Nathan Gambling (2), Dan Bailey
Oak Farm, 6th September 2014
Having arguably their finest day yet in the FA Vase, Wootton Bassett Town recorded a spectacular 3-2 victory against Combined Counties League Premier Division high-flyers Cove. Three finely taken goals were enough for Bassett as graft in all areas of the pitch saw off an aerial bombardment from the Hampshire outfit.
The Vase has been a competition in which Bassett have struggled mightily. But this was a performance to saviour against an extremely dangerous side who have made an unbeaten start to their league campaign.
Though not necessarily easy on the eye, Cove's direct football made the most of their strengths. They constantly looked to get wide men Adam Everiss and Adam Kingsbeer into the game, their tricky play pinning Bassett deep. Yet they failed to make their huge aerial advantage count; Bassett must have conceded at least two dozen corners, however they were able to ensure they conceded from none.
And by taking the opportunities that fell to them – in some style – an excellent victory was earned by Paul Braithwaite's team.
Shortly after Aaron Parfitt blazed over from a great position for Cove, Dan Bailey crafted a goal out of nothing to get Bassett started just seven minutes in. Gaining control of the ball thirty yards out with his back to goal, he twisted left and right, eschewing any options to pass, in search of a chance to shoot. And when he turned for a second time onto his left foot, Bailey delivered a shot that was as perfect they come, curling sensationally into the top left corner.
Bassett soon found themselves camped around their own penalty area though as the home team began to force corner after corner and hurled whatever throws in they won in the final third into the visitors' box. With no goal forthcoming from such set pieces, despite the imposing centre half duo of Dan Akinwande and Tim Eagles continually being sent forward, it was left for them to cause problems with long raking balls over the top.
They eventually succeeded with that tactic on 20 minutes as Jake Baxter sprung the offside trap with a well-timed run, latched onto Everiss' diagonal ball from the left wing and buried emphatically beneath Mitchell.
The equaliser initiated a period of breakneck end-to-end play. Cove continued to pose a threat from set plays and balls forward that quickly shifted the direction of play. Bassett, on the other hand, looked dangerous on the break, especially given the frailties at the heart of the home defence.
Dan Akinwande was in particularly a source of fortune for Braithwaite's team. On 25 minues, Bailey stole the ball from the centre half before squaring to James Skinner, but he could only produce a tame shot from the edge of the area which Sam Johnson-Freeman held.
A flowing move from left to right then saw Bailey smash into the side netting from a tight angle before Gambling seized the advantage five minutes before the break. Having misjudged Gambling's run into the right channel, Shaun Terry's attempted through ball seemed initially to be harmless. But Akinwande's poor control allowed Gambling to recover possession on the right. From 25 yards out he took one clever step inside, giving Johnson-Freeman the impression his target was the far corner, and arrowed a low dart inside the near post.
Again the goal did not lead to Bassett asserting their authority, the lead lasting until the 55th minute when Cove made a period of telling early second half pressure finally count.
Baxter and Akinwande, the latter via an acrobatic overhead kick, had both come close following well worked corners before Eagles went one better, nodding in at the far post after an overloaded attack down the right wing afforded Kingsbeer room to cross.
It was obvious that there were still more goals in the contest with the frenetic pace not relenting, and it would be another defensive error that presented Bassett with the opportunity to win the game.
And that they took twelve minutes from time.
Substitute Scott Walduck caught Sam Boultwood lingering on the ball and surged forward down the right wing. As he shaped to cross he was challenged by Akinwande, but the centre half's intervention only served to divert the ball into the path of an unmarked Gambling. Twelve yards from goal, the forward picked his spot perfectly, stroking confidently into the opposite corner.
Man of the Match: Richie Carter – superb alongside Steve Yeardley in the centre of midfield providing support to the defence and accurate balls to the frontmen to initiate attacks. His work marking the lofty Eagles also ensured that Cove were not able to take advantage of the countless corners they won.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
Nathan Gambling (2), Dan Bailey