L Chatwin, J Hiscock, S Yeardley
The Triangle Ground, 22nd November 2014
Lewis Chatwin's decisive finish after just eighty seconds of play proved crucial for Wootton Bassett Town as they saw off a stubborn Henley Town outfit 3-2 to advance to third round of the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup.
The speedster's goal – a fine strike across ‘keeper Graham Sims into the bottom left corner after he had latched onto Steve Yeardley's fine through ball and left Richard Thomas trailing in his wake – may have given some the impression that Bassett would canter to victory.
But their Division One East hosts were soon on level terms and throughout the match refused to go away. In the end Henley were left to rue a loss of discipline, centring around the dismissal of manager Craig Hiscock from his technical area and a controversial penalty award on the stroke of half time, which shifted their attentions away from pushing Paul Braithwaite's team to their limit.
That was something of a blessing for the Bassett manager, whose team had their moments and lived somewhat dangerously as the contest reached its conclusion.
They certainly started in great fashion, Yeardley's superb through ball releasing Chatwin to produce a goal of some quality.
Yet Henley were quick to respond. Grant Kemp came close, when he shot over from twelve yards after a neat give and go with Asa Povey on the edge of the area.
Povey then levelled with an exquisite 25 yard lob in the game's ninth minute. The build-up wasn't particularly pretty, with a scramble in the middle of the park breaking Henley's way when Richie Carter went in to nick the ball but was half a second late. That allowed Povey to collect possession in space, turn and pick out the top left corner in sublime fashion.
Despite the conditions of The Triangle Ground pitch, the match was developing into an enjoyable one with the two teams playing some neat football.
Bassett were edging matters, and twice came close to re-taking the lead midway through the period only to be denied by the sharp reflexes of Sims.
A clever reverse pass from Carter to Yeardley allowed the Bassett skipper to lash a first time drive from the right edge of the box towards goal, which Sims was able to divert over with a fingertip save.
Sims then parried at the feet of Joe Hiscock after a flowing move involving Yeardley and Dan Bailey allowed the former to cut a low cross into the heart of the box where the young forward was waiting.
Proceedings soured with ten minutes to go until half time when a heavy challenge from Thomas on Bailey resulted in Henley boss Craig Hiscock confronting Bassett substitute Tyler Sheppard, who had expressed his disapproval at the challenge. That sparked a lengthy argument between occupants of both benches and Hiscock being dismissed.
That tension was made worse minutes later when Dale Richards rose at the far post to head a Nathan Hawkins free kick across goal and the ball struck a Henley arm. While unintentional, referee Harry Moore blew his whistle, initially signalling for Bassett to be awarded a free kick on the edge of the area. However, the intervention of his assistant resulted in a penalty being given instead much to the hosts' fury.
Yeardley kept his cool though, picking out a spot in the bottom left corner just out of Sims' reach to put Bassett back in front.
With an eye on Wednesday's league clash with Thatcham, Braithwaite made a double change at the break, which saw top scorer Dan Bailey and full back Sam Brown withdrawn, with Tyler Sheppard and Callum Wright replacing them.
That switch paid dividends within ten minutes as Sheppard flicked on Wright's lofted pass to Hiscock, who made no mistake when one-on-one with Sims and coolly slotted home.
Hiscock, given a chance to start in place of the suspended Nathan Gambling, passed up two opportunities to further extend the visitors' advantage. On the hour he controlled Wright's searching diagonal ball, but could only roll a weak effort straight at Sims from the edge of the area. He then snapped a low shot wide from twelve yards after a Sheppard corner fell to him.
Unable to kill off the game, Bassett allowed Henley to grab a lifeline with ten to go as Povey's quick feet opened up room for him to smartly slot in at the near post.
The Oxfordshire side had not let go of their complaints with the referee though, and continued to amass bookings.
And Sean Moore soon picked up his second of the afternoon to make their task harder. Coming at a time when Bassett were playing with ten men after Lewis Chatwin had picked up a leg injury, the timing of Moore's dismissal could not have been worse.
At the time Henley were pushing Bassett deep, with the visitors unable to maintain possession for any prolonged period. However, having lost their man advantage, the hosts were unable to make a breakthrough and force extra time.
They did provide one scare when Sam Cripps headed down for Kemp, but he flashed a half volley wide of the mark ensuring no damage was done and Bassett had their third round place booked.
Man of the Match: Steve Yeardley – his excellent through ball set Lewis Chatwin free for the opener, while his penalty was coolly taken.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
L Chatwin, J Hiscock, S Yeardley