Steve Robertson, Steve Yeardley
For the first time in three seasons, Royal Wootton Bassett Town failed to advance in the FA Vase as they were defeated 4-2 by Thame United.
Royal Wootton Bassett Town put up a decent fight against Thame United, but their FA Vase participation for this season still ended 90 minutes after it began as the Oxfordshire side triumphed 4-2 thanks largely to the contributions of quality front pairing Lynton Goss and Andy Gledhill.
Goss was involved in all four of his side's goals. The fleet-footed forward delivered the two corners which Gledhill headed home in the game's opening twenty minutes, before finishing off two counter attacks with composed finishes in the second period, the latter killing off the home side's hopes of getting back on level terms, which had been aroused by a Steve Yeardley half volley with twelve minutes remaining.
Going forward, Thame were just too hot to handle for Bassett, particularly in the opening stages of the second qualifying round tie.
Rich Hunter's side do deserve credit for not allowing the contest to really get away from them having fallen into a 2-0 hole so early. But, while making a game of things and pushing Thame after the restart, they were second best and should be unhappy at the way in which they conceded the four goals.
They were punished for an especially sluggish start when they struggled to maintain possession for any sustained period.
In the game's opening ten minutes, play took place in the Bassett half for nearly the entire time. And during that spell of heavy pressure the visitors forced four corners, the last of which, sent in by Goss, was headed powerfully home at the near post by Gledhill.
The towering Gledhill had come close five minutes earlier with a flicked header from a left wing Goss cross and then should have had a second after just quarter of an hour when he found himself unmarked, but headed a Luke Ricketts ball straight into the hands of Curtis Meare.
He didn't have to wait long for his second though. A Thame counter should have been finished with a goal by Goss after he ghosted past both Nathan Hawkins and George Drewitt. However, he was denied by an outstanding Meare save when through one-on-one with the 'keeper.
That still presented them with a corner. Goss again floated the ball into the box and Gledhill stooped to head into the back of the net.
A fifth headed chance then presented itself to Gledhill, but he failed to test Meare when connecting with left back David Lynn's cross.
For Bassett, who had been battling against the wind as well as Thame's firepower, getting to the break with the score as it was would have been a bonus.
Grabbing a goal in the game's 37th minute was therefore a blessing. Awarded a corner erroneously, they made Thame pay. Playing it short, Sam Packer and Matt Cheetham traded passes to change the angle of delivery, and after the former's ball bounced around the box, Steve Robertson was on hand at the near post to pounce, blasting in from close range.
Thame should then have restored their two goal lead in the final minute of the half. Again though, Meare was on hand to save Bassett, racing off his line to save at the feet of Ben Connelly, who had been played in by Dan West' clever pass around the corner on the edge of the box.
The change of ends served even things up, and Bassett started to ask questions of the visiting defence. However, despite seeing his area came under threat, Henry Craven in the Thame goal was well protected and not tested.
Indeed, the first opportunity of the second period went to Thame. Arriving on the hour, they took full advantage of it. A Hawkins free kick from the halfway line was immediately cleared, setting Goss free, and he had too much pace for Drewitt, leaving the centre half behind before picking out the bottom left corner.
Bassett bounced back though and ensured Thame had little cause to relax. With twelve minutes to go they were rewarded. Dale Richards' long throw was cleared only as far as the edge of the area, and Yeardley – with his first touch after being brought on in place of Cheetham – sent a dipping half volley beyond the reach of Craven and into the top right corner.
Needing another goal to force extra time, Bassett poured men forward as time wound down. And for that they would be punished.
Crowded by three defenders, Lewis Thompson found himself with nowhere to go when looking to create an angle to shoot and was dispossessed. Goss was quickly set free in the right channel and, after advancing on goal, he arrowed a shot into the opposite corner from an angle to finally seal the visitors' passage through to the first round.
Man of the Match: Curtis Meare – while the Bassett 'keeper could do little about the four goals he conceded, he produced a pair of outstanding saves from one-on-ones in the first half to keep his side in the game.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 24th September 2016 at 22:40
Steve Robertson, Steve Yeardley