Dan Bailey, Steve Yeardley
Royal Wootton Bassett Town's winless run continued as they slumped to a heavy 5-2 defeat at home against Binfield.
This time last season Royal Wootton Bassett Town were firing on all cylinders. Prior to a final day defeat, Paul Braithwaite's side went on a nine game unbeaten run, which lifted them to a club best eleventh place finish in the Hellenic League Premier Division and a record goals haul. Their 51 points was just one fewer than the tally recorded in Bassett's inaugural campaign in the division back in 2000/01.
Fast forward twelve months, however, and there's little chance of any records falling, at least no positive ones. Sitting thirteenth, there's no danger of relegation. Yet, you get the sense that there's little positive that will ultimately be taken from the run in during this campaign. Not after another heavy defeat – this time a 5-2 home defeat against Binfield, which extended Bassett's winless run to seven games.
With four games now to go, there's the potential for that streak to extend into double figures. Especially so given the nature of opponents to come. Bracknell Town, currently sixteenth, are one of them, but they have not lost in seven and will surely go into Easter Monday's clash as favourites.
There may not be any silverware to play for, but the team owe it to themselves – and to those involved behind the scenes at the club they represent – to reverse the slump they have sunk so miserably into.
Against Binfield the script was one that has become depressingly familiar. Falling into a deficit resulted in a loss of will and a surrender to a Binfield side, who, although talented, failed in two of the three previous meetings between the teams this season to emerge as winners.
Neither team had really established themselves as the dominant side prior to Binfield's opener midway through the first half. Indeed, the best opportunity in the opening stages fell to Bassett's Dan Bailey, who was played through on goal by Sam Packer's clever through ball. Visiting stopper Nathan Silver was equal to the shot, which Bailey sought to guide inside the near post though.
Liam Ferdinand was to show greater composure in front of goal at the other end 22 minutes in. He outsprinted Nathan Hawkins to latch onto Josh Howell's lofted pass from the right wing, took a touch to get beyond the onrushing Curtis Meare before steering into the empty net from what had become an awkward angle.
Behind, Bassett soon found themselves in a deeper hole. Howell whipped in a dangerous free kick from the left wing, which was defended well initially. However, the second ball fell to Danny Horscroft on the edge of the area, and he was afforded too much space as he thumped a left footed drive that Meare could get a hand to yet not keep out.
Some hope for the hosts was salvaged when Steve Yeardley controlled a Hawkins set piece delivery in the right hand side of the box and fired low inside the near post on the turn to beat Silver on the half hour mark.
Then, less than a minute after the restart, Bailey had the chance to get Bassett back on level terms when he raced onto a ball over the top but snatched at his shot when he again had just Silver to beat.
It was something of a let off for Binfield. Their response to it was rapid though, and, aided by lax defending from their opponents, quickly raced into an unassailable position.
With fifty minutes on the clock, full back Jack Broome drove inside from his position on the right and rode two weak challenges before shuffling a pass to centre Jemel Johnson, who picked out the bottom left corner from eighteen yards with ease.
Johnson then further extended the visitors' lead with a composed side foot finish after Ferdinand picked out his unmarked strike partner with a cross from the right.
Their lead was cut to two with seven minutes remaining as substitute Joe Hiscock recycled the ball from a half cleared corner and Bailey slotted home from twelve yards.
However, Bassett were instantly caught out by a quick transition, which resulted in Jamie Richards hauling down Horscroft in the box and Howell tucking away the resultant spot kick.
That allowed Binfield to complete their five goal haul. And were it not for the resistance of 'keeper Meare, the Berkshire side would have had at least six.
Prior to Bailey's strike, the Bassett stopper scrambled across the full length of his goal to repel a Ferdinand effort after a corner had not been dealt with. Later, in injury time, he stood firm to deny Ferdinand a solo goal, the forward having cut in from the left and swerved by a couple of defenders with ease.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 19th March 2016 at 20:47
Dan Bailey, Steve Yeardley