Corinium Stadium, 5th October 2013
While Wootton Bassett Town may only have lost by a solitary goal to high-flying Oxford City Nomads, the final score failed to reflect how comfortable a victory it was for the visitors.
Bassett were simply lethargic.
Defensively, after three games in which they conceded 16 goals, they were solid, limiting the Nomads to just a handful of chances. Yet the back four was let down by the timid performance of those in more advanced positions.
Upon turning over possession the midfield frequently ambled back, reluctant to do the dirty work and get behind the ball in order to win it back.
And it was this lack of pressing that allowed Oxford City to score the only goal of the game five minutes before the break. Attempting a short corner, the return pass to Zac McEachran was a wayward one. Yet McEachran had so much time to recover possession, stick his head up and tease in a cross, which Ben Moses got on the end of, flicking a header in off the post from ten yards out.
When Bassett did have the ball, there was a lack of movement resulting in a severe lack of passing options. This therefore led to some neat passes across the defence but few probing balls in advanced positions.
Unsurprisingly visiting â€˜keeper Juan Martin Leiva was not forced to make any save of note. He comfortably collected a weak effort from Shaun Terry following a darting run inside and cut back from Sam Packer ten minutes before the break. Then on 72 minutes substitute Ryan Stanners, who added some much needed drive after his introduction, snatched at a shot from the edge of the box that Leiva easily got down to at his near post.
Apart from those two chances, all Bassett could muster offensively was a hopeful cry for a penalty on the stroke of half time when a Packer corner appeared to handled and a last minute Levi Cox drive, which came only after a hopeful long ball forward was not properly cleared. The forward, however, fired wide.
Overall Bassett were somewhat fortunate that the visitors were themselves under the weather. McEachran, who effectively made use of the space between the home defence and midfield, and left winger Mark Janes were dangerous, yet on only a handful of occasions did the league's third place team threaten.
The latter made the first real opportunity of the afternoon thirty minutes in, weaving past Adam Corcoran before crossing for Moses, who, with his back to goal, hooked wide of the right post.
Ten minutes later McEachran, granted too much time, delivered the telling cross for Moses, who got to the ball just before Shaun Carter and determined the game's outcome.
After the restart a miskick from Sam Ockwell deep inside his own half allowed McEachran to thread a through ball for Janes in behind the defence, but his weak effort from an angle did not test Steve Allison.
A looping Janes cross then found an unmarked Jamie Mundy and he drilled a dangerous low pass into the six yard box that Corcoran had to rush to and turned over.
Just before the hour Mundy stung Allison's palms after a square pass from Jack Self.
From there on out Nomads' presence wasn't felt. As had been the case for the entire afternoon, nor was Bassett's.
Man of the Match: Craig Bowden – didn't put a foot wrong at full back, helping to limit the division's top scorers to few chances and just the one goal.
Rating: 5/10 – despite the Nomads' lofty league position, they appeared subdued. Yet Bassett – flat and toothless – failed to exploit this. Most disappointing was the lack of effort from certain quarters.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38