L Cox (2), L Stevens
Corinium Stadium, 15th March 2014
It's been thirteen years since Wootton Bassett Town last tasted cup success. With a 3-1 Supplementary Cup third round victory over a battling Penn and Tylers Green they moved a step closer towards arresting that barren run, and now find themselves in the quarter finals of that competition.
A first half Levi Cox double set Jeff Roberts' team on their way and while they flirted with danger early after the restart, an emphatic Lee Stevens strike finally settled the game on 69 minutes. A late Aaron Morton consolation disappointingly then prevented Bassett from finishing the day with a clean sheet, but was arguably deserved by the visitors.
Starting quickly, Bassett came close through Sam Ockwell in the third minute as he flicked narrowly wide from Cox's near post cross.
Within two minutes though the hosts were ahead as Cox buried a penalty he won. The award appeared somewhat harsh on Penn and Tylers defender Dean Munday, who appeared to get some of the ball. But there was to be no denying the Bassett winger who sent ‘keeper Matt Cannings the wrong way.
The early pressure soon petered out and allowed the visitors to establish a foothold in the game. After James Pritchard found the side netting from a tight angle, a Steve Allison spill from Jordan Gumbs' low 20 yard shot almost allowed Chris Hurst to equalise. However, Allison sprung to his feet and produced a fine parry at point blank range to preserve the advantage.
After surviving that scare, two counter attacks led to chances for Stevens at the other end, but he could only steer Ryan Stanners' square pass wide of the post before forcing a comfortable save from Cannings when he may have been better served slipping through his strike partner or Tyler Sheppard.
Cox had no problems in front of goal, however, and made it 2-0 on the stroke of half time. Steve Yeardley's long throw was flicked on at the near post by Stevens, and Cox was alert to race in front of his marker and found the bottom corner with a first time effort from ten yards.
Bassett were reminded that their lead was far from a comfortable one in the second period's opening stages. Adrian Smith should have done better from the visitor when Allison was slow off his line to deal with a ball over the top, but was only able to poke inches wide of the post. Hurst's half volley from a Josh Fox corner was then blocked on the line.
Having rode their luck once more, it should have been game, set and match shortly before the hour. After a Penn and Tylers attack broke down, Ockwell sent Stanners in behind the visitors' defence with a superb lofted ball. With Cannings racing off his line, Stanners unselfishly stabbed across to an unmarked Stevens, who had an open goal at his mercy. Yet somehow he struck wide, skewing his left foot shot from twelve yards.
As bad as that miss was, the way he took the chance to finally kill the game off as a contest ten minutes later was excellent and provided a fitting finish to a flowing move. Jordan Roberts switched play to left back Jonny Aitkenhead, who in turn fed Stevens on the edge of the box. With his back to goal, one touch allowed him to turn away from his marker before he slammed an unstoppable low drive beyond Canning's reach.
Job done and a quarter final spot secured, Bassett took their foot off the gas for the remaining twenty minutes. And it was of some annoyance that Morton pounced when Bassett failed to clear Pritchard's teasing free kick to deny a clean sheet.
Nevertheless, they could have grabbed a fourth with Stanners seeing a half volley expertly turned away and Cox firing straight at Cannings when in a fine position to complete his hat-trick.
Man of the Match: Levi Cox – played a key role in ensuring Bassett went into the break two goals to the good, while he linked up well with his teammates going forward all game.
Rating: 7/10 – a good enough display to see off spirited opponents. More will be expected in the latter stages of the competition, but the chance of silverware should be motivation enough to inspire that.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
L Cox (2), L Stevens