Cagey cup tie ends in stalemate

Saturday 25 August 2018 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 25 August 2018 at 19:31)

A tense 0-0 draw between Royal Wootton Bassett Town and Lydney Town ensured the teams will have to go again in the Emirates FA Cup.

Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, 25th August 2018

Chances were few and far between as Royal Wootton Bassett Town and Lydney Town played out a 0-0 draw in a tense Emirates FA Cup preliminary round tie.

Lydney arguably had the better opportunities, but the visitors' two best chances culminated in a pair of brave defensive blocks from Steve Yeardley and Tony Joyce. As a result, neither Kurtis Sharkey in the Bassett nor his opposite number Richard Thomas were really called into action, meaning a replay is now necessary.

Given the teams' scoring records in the early stages of their respective Hellenic League Premier Division campaigns, a goalless draw was arguably something of a surprise. But they largely cancelled each other out.

There was little subtle nor intricate about Lydney's direct style of play. But, given the presence of imposing centre forwards Ross Gabriel and Declan Morley-Lyne and the equally powerful centre half Sam Elliott, who was sent up at almost every set piece opportunity, it meant they were playing to their strengths.

And they certainly provided the Bassett defence a test. However, anchored by a mature display from youngster Harrison Gough, they were pretty much able to nullify any threat Lydney posed.

At the other end, Bassett lacked some of the sharpness offered by the injured Matt Bennett, while Sam Collier's team, frustratingly, resorted more to knocking long balls forward, a tactic that made life easier for the visitors. But credit should still be given to Lydney's obdurate defence, who silenced Bassett's front trio of TJ Bohane, Brad Pagliaroli and Josh Shama.

The best two openings of the first half fell to Morley-Lyne. On twenty minutes, the visitors were presented with a free kick right on the edge of the area following a needless push from Steve Yeardley on Gabriel. Well within the the set-piece specialist's range, Morley-Lyne went for power over placement and leathered a powerful drive narrowly over.

Five minutes later, a well-worked move on the edge of the box saw Liam Sheppard clip a through into the path of the unmarked forward, but his shot from twelve yards was met with an outstanding block from Yeardley.

Bassett's best chance to open the deadlock followed shortly after that let-off. Controlling Dale Richards' cross-field ball, Pagliaroli was able to beat left back Danny Morgan to the byline, from where he played a low delivery across the face of goal. Kai Robinson was at the far post to cut back into the danger area, where a lurking Gio Wrona was just beaten to the punch.

Robinson was then involved at the opposite end of the pitch as his clumsy shove on Matt Board as the midfielder was going away from goal appeared to have taken place just inside the box. Much to his relief, referee Graham Pearce gave only a free kick, which fortunately came to nothing.

As half time neared, half chances fell their way to Robinson, who swept a low tight angle shot into the hands of Thomas, and Lydney's Gabriel, who could only direct a snap header over after Morley-Lyne had redirected an Elliott free kick across goal.

All in all during the opening period, neither side had demonstrated that extra quality required to gain separation. And that was even more evident in the second half.

Defensively, Bassett were more robust, making sure that to limit the number of set piece opportunities for the visitors.

Going forward, they only mustered a single chance. That fell to Pagliaroli on the hour, but his low effort from twenty yards was met with a comfortable diving save by Thomas.

For Lydney, ex-Bassett man Lewis Thompson rushed a shot and skewed wide after he had latched onto a ball in behind from Sheppard. A long-range strike from Board was then deflected wide.

Indeed, their most telling opening came with the final kick of the game. Countering after a Bassett free kick came to nothing, the visitors found themselves two-on-one. Broad proceeded to steer a pass to an unmarked Sam Wines, who dwelled a second too long on the ball, as the evergreen Joyce was able to through his body in the way of the firmly struck shot and deflect wide.

Man of the Match: Harrison Gough – the youngster had a tough assignment dealing with Lydney's powerful, physical front two, but produced an outstanding, assured display at centre back.

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