Rylands Way, 10th November 2012
Two moments of quality and the race at the top of Hellenic League Division One West finally became clearer. Unfortunately for Wootton Bassett Town, they were on the receiving end, their 2-0 loss against Brimscombe and Thrupp allowing the Gloucestershire side to stake out a three point lead.
The game hinged on an eight minute period midway through the first half. Bassett could arguably claim to have had the better of the opening exchanges, but it was the visitors who capitalised on their chances and altered the game's complexion.
They took the lead in some style too. Adam Snook's lofted pass was inch perfect, much to the frustration of Shaun Carter, who failed narrowly to get a head on the ball. The Bassett defender was still in a reasonable position to snuff out the danger. But Mike Beckingham ensured that would not happen thanks to a genius first touch. With the outside of the boot, the centre forward flicked the ball over Carter, and then kept his composure, steering past James Domm.
Brimscombe's ruthless efficiency was demonstrated further by the game's next two opportunities. Shortly after conceding, Bassett found themselves deep in opposition territory. From the right wing, Tom Dingle crossed in for Mark Barnes, who had peeled away from his marker at the far post. However, Bassett's leading marksmen snatched at his header from ten yards and failed to trouble â€˜keeper Adam Thomas.
At the other end, Brimscombe hotshot Lee Pritchard made certain that he would not put a fine chance to waste. Bassett were caught out by a quick free kick routine that saw Snook whip a testing cross into the box, which Liam Edmundson could only partially clear. Pritchard took control on the left edge of the box. Being so right-footed it was obvious he would look to cut inside. The home defence allowed him to do so, and after sniffing out an opening, Pritchard fired the leather into the top corner.
It was a case of two shots, two goals. Brimscombe's afternoon was going swimmingly.
For Bassett, on the other hand, it had been a trying day. It began well, but could have been better as Richie Saunders – in his first game since transferring from Highworth Town – saw a snatched effort hacked off the line. The visitors were maintaining possession better early on, but Bassett seemed to be creating the better chances as Matt Bown saw a powerful shot tipped over by Thomas.
Then came Beckingham's hammer blow. From that moment, Brimscombe were the more incisive, winning the majority of second balls and thus were the more threatening of the two teams and it wasn't long before Pritchard made it two. When half time came, it was some relief for Bassett.
Two goals behind, something had to be changed to alter the course of the match. Matt Bennett therefore was brought on for Dingle, with Ethan Delaney switching from centre forward to right wing to allow Bennett to play alongside Barnes.
Before the substitute could get into the game, Brimscombe came close to guaranteeing the three points. Snook headed a Ben Prictor corner over despite being unmarked at the far post.
Bassett almost halved the deficit just before the hour when pressure from Barnes forced a skewed clearance from James Tubb. Looking to put out for a throw in, Tubb instead sliced the ball over the head of â€˜keeper Thomas, who could only look on in trepidation as an own goal from his teammate appeared likely. Fortunately for the visitors an awkward bounce just inside the six yard box was enough to divert the ball over.
Desperate for his team to find the back of the net, Dave Turner sacrificed a defender midway through the period as Aaron Dainton replaced Craig Bowden. However, throwing extra men forward almost cost the hosts as Craig Cole's lob landed just outside the left post after the ball had been given away in midfield and quickly chucked into the space behind the Bassett defence.
In the closing stages Delaney saw a cross-cum-shot tipped onto the bar, while Saunders headed wide from close range following an Edmundson cross. To cap a frustrating day, not even a consolation goal could be found.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Richie Saunders – showed glimpses of what he will add to the Bassett midfield. Saunders chipped in to do the dirty work when Brimscombe were applying pressure and provided a threatening outlet going forward.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 – Brimscombe's victory was a deserved one as they made their chances pay. Bassett dug deep to get back into the match, but were short on ideas when it came to breaking down a stubborn visiting defence and lost too many second balls.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38