Corinium Stadium, 25th August 2014
A single lapse in concentration by Wootton Bassett Town determined the outcome of their latest tussle with Highworth Town, as Highworth prevailed 1-0 thanks to Callum Parsons' 51st minute goal.
It meant Worthians boss John Fisher got what he had expected from the match, but by no means did his team have it easy. Again, Paul Braithwaite's team made one of the Hellenic League Premier Division's fancied sides work to salvage something from the game, but unlike on Saturday, Bassett came up just shy of earning a point.
For the game's first half hour Bassett had to mount a strong rearguard action as Highworth, licking their wounds after losing for the first time on Saturday, applied serious early pressure. That they failed to break the deadlock though was credit to the home team and, in particular to Ben Mitchell.
After just seven minutes the â€˜keeper was forced to dive low to his left in order to fist away Nathan Blackford's drilled shot. Minutes later Mitchell was again called into action, this time to tip TJ Bohane's awkward free kick around the post.
He then made a third fantastic save in the opening quarter of an hour, somehow managing to divert a shot Matty Horsell attempted to place under the â€˜keeper while one-on-one over the crossbar.
A more routine save came in the 20th minute, but Mitchell still had to be at full alert. Peeling off to the far post, Bohane re-directed a Parson free kick into the heart of the penalty area which Jonny Aitkenhead met with a diving header from eight yards out which Mitchell was equal to and held.
The relentless pressure continued and Mitchell was eventually beaten when Aaron Maximen guided a header from a tight angle towards the opposite corner, but Dan Bailey was there at the right post to hook off the line.
Having survived that onslaught and finally established a foothold in the game, Bassett created the best two openings of the remainder of the period. On the half hour mark, Dan Bailey smashed a piledriver of a free kick from twenty yards towards goal. A deflection on the way left Gary Stevens rooted to the spot, and the Highworth â€˜keeper was fortunate to watch the ball fly inches above the crossbar.
Next to trouble the visitors was Richie Carter, who sent a towering header goalwards from a Bailey corner. His effort caught an unaware Liam Williams flush on the face though, with the Highworth defender deflecting the ball just wide to ensure the game went into the break goalless.
Such a situation certainly suited Bassett, but - as has been their wont so far this season -Braithwaite's team would concede shortly after the restart.
As the Bassett defence sought to reorganise itself after the introduction of George Drewitt in place of Nathan Hawkins, Bohane raced onto to a through ball in the left corner. That left the home back line chasing to make up lost ground, and Bohane slid a pass across goal to an unmarked Blackford at the far post. His shot was blocked, but the ball fell straight to Parsons, who tucked away at the second attempt from close range.
A second almost followed instantly as an Aitkenhead daisy-cutter flew past the post after Bohane worked the ball out to the Highworth right wing back.
One goal would be all Highworth needed though.
Bassett did have chances to snatch an equaliser, but they could not repeat the late heroics at Flackwell Heath. Just after the hour a flowing down the left allowed Lewis Chatwin to steer a cross to the far post, where Bailey had moved inside his marker, but he could only get a light touch on the ball which Stevens collected.
While Bohane was foiled once more by Mitchell late on, the main action as the derby reached its denouement came around the Highworth goal.
Twice in the dying stages Chatwin flew past Williams before delivering dangerous crosses from the right corner. Both times Steve Yeardley was there to meet them. Rising highest in a crowded area, he failed to connect properly with the first allowing Stevens to collect comfortably. The glancing blow the Bassett captain supplied to the second had Stevens beaten, yet sailed inches wide of the left post as the crowd held its breath.
Man of the Match: Ben Mitchell – another solid performance from Mitchell, with the series of excellent saves he produced in the first half to prevent Highworth converting their early barrage of chances into goals particularly standing out.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38