Steve Olphert, Steve Robertson
Royal Wootton Bassett Town failed to reach the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup quarter finals as a poor second half display condemned them to a 3-2 defeat against Cirencester Town Dev.
For the remainder of the season, now all Royal Wootton Bassett Town can do is concentrate on improving their league position.
A horror show of a second half saw all hopes of a deep run in the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup end in inglorious fashion as Bassett slipped to a 3-2 defeat against Cirencester Town Development.
While they took a single goal lead into half time thanks to Steve Robertson's 23rd minute free kick, Paul Braithwaite's side were nonetheless guilty of failing to take advantage of playing with the wind behind them in the opening stanza.
And they were quickly punished for their negligence as two goals in the opening six minutes of the period - the first cheap, the second a result of the team switching off – swung the tie in the Centurions' favour.
Playing from behind, Bassett failed to recover, falling further in arrears with quarter of an hour remaining. Steve Olphert's late header was therefore nothing more than scant consolation on a hugely disappointing afternoon.
There may have been some sense of Bassett feeling hard done by for only being 1-0 ahead at that point given the failure of referee Charlie Bullock to award a penalty in the twelfth minute for an obvious trip on Olphert.
But aside from that, the hosts were only able to test Josh Langley's goal on four occasions.
The first resulted in the opener, Robertson swinging in a free kick from the right corner, which flew straight in.
Six minutes after that, Dan Bailey glanced wide at the right post after debutant Aaron Oakley had re-directed a Robertson corner back across goal.
The same player then failed to connect properly with a Sam Packer cross as he charged in at the left post.
After that, the best opportunity presented itself to Packer, who collected a Robertson set back and smashed a well struck long range drive narrowly over.
Without that killer instinct, Bassett had left the door wide open for their visitors. And they duly ushered them through that door in the opening minutes of the second period.
Less than two minutes had elapsed when a mix up between centre half George Drewitt and 'keeper Curtis Meare allowed Danny Gudger to present lone frontman Jack Smith with the simplest of tap ins to level the scores.
Cirencester soon were ahead. Incorrectly thinking that the ball had gone out of play for a throw in on the right, all bar Gudger ground to a halt. Taking advantage of that, the winger galloped forward before sending in a low cross, which was helped on by a clever Smith flick to an unmarked Sam Farr and the former Bassett Under 18 captain steered into the bottom right corner from twelve yards.
It could have been game over before the hour mark too, but a slight deflection helped divert a low Gudger free kick around the post.
The introduction of Josh Fowler eventually provided a spark that a labouring Bassett were missing. And with twenty minutes to go, a firm tackle from Packer in the middle of the park and an Olphert through ball set the speedy forward free.
After bearing down on goal, Fowler attempted a delicate clip over the advancing Langley, but his shot lacked the required accuracy, while strike partner Robertson failed too to divert the ball in at the right post.
With that glorious chance squandered, further salt was rubbed into the wound when the Centurions grabbed their third in the game's 75th minute.
Smith had come close to netting his second minutes earlier when he struck over from Charlie Buse's cutback. But he had no trouble finding the target with his unmarked header from another Gudger delivery after Langley's diagonal punt had picked out the winger in acres of space.
Bassett's reaction was muted, far too muted.
Bailey stung the palms of Langley a couple of minutes after he saw his side fall further behind.
But between that and Olphert eventually clawing one back in the first minute of stoppage time when he beat Langley to the punch to head home from a Nathan Hawkins' cross, Cirencester, although defending deep, were not overly stretched.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 9th January 2016 at 20:10
Steve Olphert, Steve Robertson