Summerleaze, 8th March 2014
A difficult, heavy pitch made for little action in front of goal as Wootton Bassett Town and Holyport ground out a 0-0 draw in the Berkshire spring sunshine.
For Bassett, it was a slightly disappointing result considering the 6-2 thrashing they dished out to their hosts back in December.
However, Jeff Roberts' team can be comforted by the fact they came away from the game with a point, which was enough to take them up into twelfth, ahead of fellow promoted side Brimscombe and Thrupp.
Playing on a surface seeing its first action since flood waters receded meant playing their usual style of passing football proved difficult. Passes frequently went astray after finding bobbles, and any attempts to take opponents on often ended when the man in possession overran the ball.
While the slightly better team, Bassett only really came close to scoring twice – in the first minute of the match and then with six minutes to go. With less than sixty seconds gone, a snatched Shaun Terry effort could have made the difference. However, under pressure, he hit wide from twelve yards after neat combination play between Adam Corcoran and Ryan Stanners down the right allowed the latter to send a low cross into the box.
As time wound down, Dan Lardner came within inches of providing the decisive goal. A Jordan Roberts corner created a scramble in the box, and as Stanners recycled play he picked out Lardner six yards out from goal. The midfielder provided a flick from cross range but was denied by the sprawling legs of Holyport â€˜keeper Alex Gogic.
Otherwise it was slim pickings for both teams.
In the 21st minute Steve Allison made a fine save, tipping Kris Drake's awkward 25-yard curler over after having to jump off his back foot.
At the other end, Levi Cox twice had decent chances presented to him. He struck a powerful driver from the edge of the area wide after a neat Shaun Terry set back, before the ball bobbled away from his feet inside the box following Stanners' low cross.
The final opening of the half fell to the hosts when a Lardner pass intended for Sam Ockwell was seized upon by Drake. His reverse pass set Ryan Tye free, but the forward could only weakly fire straight at Allison from a tight angle.
Following the restart it took until the 68th minute for anything resembling a half chance to be created. Ockwell's free kick from deep caught the Holyport defence out, allowing Stanners to pounce on the loose ball. A low snap shot from the forward brought Gogic into action, and the â€˜keeper was forced to save alertly at his near post.
Then with quarter of an hour to go the ball was patiently worked to the unmarked Tyler Sheppard in the left corner of the box, though he failed to connect cleanly with his effort.
This allowed the home side to break and slips from Shaun Carter and Ockwell left Tony Hadley with just Allison to beat. The acute angle was not in his favour however, and the Holyport man fired across the face of goal.
Lardner soon had the opportunity to have the final, decisive say, but Gogic's fine save ensured the game finished with neither side having found the back of the net.
Man of the Match: Sam Ockwell – a commanding display at centre half deputising for the suspended Lee Stevens. Helped keep in check any threat Holyport's frontmen posed, while his distribution was as good as ever.
Rating: 6/10 – Bassett can just about say they were the better team, though difficult playing conditions frustrated them in their quest to grab the crucial goal. Playing with a more pragmatic style could possibly have helped them achieve this. Yet another point on the board and a place moved up in the table is a decent consolation prize.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38