Hill Farm Lane, 11th November 2013
After a painstaking fortnight which has seen Wootton Bassett Town suffer four consecutive defeats by the narrowest of margins, Jeff Roberts' side will be well versed in the mantra that it takes just one moment for a game to be changed.
The latest in that string of losses came at a Binfield side, who entered the game in a rut of their own. Tipped by many to be title contenders, they instead found themselves just two places above their visitors in the bottom half. How glad they were then that they were able to sneak a 1-0 victory.
Although they looked dangerous coming forward, with winger Dan Ralpey in particular a menace, a sterling performance from Bassett's defence made it appear as though a clean sheet was in the offing for Bassett.
That was until the visitors gifted their hosts a goal with seventeen minutes remaining. Against Reading Town and Ardley United, it was Bassett's inability to defend free kicks which ultimately dashed their hopes of a point. Against Binfield the decisive goal again stemmed from a set piece, though this time it came from a corner at the opposite end of the pitch.
Seeing their set piece cleared comfortably, those who had come forward to try stick it in the back of the Binfield net were slow to react, creating a sense of panic in those who had stayed behind.
It should really have been the job of Ryan Stanners, designated to sit on the edge of the box, to close the loose ball down. But he had switched off, allowing Binfield to break. And a ball over the top caught out Sam Ockwell, who slipped. Jemel Johnson then raced on unopposed, coolly slotting beneath Steve Allison.
It was an opportunity Johnson could not pass up on an evening when he and strike partner James Suarez were otherwise stifled.
Despite an early scare in the first minute when an unmarked Johnson swept straight into the arms of Allison, there was little that bothered the Bassett stopper, with centre halves Lee Stevens and Shaun Carter in fine form.
Bassett too struggled to create as Sam Collier, alone up front, was left isolated. Instead, the visitors were forced to settle for a number of half chances, the first of which fell to Sam Packer on six minutes as he sent a skidding 20-yard effort wide of the near post after being allowed to run at full back Ben Sturgess.
Shortly before half time Danny Wing's intricate footwork allowed the winger to work his way from the left wing into the box, before he squared for Johnson only to see Craig Bowden's sliding challenge prevent any hope of a shot.
Following the restart the pattern of the first half continued. Both sides would play some neat football in the midfield before seeing moves smothered thanks to sharp defending.
For Bassett, Packer's deflected long range shot was collected easily by Shaun Coker before Jordan Roberts headed wide a Sam Ockwell free kick.
The only save of note came from Allison on 67 minutes as he fisted a rising Adam Cornell thunderbolt around the post.
He could do little though to prevent Johnson as he raced clear.
As Bassett chased the game they were disadvantaged when creative force Roberts was scythed down by Rapley and forced to leave the field on a stretcher. That tackle, coming minutes after Adam Corcoran was felled by a late, cynical Carl Davies foul, had been coming in a contest that threatened at times to brew over as niggly fouls, bickering and an eagerness to confront opponents from both sides put a downer on an otherwise interesting affair.
And with a fourth loss in a row, that sense of disappointment will be greater for Bassett. They played well. It's just they made one critical mistake and were made to suffer, again.
Man of the Match: Shaun Carter – demonstrated why his manager was right to bring him back into the team with a commanding performance at centre half.
Rating: 6/10 – Bassett were a match for their opponents, keeping their lively strike force at bay while playing some flowing football going forward. Their performance was worthy of a point, but one error made sure that did not occur.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38