M Barnes (2)
Rylands Way, 14th August 2012
Visitors Lambourn Sports made it completely clear to Wootton Bassett Town that the competition in Division One West will be much greater than it was last year. The Berkshire outfit, eighth in the East division last season, made life extremely tough for Dave Turner's team, and twice took the lead only for Mark Barnes to save Bassett with a fine brace.
After Friday night's FA Cup heroics, Dave Turner's team put in a less than stellar performance. However the reasons for their nervous, inconsistent display had more to do with their opponent's persistent pressing, which forced numerous misplaced passes, and their determination going forward.
It says something though that for all their positive play, both the visitor's goals came direct from finely taken free kicks. The first came somewhat against the run of play on the quarter hour mark.
Neither team really dominated the opening exchanges, but a large part of play early on took place in the half of the field Lambourn were defending. Nevertheless the home side could not fathom a shot on goal.
And they were made to pay for their failure to do so. Miscommunication between Matt Bown and Craig Bowden meant Matthew Pedder was able to pounce on the former's attempted chest back to the defender. Advancing towards the Bassett box, he was tripped by a trailing Bowden on the edge of the area. Adam Drake stepped up to take the free kick and confidently curled an exquisite left-footed effort past a helpless James Domm and into the top corner.
Still unable to break through the Lambourn rearguard despite the efforts of wingers Bown and Matt Bennett, Bassett were pegged back and twice came close to falling further behind but both Pedder and Andrew Tingle failed to find the target with powerful drives.
The home side finally came close shortly after the half hour mark when a sweeping move initiated by the dangerous Bennett on the right created space for Bown to do some damage on the opposite wing. Bassett's top scorer last season did his usual, cutting inside before opening fire. Yet his strike wound up inches wide of the right post.
The scorers were eventually level three minutes before half time. A poorly struck Bown corner was only half cleared, the loose ball falling to Barnes, who was lurking on the edge of the area. After taking a touch, he picked his spot perfectly, driving the ball into the back of the net.
Instead of settling nerves, the equaliser resulted in a troubling final few minutes of the half. Pedder climbed above Bowden at the right post, sending a looping header towards goal that Domm held on the dive before Adam Corcoran failed to clear a routine cross, teeing up Tingle who crashed a half volley that the Bassett â€˜keeper did well to parry.
The two teams traded chances after the restart, the best falling to Russell Benham, who forced another save from Domm after his dummy freed him of his marker, enabling him to latch onto Pedder's weighted through ball.
Lambourn were dealt a blow when the dangerous Pedder was forced off with a broken arm. But they went ahead again with twenty minutes remaining. Tingle had waltzed his way through a crowded midfield before being upended on the edge of the box. Benham this time took responsibility and whipped the free kick across the wall and into the bottom left corner.
Bassett's reply wasn't instant, but a sigh of relief was breathed when it arrived. It was a well worked goal too. Moving inside from the right, Bennett received a pass and immediately shifted the ball to Steve Yeardley who had drifted into the space out wide. Substitute Jack Ellis' overlapping run then froze the Lambourn full back, allowing the Bassett skipper to cut inside and square to Barnes, who neatly flicked the ball home.
A valuable point was secured, while a valuable lesson was learned – there is added quality in Division One West.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Mark Barnes – continued his good early season form in front of goal with two well taken finishes.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 – Lambourn didn't make things easy for Bassett, but the home side's display was a below-par one. The performance was enough to salvage a point but failed to match the team's cup heroics.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
M Barnes (2)