J Roberts, L Stevens
Corinium Stadium, 26th August 2013
Brimscombe and Thrupp may have got the better of Wootton Bassett Town in Hellenic League Division One West last season. But it was Bassett who claimed victory in their first Premier Division meeting, Jeff Roberts' side winning 2-1 in an enthralling Bank Holiday encounter.
A poacher's finish early on from makeshift centre forward Lee Stevens and a fine Jordan Roberts strike following an unbelievable run ensured Ben Jones' stunning strike would not merit the visitors a share of the spoils.
More importantly those goals guaranteed a first victory of the season for Bassett. Following Saturday's impressive draw at Flackwell Heath, it completed a fine weekend that has seen them take a better than expected four point haul against a strong pair of opponents.
In an evenly matched contest there was action from the start with Brimscombe coming close twice within the game's opening 120 seconds. A stinging long range, first time drive from Gary Probert forced Steve Allison to awkwardly tipped over in the opening seconds. From the resulting corner, Adam Price's low delivery was helped on to Ashley Caldwell at the far post, but he fired over from close range.
After a somewhat sluggish start, Stevens' opener in the tenth minute came against the run of play. Adam Corcoran teased in a cross from just inside the Brimscombe half, and Stevens nipped in ahead of ‘keeper Duane Portlock at the near post before bundling the ball in.
Gaining confidence from going ahead, the next three chances all fell to the hosts. A point blank save from Portlock made sure the lead was not doubled midway through the period as he batted away Sam Ockwell's close range header from a Kyle Rigley cross. From the corner, Steve Yeardley set the ball back for Aaron Stevens and the midfielder, stretching back to strike the ball, blasted narrowly over from twelve yards.
Defensive hesitation then allowed Alex Rigley to slip in behind the visitors' backline and get on the end of Allison's long kick forward. However, he failed to connect properly when trying to lift the ball over an onrushing Portlock.
Allison was soon to be tested at the other end and was forced to demonstrate his quality ten minutes from half time. Price expertly brought down a David Woodfield right wing cross and curled a low shot towards the bottom right corner, but Allison was able to glove away.
Following the restart Brimscombe again came close to finding the net with less than a minute of a half played as Woodfield left Craig Bowden trailing in his wake and cut the ball back for Price, whose shot from six yards was deflected over by Yeardley.
Soon after Bowden showed he too could turn on the jets as he raced into the box and was barged from behind. Yet much to the crowd's surprise no penalty was forthcoming.
Reeling from that injustice, Bassett were dealt a further blow in the 54th minute when Brimscombe equalised. And the visiting team's goal came in sublime style. Receiving possession on the left near the halfway line, Price played a pass into the feet of Ben Jones, who, having drawn out his marker, returned the ball to his teammate. Price then opened up space for himself and arrowed an unstoppable 25-yard shot into the opposite bottom right corner.
Despite being back on level terms, the home side were unnerved and a piece of magic from Jordan Roberts had them ahead as the hour approached.
The midfielder collected the ball ten metre inside his own half and turned inside into what appeared to be a roadblock of opponents. However, after somehow maintaining his balance, he weaved his way past three would be tacklers and strode purposefully forward. To stretch the Brimscombe defence even further, he picked out Alex Rigley on the left wing. The lively frontman then held play up before squaring again to Roberts and, now in the box, he swept home beyond Portlock.
Plenty of time for the game to change remained though. With twenty minutes left burly forward Karl Nash sent a free header wide before Lee Stevens headed straight at Portlock from a Rigley cross. Another penalty shout for Bassett was also turned down as Rigley appeared to be felled just inside the box.
As the clock continued to wind, manager Roberts sacrificed a forward to bolster the tiring midfield, a move which afforded Brimscombe the opportunity to push their hosts deeper.
Corner after corner was forced, but a resilient Bassett hung on. The most worrying moment came in the 89th minute when Caldwell set the ball back for Nash, who drilled a low effort from 35 yards an inch or two wide of the post.
Nails chewed to their root, the blast of the final whistle was met with relief and raucous cheers. A second resolute performance on the bounce had brought victory.
Bassett's Hellenic Premier journey is now well and truly under way.
Man of the Match: Jordan Roberts – the youngster produced a display of immense quality in the heart of the Bassett midfield as he tackled well, dictated play and – best of all – scored a memorable goal.
Rating: 7/10 – another solid performance from Bassett, with defence and attack performing equally well. Weary legs in the game's closing stages again saw their opponents allowed to come to the fore, but Bassett were worthy of their victory.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
J Roberts, L Stevens