D Bailey, J Skinner
Corinium Stadium, 4th October 2014
Another year, another early FA Vase exit for Wootton Bassett Town.
Having seen off Cove in such grand fashion away from home in September's opening qualifying round, they blew a great chance to progress to the first round proper for just the fourth time, slumping to a 3-2 extra time defeat against league rivals Abingdon United.
That they did so with such a weak, uninspired display in a game there for the taking made defeat that much more disappointing. Lacking was the energy and invention going forward that has served Paul Braithwaite's team so well this season, while overall Bassett's shape was fragmented.
That allowed for Abingdon to score two cheap extra time goals, the first after they conceded possession, failed to apply pressure and allowed for Andy Younie to tuck away Tom Butler's through ball. Then, having restored parity through James Skinner, Bassett allowed their visitors to break forward with ease and Graham Edney steered in Paul Alder's cross unmarked from close range.
Going forward, Abingdon gave their hosts something to think about with Younie, Stephen Davis and, after his introduction as a first half sub, Edney pulling the strings. And in the opening ten minutes both Younie and Wade Rutherford made Ben Mitchell work to demonstrate that quality.
However defensively they lacked pace. But Bassett's passing and movement was far too disjointed to take advantage of that. It said something that their two main chances in the opening period came through set plays.
And even though the second yielded a goal, the manager's frustration was clear to see.
Dan Bailey was denied by a goalmouth clearance on 20 minutes, his steered shot being hacked away after Nathan Gambling recycled a corner.
From the first, Dan Bailey was denied by a goalmouth clearance on 20 minutes, his steered shot being hacked away after Nathan Gambling recycled a corner.
The lead lasted all of four minutes though. A swift switch of play out to Edney on the right turned the Bassett defence. And when Carter slid to block the seasoned forward's low cross, the ball clipped the defender's arm resulting in a penalty. A somewhat harsh award, Edney took full advantage, picking out the bottom left corner.
Carter almost became involved in a third goal a minute before half time, his mistimed header setting Younie with a path towards goal. Mitchell raced off his line to narrow the frontman's angle and did enough to ensure Younie's clip past him sailed inches wide of the right post.
Bassett were the team who started brightest after the break, the introduction of Ryan Thomas for Josh Skeates adding a slight spark to the attack. On the hour he almost restored the lead too. Controlling James Skinner's cross, he stabbed a shot towards goal on the turn from twelve yards, which Zoldan acrobatically tipped over.
Still, however, Bassett failed to shift into the necessary higher gear. As the clock wound down, their best hope at finding another goal came when Skinner attempted to turn in the box under heavy pressure and appeared to have been tripped. But they were left appealing in vain for a penalty that didn't get given.
Danger at the other end came with fifteen minutes remaining via a scorching Josh Crook drive that flew just over after Tom Butler's low delivery as cleared only weakly. Then with ten to go a flying Younie met Adam Doyle's heavy cross with a sidefoot volley from just six yards. Fortunately for Bassett, the Abingdon man was unable to twist his body quickly enough to deal with the pace of the delivery and the ball, heading off target, was hacked clear ensuring an extra half hour.
His side's underwhelming play gave Braithwaite plenty to do in order to light a fire beneath them. And his task was made harder just as the first period of extra time came to a close. Butler was allowed to dance forward and Younie expertly steered his through ball around Mitchell.
A response came within thirty seconds of the change of ends. A give-and-go from a throw in gave Thomas space to deliver from the right wing, and Skinner jumped in front of his marker to prod home at the far post.
Two minutes later Skinner met another testing Thomas delivery, this time with an exquisite side foot volley on the edge of the area that seemed destined for the opposite right corner. Zoldan was well beaten, but was relieved when the ball bounced back off the post.
Quickly Abingdon broke up the other end, and from the left channel Alder whipped in for a wide open Edney to put Bassett out of their misery.
Man of the Match: Pete Sykes – another reliable display from the full back on an afternoon when most of those around him disappointed.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
D Bailey, J Skinner