Royal Wootton Bassett Town ended their Hellenic League Premier Division campaign with a 3-0 defeat to Bracknell Town, who climbed above Bassett courtesy of their victory.
While they may have been defeated 3-0 by Bracknell Town, a result which saw them slip to fifteenth in the table where they will end the season, Royal Wootton Bassett Town deserve praise for the fact they at least went down with a fight in their final game.
On a ten game winless streak and missing a handful of key players, Paul Braithwaite's team could have been excused for treating their Thursday night trip to Berkshire as an exercise in just making an appearance and seeing out the ninety minutes before putting away their boots for the summer.
Instead, they made a decent fist of things on a pitch so dry and bobbly that every first touch was an adventure, even for those usually blessed with an assured ability to control the ball.
The youthful side that took the field were ultimately undone by a somewhat fortuitous first half opener and two well taken goals in quick succession in the second period. And the latter two arrived only after 'keeper Marcus Lewis was forced off through injury and outfield player Tyler Sheppard took over between the sticks.
Admittedly Bassett never posed much of an offensive threat. Without Steve Robertson and Sam Packer, they lacked the two players who have provided the most cutting edge in that area of the field all season, while a crunching tackle on Harvey Scholes deprived them of the youngster's playmaking abilities after just twenty minutes.
Indeed, the closest they came to registering a goal came from a pair of corners as half time neared. The first, whipped in low by Dan Comer, was almost diverted into the net off a Bracknell head, but Garry Aulsberry was quick to react, acrobatically tipping over his crossbar. Then from the follow up, Comer picked out an unmarked Adam Corcoran who planted a header wide of the left post from ten yards.
By that point Bassett were in arrears. A blocked clearance from Scott Walduck broke for Johnnie Dyer in the box and he was able to toe poke past Lewis from close range.
Not until the 72nd minute did the hosts extend their lead. Prior to that they had spent a fair amount of time in the Bassett half, but had rarely troubled the goal, with Kensley Maloney twice failing to find the target from decent positions.
A rare Bassett break had also led to a half chance at an equaliser for Scott Walduck, who, under pressure from a trailing Damien Smith, lifted over after racing onto a ball over the top.
When the decisive second did arrive it came in style though. Substitute Shaun Hanley beat Jamie Richards for pace in the right channel before cutting back for Ben Poynter, who picked out the bottom left corner with a composed shot on the turn.
Two minutes later it was 3-0. This time it was Maloney latching onto a ball into the right corner, where he outmuscled Matt Cheetham before cutting back for Hanley. A wonderful turn in the box then took Hanley free from his marker and the youngster neatly tucked away.
The result meant Bassett took just three points from the last available 33, the seemingly realistic hopes of a top flight finish crumbling away into an underwhelming fifteenth place finish.
However, though the final four games of the season ended in defeated, at least some fight could be sensed in each of the performances.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Friday 15th April 2016 at 20:35