M Barnes (3), S Terry (2), M Bennett
Rylands Way, 5th January 2013
The year may have changed, but Wootton Bassett Town keep on rolling.
Not only was their 6-1 thrashing of Carterton their most comprehensive league win of the season, it was also their most impressive as a ferocious attacking display carved open their Oxfordshire visitors, who came into the game unbeaten in five. And had it not been for the heroics of young ‘keeper Mike Hedges the margin of victory for Dave Turner's side would have been far, far greater.
The dynamic of the afternoon was established early as the home side quickly established their supremacy. Yet for all their early territorial dominance, Bassett were frustrated by Hedges, who demonstrated his quality as early as the third minute when he dove low and a long way to his left to parry behind a Steve Yeardley half volley.
He would eventually be beaten just before the quarter hour mark, however. Finding space in the right channel, Yeardley sauntered forward. And, once the attention of a defender was drawn, he slipped in Mark Barnes with a precise reverse pass, the prolific frontman doing the rest as he picked out the bottom left corner.
Carterton's goal continued to come under relentless bombardment but there was some frustration for Bassett as they failed initially to extend their lead. A corner that wasn't cleared presented Shaun Terry with a fantastic opportunity, but his close range drive was deflected wide, before the same forward was first denied with a brilliant parry at his feet before firing across the face of goal from a tight angle with the rebound.
Worryingly the visitors were by now starting to get a foothold in the game and a couple of half chances threatened to render Bassett's fierce start worthless. They came closest to levelling when miscommunication between James Domm and Craig Bowden allowed Chris Mills to sneak onto the end of a recycled free kick, but the Bassett stopped was able to recover and smother at the defender's feet.
But nerves were eventually settled when Matt Bennett grabbed the second. Poor control from Barnes following a Bennett through pass appeared to have killed off hopes of a chance, but the first goalscorer chased down the loose ball and cut back for his teammate, who steered home.
Six minutes before half time Terry then made it three with a sumptuously arrogant finish. Moments earlier he had skewed a free header miserably wide. But when Adam Corcoran picked him out with another perfectly weighted cross, the veteran twisted his torso, allowing the ball to strike his chest at the perfect angle and float into the far corner.
Despite the lack of time left in the period, both Barnes and Terry then spurned chances to make it a handful at the break, the former finding the side netting and the latter rushing a lob that Hedges collected easily.
Still, there could be few complaints about how the opening period had played out. Barnes and Terry were fashioning countless chances, the directness of wide men Bennett and Matt Bown were causing Carterton's full backs to chase shadows, while Yeardley and Rich Saunders directed the flow of the game from their central midfield positions.
And little changed following the restart.
Hedges kept his side's faints hopes of taking anything from the game alive with three fine saves to deny Barnes, Bennett and Terry. The second in particular was sublime. Bennett stole possession and tore towards goal, but, quick off his line, Hedges made himself big and confidently dove at the winger's feet to gather the ball. Then, the last of that trio saw him fly to his right to deny Terry a tap in.
However, he was the victim of a piece of misfortune moments after the deficit had been cut to two courtesy of Pawel Bronk's towering header, as a teasing Terry free kick struck the base of the left post and bounced in off the keeper's back.
With his teammates' now shorn of any confidence, there was little Hedges could do to prevent Barnes from finishing off his hat-trick. Racing onto Tom Dingle's lofted pass, Barnes ruthlessly thrashed home from eighteen yards. A more intricate move was then finished off with a tap in from Bennett's square pass.
There was almost time for his fourth and Bassett's seventh, but a fingertip save diverted Barnes' drive from the edge of the box around the post.
Six goals was more than enough though, and certainly an emphatic reflection of how one-sided this game was.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Matt Bennett – only came into the game after twenty minutes following an injury to James Turner, but Carterton didn't know what had hit them after his introduction. Bennett's raw pace and trickery helped create the countless openings that presented themselves to himself and his teammates, while he would have scored more than once and assisted a couple other goals had it not been for visiting ‘keeper Mike Hedges.
Scoop Rating: 9/10 – an attacking masterclass as Carterton, one of Division One West's form sides, were sliced apart. Bassett were rarely threatened, which is why it was slightly disappointing to not finish with a clean sheet, but the goal conceded was a mere footnote compared to the ruthlessness showcased at the opposite end of the pitch.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
M Barnes (3), S Terry (2), M Bennett