The Heights, 1st November 2014
After taking two steps forwards, it was a case of a significant step back for Wootton Bassett Town as Milton United gained revenge for defeat last week with a 2-1 victory of their own.
The result left Paul Braithwaite ruing an underwhelming performance from his team – a fact that led to the manager keeping his side on the pitch following the full time whistle for an extensive lecture.
More disappointing though was the fact the opportunity to bolster Bassett's advantage over those sides currently occupying spots in the Hellenic League Premier Division's lower reaches was missed. While still sitting in 14th position, Milton's win means that just three points separate Bassett and 17th place Brimscombe and Thrupp.
It means points are now a necessity for the three remaining games of this current five game league road trip.
Following a dreary first half, Milton did their damage early following the restart, Pat Howe converting their third chance of the period's opening half dozen minutes. Continued pressure eventually led to their second through Jack Daley.
Dan Bailey's glancing header halved the hosts' advantage with three minutes remaining. That goal proved too little, too late though.
Bailey had earlier missed the best chance of a nondescript opening half when he headed over from an unmarked position, a slight deflection on Lewis Petrie's weighted cross being enough to distract Bassett's top scorer from finding the back of the net.
Milton were the team who had had the better of the play though, their hustling and harrying forcing Bassett into numerous wayward passes, while also forcing the visitors to play deep in their half.
That translated into just the one opportunity though, with Daley shrugging off a challenge and lacing a low twenty yard drive towards goal after half an hour. A wicked deflection left Ben Mitchell in the Bassett goal wrong-footed, but the ball slipped wide of the right post.
The home team posed a greater threat after the break, taking advantage of Bassett's all too frequent slow start.
A quick counter after Bassett lost possession from their own throw led to Ryan Tappin curling over before Daley arrowed an effort low from distance towards the opposite corner which an outstretched Mitchell did well to fist away.
The opening goal soon arrived as Conor Harris drove down the left wing and squared to Howe who, granted far too much space, lashed into the right corner from twenty yards.
Howe could have made it two shortly before the hour, pouncing on a sliced Dale Richards clearance, but he shot tamely at Mitchell.
His teammate Daley would go one better in the 68th minute. Tom Austin stole possession from Richards on the right wing before the ball was worked inside to Daley, who stepped inside Nathan Hawkins and confidently picked out the right corner with a fine left foot shot.
A reaction was now needed from Bassett, but there was to be only a muted one. They were able to force Milton onto the back foot, but an unwillingness to put the ball into the box made it easy for the hosts to recover.
And Milton should really have punished their opponents for overplaying and put the game out of sight. However, Daley shot weakly at Mitchell from close range before Harris was denied by a Sam Brown goalline clearance.
Bassett finally got going with five minutes to go, a Petrie toe-poke being parried by Craig Griffiths after the frontman had rolled his marker.
With two minutes to go, James Skinner finally delivered his team's first cross from a dangerous position with Bailey rising to flick a header in off the left post.
In injury time an undeserved point was almost salvaged. A Skinner corner was cleared only as far as Mitchell, who had joined his teammates in the box. The â€˜keeper danced around one man to create an opening, but he dragged his left foot shot wide of the post from ten yards.
Defeat it was then, along with the frustration of being dragged back as opposed to pushing on.
Man of the Match: Callum Wright – Bassett's most composed player throughout the game, Wright performed his duties solidly from his deep lying midfield position. He was unfortunate though in that his teammates were not able to take as good care of the ball as he did.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38