Royal Wootton Bassett Town were defeated 1-0 by Melksham Town in their Wiltshire Senior Cup quarter final, a headed goal from Gary Higdon ten minutes from time deciding the outcome.
A Gary Higdon header ten minutes from time decided the outcome of the Wiltshire Senior Cup quarter final clash between Royal Wootton Bassett Town and Melksham Town in the visitors' favour.
It was ultimately one lapse in concentration which cost Bassett and ensured their search for a third success in the premier knockout competition in the County goes on.
The prolific Higdon – a muted presence for the majority of the contest – was able to lose his marker at the far post and re-direct Ben Thompson's free kick into the opposite corner beyond a helpless Curtis Meare from ten yards.
That was only the third shot Melksham registered on target in the entire match. But it was enough.
For a side who last year claimed the Western League Premier Division title, there appeared little remarkable about them on this afternoon. Functional and well organised they may have been. Yet they were there for the taking.
Paul Braithwaite's team certainly did their utmost to oust Melksham from a competition they have triumphed in twice in the last three seasons.
However, without the suspended Steve Robertson, their own goalscoring hero throughout this campaign, they were unable to make the required breakthrough.
During the opening period they had the advantage of playing with the swift wind blowing from the Coped Hall end – something that is becoming a staple feature at Bassett's new home - behind them.
Melksham did not appear overly comfortable playing into this, and a botched clearance following a Dan Bailey flick on presented Steve Olphert with a golden chance just seven minutes in. However, the Bassett midfielder struck his snap shot from twelve yards straight at visiting 'keeper Rob Brown.
Patient build up play soon led to Olphert setting the ball down for Bailey to shoot from 25 yards, and he fired narrowly off target.
Bassett continued to give the impression that they had settled into the game better than their visitors. Yet, a goal still proved elusive.
A curling, inswinging corner from Dale Richards forced Brown to scramble to his near post and tip over. A fizzing low free kick from the same player then had Brown diving low to steer the ball around his right post after it had evaded all others camped in the box.
Matt Cheetham was next to have a shot on goal, but his stinging half volley from just outside the area was comfortably dealt with by Brown.
At the other end, Meare was forced into a couple of awkward parries, the first from Mike Perrott, the second from Joe Stradling, but aside from that the visitors had posed little threat.
That was set to change after the restart as Melksham enjoyed the benefit of the Bassett breeze.
Despite that, Bassett should have been ahead within two minutes of the second half beginning. Harvey Scholes floated a perfectly weighted clipped pass in behind the visiting defence, which Bailey latched onto. With just Brown to beat, Bailey strode towards goal, but dragged his effort across the face of goal from ten yards. The angle was a little tight, but a goal should really have been scored.
There followed an intense spell of Melksham pressure, with Bassett pinned ever deeper. Yet the worst that the home side conceded was a succession of corners, which Melksham failed to convert.
Set pieces have consistently been an area of weakness for Bassett this season though, and the deadlock was finally broken – and the game decided - when Thomson teased in a left footed delivery from a free kick on the right wing and Higdon ghosted free of his marker before coolly guiding a header home.
Man of the Match: Matt Cheetham – playing at the base of the midfield, Cheetham was his usual self, battling away and keeping things ticking.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 19th December 2015 at 22:51