Royal Wootton Bassett Town suffered their first defeat in over a month as they lost 3-0 at Brimscombe and Thrupp.
Royal Wootton Bassett Town's nine game winning streak was brought to an emphatic end as they were soundly beaten 3-0 by Brimscombe and Thrupp.
Bookending a highly effective, well-organised performance, the Gloucestershire side scored in the game's second minute and deep into second half injury time on their way to inflicting Bassett's first defeat in over the month.
In truth, Rich Hunter's team were second best in all departments. Ragged at the back, toothless in attack, and lacking a gameplan appropriate for an extremely slow playing surface, they were deservedly beaten.
They couldn't have gotten off to a worse start either. With less than 120 seconds on the clock, the visitors found themselves a goal down. Gio Wrona had cleared Ashley Caldwell's near post header off the line following Ollie Pitt's in-swinging corner, but the danger wasn't completely averted. It didn't help either that Bassett's defensive line stepped out blindly, and Sam Blackie was played in by a through ball before thrashing a firm left-footed effort beyond Dan Lawrence.
Blackie, whose unorthodox play saw him frequently drop off into space and – now and again – crop up out wide on the wing, could have then set up his team's second mere moments after giving his side the lead. Picking up possession on the halfway line, he twisted his way past three defenders before feeding a pass to strike partner Jack Smith, who skewed wide from the edge of the area.
Bassett simply hadn't been at the races in the opening stages of the game, but they did begin to establish a foothold. However, Lewis Skyers in the Brimscombe goal wouldn't be troubled until deep into the second half.
That did owe a lot to a sound defensive display from the hosts. Christien Turner, in particular, did a good job of bottling up Sam Packer, though, much to the Bassett playmaker's frustration throughout the game, the grappling and shirt tugging the centre half employed was rarely picked up by the officials.
Skyers' trouble-free afternoon also was down to the fact Hunter's team were always looking to unlock the Brimscombe defence with intricate passes in tight spaces. On a compact pitch and with a surface that meant the ball never really ran, that wasn't conducive to creating chances. Instead, even if it may not be the prettiest approaches, they should have looked to exploit the space in the channels and behind the hosts' defence.
It was that tactic, which Brimscombe employed, and it worked. They also made good use of set pieces, and one, a free kick from the deep that was only half cleared, led to a good chance for Chris Greenhough, who struck a volley into the ground from outside the area that an initially unsighted Lawrence did well to tip away as he dived low to his left.
The Bassett stopper could do very little to deny Blackie a second with four minutes to go until half time though. Quintessential route one football delivered the goal too. Skyers launched a goal kick from his hands straight down the middle of the pitch which evaded Matt Cheetham, and Blackie raced onto the loose ball before slotting coolly into the bottom corner.
Blackie was at the heart of the action whenever Brimscombe threatened, and eight minutes after the restart, his neat give-and-go with Pitt in the left corner opened up room to float in a cross. At the far post, Ben Deakin headed back across goal, but this was just out of the reach of an outstretched Smith, who would have had an easy tap in.
A goal there would have put the result beyond doubt. But, despite their sub-par play, a 2-0 deficit was still one Bassett had the means to overcome.
By the hour mark, Hunter had used all three of his substitutions and sacrificed a defender in order to bring Sam Collier on up front alongside Packer and Aaron Maximen.
The tactical shift yielded just two shots on goal though. Ben Lodge's toe poke after Packer had set the ball back to him forced Skyers to save low to his left, while Colllier dragged a shot from edge of the area, which the keeper was again equal to, after a surge forward from Antonio Gerrish.
Going from four in defence to three did mean that Brimscombe's wide men had extra freedom, and they eventually made Bassett pay the price.
Pitt should really have scored with fifteen minutes remaining when played in by Karl Nash, but he fired over before Nash shot across goal when he latched onto a pass clipped into the left channel.
Deep into injury time though, the third arrived. Pitt charged down the wing before steering in a low delivery, which substitute Elijah Simpson bundled in.
The third goal wasn't undeserved. Brimscombe had been much the better side and Bassett were well beaten.
Man of the Match: Antonio Gerrish – somewhat slow to get into the game, he wound up being the pick of a poor bunch, demonstrating his typical level of drive in centre midfield.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 14th October 2017 at 20:52