Dan Bailey, Steve Robertson
Royal Wootton Bassett Town suffered another heavy defeat as they were thrashed 6-2 at title challengers Kidlington.
A couple of steps forward, six steps back. Having experienced a recent upturn in form, Royal Wootton Bassett Town reverted back to their self-destructive ways as a meek performance resulted in another heavy defeat, this time at the hands of Kidlington who sauntered to a 6-2 victory.
The result meant that it was the fourth time this season that Bassett have conceded six or more â€“ and the third time that they have done so in their past eight games.
League wins against Brimscombe and Thrupp, Oxford City Nomads and Wokingham and Emmbrook may have also been recorded in that period. But they cannot mask the fact that the previous six weeks, which began with an 8-0 drubbing at the hands of Highworth Town, have largely been wretched.
This thumping followed a depressingly familiar formula too. Finding themselves two goals down after half an hour, Bassett seemed to simply surrender.
Providing further frustration, the visitors allowed Kidlington to dominate, despite the fact the Oxfordshire hosts were forced to play for more than 50 minutes with ten men after seeing Eric Odhiambo dismissed for violent conduct when he reacted angrily to a challenge from Steve Robertson.
By the time he was sent off, Odhiambo had already made a crucial mark on the game, setting up his brother Anaclet for the game's opening goal on nineteen minutes, which was powerfully driven into the opposite corner from the right edge of the box.
Minutes earlier, Bassett had passed up a great opportunity to take the lead. Racing onto Sam Ockwell's lofted ball, Sam Packer found himself in behind the Kidlington defence. Attempting a lob into far corner beyond the onrushing Sam Warrell, Packer narrowly steered his effort wide of the right post.
Perhaps the outcome of the game may have been different had that effort fallen inside the post, meaning Odhiambo's strike would have served as equaliser as opposed to opener.
However, that's purely speculation. What can't be argued with is that the failure to defend two set pieces prior to half time had the outcome of the game sewn up.
On the half hour mark, Lewis Coyle's corner â€“ delivered with a flat trajectory â€“ was comfortably headed in by centre half Henry Owen.
Then on the stroke of half time, Coyle â€“ somewhat lucky not to have joined fellow midfielder Odhiambo for an early bath having only been booked for an off the ball kick on Steve Yeardley â€“ swung in a free kick from deep on the right which wasn't cleared, allowing Owen to tuck away his second.
Coyle then got in on the act six minutes after the restart. A give-and-go with Tommy Castle on the edge of the box set him free and, from an angle, Coyle gave debutant 'keeper Eddie Salisbury little chance with a thunderbolt that flew inside the near post.
Bassett got on the board on the hour courtesy of Robertson's near post glancing header from a Packer corner.
However, Kidlington quickly restored their four goal advantage as another failure to defend a set piece allowed Franklin to flick a header from Coyle's corner beyond Salisbury.
A pair of fine saves from Salisbury to deny Owen his hat-trick prevented Kidlington from further extending their lead for a brief period. The 'keeper brilliantly kept out the centre back's powerful penalty, awarded for an Olphert trip on Coyle, before he stooped low to get a glove on an Owen header.
However, Salisbury could only do so much and when the hosts were awarded another spot kick, the hand he got on the ball was not enough to deny Coyle, who found the bottom left corner.
Bassett would grab the game's eighth and final goal, and did so in style as Dan Bailey twisted and turned on the edge of the area before arrowing a stunning strike into the top right corner.
It was arguably the afternoon's best goal, yet, given Bassett's defensive woes, was unfortunately of no consequence whatsoever.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Sunday 14th February 2016 at 12:22
Dan Bailey, Steve Robertson