Super six seals perfect start

Saturday 04 August 2018 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 05 August 2018 at 11:51)

Royal Wootton Bassett Town began their 2018-19 Hellenic League Premier Division campaign in superb fashion, recording a 6-1 victory over Tuffley Rovers.

Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, 4th August 2018

Royal Wootton Bassett Town would rarely have enjoyed such a dream start to their season before.

An attacking masterclass from Sam Collier's side tore Tuffley Rovers apart, as Bassett triumphed 6-1 on the opening day of the 2018-19 Hellenic League Premier Division campaign.

They notched four goals in a dominant first half display to set them well on their way and, come full time, debutants TJ Bohane and Brad Pagliaroli had both demonstrated their class in front of goal, the former scoring a hat-trick and the latter bagging a brace.

It had been a more familiar face to the Bassett faithful who got the rout going with the season just ten minutes old though. After Rob Lincoln's powerfully struck effort had forced a fingertip save from Luke Merchant, the resulting corner was taken short, catching out the Tuffley defence, and Steve Yeardley stooped to head home at the far post from Gio Wrona's delivery.

It was the club stalwart's 76th goal in Bassett colours – not a bad return for a player, approaching 500 appearances, who has played for the majority of his career in defence.

Six minutes later, however, his day was over after an injury sustained from an accidental clash of when challenging for the ball following a subsequent corner forced him off.

The extended break in play initially saw Collier's team fall off the pace. And Tuffley came close to equalising when Warren Mann's hanging cross into the box wasn't dealt with, a blocked shot eventually sparing Bassett's blushes.

It didn't take long though for the home side to reassert themselves, and the lead was doubled on the half hour mark.

Bohane met Daniel Lachacz' lofted with a deft touch around the corner that set free Josh Shama. The dangerous winger then breezed past left back Alex O'Leary before squaring back inside for Bohane on the edge of the area. The forward's initial attempt was blocked, but a sliced clearance fell back into Bohane's path and he made no mistake when one-on-one with Merchant.

That goal seemed to be the death knell for Tuffley's hopes as confidence appeared to drain from their young side, who had started the game brightly.

Shama almost made it three eight minutes before half time as he latched onto Pagliaroli's through ball, but his weighted tight angle shot found the inside of the post.

Four minutes later Pagliaroli scored the goal of the afternoon. Receiving a Wrona pass on the right, he cut inside, taking on his man before arrowing a precise left foot drive into the bottom left corner from the edge of the box.

A fourth quickly followed, with Shama again serving as creator. After another surging run down the wing he squared for Wrona, whose effort was blocked. However, the loose ball fell perfectly for Bohane who tapped home.

Having scored at least thirty goals in each of the past two seasons with Bracknell Town, Bohane made sure he is well on the way to achieving that figure again, completing his hat trick five minutes into the second half.

After winning a header just inside the box, he was clattered into by Merchant, leaving referee Lennon Davis no option but to point to the spot. And from twelve yards, Bohane was not to be denied as he coolly sent the 'keeper the wrong way.

Comfortably ahead with the points in the bag, Bassett started to take their foot off the gas. But they still had enough in the tank to grab a sixth. Bohane steered a ball in behind the Tuffley defence that substitute Jason Milhench raced onto, and after cutting in from the right he rolled a pass across the six-yard box which Pagliaroli steered in from close range.

It was not to be a wholly perfect afternoon for Bassett though as Tuffley grabbed a goal back immediately. A clever Mann through ball resulted in a defensive mix-up, which Ryan Dobbins took full advantage of, rounding Alex Bowers before calmly stroking into an open goal.

The visitors came close twice late on too, Dobbins heading over from Paul Carter's cross while unmarked before Carter sent a fizzing low drive from 25 yards narrowly wide.

But that was the extent of the threat Tuffley were able to muster, with Bassett already having inflicted significant damage.

The old adage states that you should start as you mean to go on. Sam Collier's side certainly laid down an impressive marker with this victory.

Man of the Match: Daniel Lachacz – strong in the tackle and calm when in possession, the combative midfielder helped Bassett dominate the middle of the park and didn't put a foot wrong on an impressive afternoon.

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