly went home happy in the knowledge that they got their money's worth and more.
Drama, controversy, outstanding play. The game had it all as the home side came back from a goal down, benefited from Calne missing a penalty and powered to glory with a strong second half showing.
The game's tone was set from the off. Although signs of nervousness could be detected from both sides, chances were immediately created at both ends of the pitch. Seven minutes in Calne's Dan Lardner beat an onrushing ‘keeper James Domm to the ball but could only place his looping header wide of the post. Seconds later, now at the opposite end of the pitch, an unmarked Steve Yeardley snatched an effort with his weaker left foot onto the post following Shaun Terry's perfectly floated cross.
With both teams coming agonisingly close in the early stages, goals always appeared as though they would be forthcoming. And Calne eventually gained the ascendancy in the 19th minute, albeit in contentious circumstances. Rory Sproule capitalised on Bassett's inability to head clear a troublesome cross, rifling a 15 yard thunderbolt onto the crossbar. The ball darted downwards, falling behind the goalline according to the assistant referee, before shooting back up onto the bar. Domm protested animatedly that the whole ball failed to cross the line – in fairness it was the only thing he could do to have any chance of keeping out such a powerful strike. It was to no avail though and his team found themselves behind.
Yet, the visitors' lead lasted all of two minutes, Bassett hitting back in an instant. Finding the back of the net was the veteran Shaun Terry, who clearly demonstrated that while that yard of pace may desert you in your advancing years, those predatory instincts are permanent. Wide man Matt Bown, taking a pass from Craig Bowden, cut in from the left and arrowed a low drive towards the far post. There, having slipped his man and avoided the offside trap, Terry stuck out his leg, diverting the ball past a wrong-footed Jamie Bartlett into the opposite corner. Vintage stuff from the self-anointed ‘fox in the box'.
Obviously disappointed to lose their lead, Calne stepped their game up for the remainder of the half, their midfield helping control proceedings as Bassett's front pair of Terry and Barnes became somewhat isolated.
With attention focused primarily on the Bassett half of the pitch, it appeared as though the Lilywhites would snatch a half time advantage, Sproule forcing an uncomfortable save from Domm on 22 minutes.
On the half hour mark they were offered the perfect chance to seize control of the tie when they were awarded a penalty in seemingly farcical circumstances. Only at half time did the full story emerge to the crowd as it was revealed that Shaun Carter had been punished for needlessly kicking out at an opponent off the ball after the danger had been averted from a corner. The enigmatic Sproule stepped confidently up to the spot, but somehow ballooned his effort into the trees behind Domm's goal; the forward's effort was nowhere close to the target.
Calne continued to apply the pressure though, Lardner striking inches wide with a first time shot before an outstretched Domm was forced to glove Sproule's glancing header behind.
It would be no exaggeration to say that half time came as something of a relief for Bassett. Manager Dave Turner did not rest on his laurels, however, gambling early by replacing Carter – on a yellow card – with youngster Aaron Dainton, who slotted in at full-back, allowing Adam Corcoran to shift inside where he is more comfortable. Despite some early nervy moments, the change seemed to pay off with the pressure on the Bassett goal easing.
With Calne now no longer in control of proceedings, the home side were able to break forward and delivered a warning shot on the hour when Terry's clever through ball set Bown free. The midfielder was prevented from scoring when Bartlett saved at his feet before Barnes saw his follow up shot hooked away from danger thanks to some last ditch defending. Nevertheless a signal had been sent to Calne to tighten up at the back.
Yet they failed to take notice. Sixty three minutes in Barnes broke free only to be wrestled down on the edge of the box. Outnumbering their opposition, the clever-thinking Yeardley pulled a masterstroke, squaring a quick free kick to Barners, who cut inside his out of position marker and slotted home at the near post.
Another moment of brilliance from Domm then preserved the lead. Lee Stevens whipped in a cross from the deep, an unmarked Sproule headed powerfully towards goal from six yards, but the ‘keeper stooped low, holding onto to make a fine point blank save. The Calne forward had become the tormented tormentor – a thorn in Bassett's side yet, after his penalty miss, condemned not to add a second.
As he rued a golden opportunity gone begging, Bassett provided the game's turning point when an innocuous looking Barnes cross was allowed to drift into the bottom right corner, aided by a helping hand from a crossed-up Bartlett.
Calne went for broke by making a triple substitution. But Bassett's defensive wall limited their chances until the dying stages. They almost halved the deficit with five minutes remaining, but Domm again stooped low to prevent a close range header, this time from Greg Tindle. Alex Rigley finally clawed one back, driving a low twenty-yarder into the bottom corner during injury time.
Seconds later all hopes of forcing a replay were dead though when Yeardley took an inside pass from Bown, danced past two defenders and tucked the ball away.
History, albeit just a small piece, had been written. The 132nd edition of the FA Cup had begun in style.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Steve Yeardley – battled away in midfield, helping contain the visitors in an area of the field they looked to control. In attack, his speed of thought set up Mark Barnes for his first, while his goal was deserved and superbly taken.
Scoop Rating: 8/10 – a typical Dave Turner display as Bassett grinded away before delivering a sucker-punch to Calne. All thirteen players who featured delivered when required, with the two young substitutes – Aaron Dainton and Lewis Petrie – deserving much praise for not letting the occasion of their debuts get to them. The former was outstanding at right back, while the latter's persistence helped set-up Bassett's fourth, his pressure forcing a wayward clearance that Matt Bown intercepted.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
M Barnes (2), S Terry, S Yeardley