Dan Bailey, Steve Robertson, Steve Yeardley
Royal Wootton Bassett Town put the pain of last weekend behind them in style, convincingly defeating Oxford City Nomads 3-0.
After the humiliation of last weekend, Royal Wootton Bassett Town manager Paul Braithwaite got the reaction he demanded from his troops - and more - as Oxford City Nomads were comfortably dispatched 3-0 thanks to a controlled, professional display.
Across the pitch the Bassett boss saw his players pitch in with the requisite amount of effort, something which had been clearly lacking at Ardley last weekend.
Defensively, that allowed Bassett to thwart a Nomads side who, though pleasing on the eye, lacked the savvy to break through the wall of resistance thrown up by their hosts. Rarely this season has 'keeper Curtis Meare had as quiet an afternoon as this one.
At the opposite end of the pitch, meanwhile, Bassett were clinical, taking the chances when they arrived. Thus a valuable three points was secured against the side who began the day immediately below them in the Hellenic League Premier Division.
On another blustery day at the New Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, Bassett began the afternoon playing into the wind. It was therefore necessary for them to spend the better portion of the opening period on the defensive.
Yet, they acquitted themselves in this task with aplomb. Only once did they come under any real danger when, quarter of an hour into the game, the lively Amer Awadh latched onto a through ball played into the left side of the box and cut inside Matt Cheetham before shooting straight at Meare from an acute angle.
In fact, the two best chances of the half fell to the home side. Thirty minutes in, Dale Richards made a darting run down the left wing before cutting the ball back from the byline for Steve Robertson, who fired on the turn from twelve yards only to be denied by a well timed block.
Moments later Robertson set a pass back for Richards on the edge of the area, from where the full back blazed a shot narrowly over.
When the duo combined for the third time a minute into the second half the result was the game's opening goal. And a well worked one it was too. Cheetham's diagonal ball from right full back evaded opposite number Drew Boyd. Richards, charging forward, controlled the ball perfectly before shuffling a square pass inside to Robertson, who made no mistake with a firm strike from twelve yards.
With the lead, Bassett were playing with confidence. They still had to be alert though, and were grateful for the presence of centre half Nathan Hawkins who blocked Louis Joyce's goalbound header on the line after the Nomads forward had connected with an Awadh delivery.
Substitute Matt Woodley then cut inside onto his left foot and flashed a drive just wide of the left post.
The cutting edge that the visitors lacked, Bassett possessed and their lead was doubled with 69 minutes on the clock.
Another ball over the top from Cheetham caught the Nomads defence square, allowing Harvey Scholes a free run at Christian Lawrence. Advancing off his line and narrowing the angle, the Nomads' stopper repelled Scholes' shot. However, the rebound broke for Robertson, and from the left corner he delivered a delicate cross to the far post which Dan Bailey nodded in.
Defensively sound and with the midfield finding their rhythm, Bassett ensured that it wasn't until the first minute of stoppage time that their opponents could muster any kind of response to falling two goals behind. Yet Woodley was unable to cut the deficit as his powerful drive rattled the crossbar.
A neat three player move then allowed the hosts to add extra gloss to a hugely satisfying afternoon for the team and a landmark appearance for club captain Steve Yeardley.
Latching onto an intricate Bailey flick after an inside pass from Robertson, Sam Packer outmuscled Matt Knapton before being clumsily brought down by the lumbering defender inside the box.
A penalty was duly given, which Yeardley – whose introduction as a substitute took his first team appearance total to 400 – clinically put away.
A solid performance, a clean sheet, and three valuable points, not a lot more could have been asked for. It was more than enough to turn last week's frowns upside down.
Man of the Match: Nathan Hawkins – marshalled the defence alongside Jamie Richards expertly, ensuring a trouble free afternoon for 'keeper Curtis Meare. Louis Joyce, a player with Southern League experience and Hawkins' responsibility on this afternoon, was silenced.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 23rd January 2016 at 22:26
Dan Bailey, Steve Robertson, Steve Yeardley