Royal Wootton Bassett Town fell to a 1-0 Bank Holiday derby defeat against Shrivenham.
Royal Wootton Bassett Town had more than enough chances to get at least something out of their Bank Holiday derby encounter against Shrivenham. But the woodwork, fine glovework from former 'keeper Dan Lawrence, stubborn defending and a lack of sharpness in attack conspired to condemn Sam Collier's men to a 1-0 defeat.
The closely fought contest with Gareth Davies' previously winless side was ultimately decided by a controversial penalty, confidently put away by Josh Morse, with twenty minutes remaining.
Bassett can feel hard done by for the decision to award the spot kick was a harsh one, Harrison Gough being penalised for a handball after Jamie Prictor's powerful shot struck the defender at point blank range. That followed two penalty appeals in the first half for the home side which weren't given.
However, laying the blame for the loss on the match officials would be to distract from Bassett's failings in front of goal on a frustrating afternoon.
The opening period was an even affair, with neither side able to get on top for any lengthy spell. The visitors though did look the more fluid of the two teams, their tactics being to catch Bassett on the break and try and utilise the pace of forward Lewis Waldon and right winger Dan Drewett.
And it was a counter that brought their opening opportunity after eight minutes, but Drewett struck a curling shot from the edge of the area that was comfortable for a diving Collier, who was playing in goal given Kurtis Sharkey and Alex Bowers were both unavailable.
At the other end, Brad Pagliaroli forced Lawrence to parry away at his near post before a Dale Richards delivery dropped perfectly for TJ Bohane, but his powerful drive from twelve yards was blocked, with Bassett insisting it had come off a hand.
The remainder of the period produced only half chances, Morse and Lewis Waldon seeing low strikes deflected wide, while Bohane glanced a header from a Pagliaroli corner over the bar.
In the final stages of the half, Bassett should really have been awarded a penalty too as an attempted cross from Josh Shama was clearly handled by Matt Horsell with his hands above his head. Yet neither referee Oliver Cross nor his assistant Gordon Varley spotted the infringement.
While the game continued to be evenly matched following the restart, Bassett were the side carving out the lion's share of the opportunities. Yet they were unable to capitalise.
On 53 minutes, Rob Lincoln was set free in the left channel after good build up play from Bohane and Pagliaroli, but rather than shoot from what admittedly would have been a tight angle after bearing down on goal, he sought to play a square pass to a teammate that lacked the required precision.
Two minutes later, Danny Lachacz steered in a free kick from the left wing, which Bohane rose highest to meet with a back-post header. However, Lawrence did brilliantly to get down low at his near post and parry away.
A fizzing effort from Pagliaroli then whistled past the post, before Bohane curled narrowly over. His shot was deemed to have taken a deflection, and the corner that followed was only half-cleared. Dan Cole recycled a cross into the box, which Lawrence failed to claim. And the ball dropped invitingly for Shama, whose snap shot from twelve yards crashed off the bar.
Those misses ultimately proved costly.
Shrivenham continued to have success when catching their hosts with too many men committed forward. And it didn't help Bassett that one ball over the top frequently left centre halves Gough and Steve Yeardley exposed.
One such pass should arguably have resulted in the dismissal of the latter as he dragged Prictor down just outside the box when chasing the forward as the last man. Fortunately, only a yellow card was produced and the free kick that followed was spun harmlessly over the bar by Ryan Stanners.
After Bohane had narrowly missed the target at the other end, another dangerous counter was ended in a foul by Gough on Prictor that earned the Bassett youngster a booking.
The resulting free kick, taken by Sam Ockwell, then bounced around the box. The ball fell to the feet of Prictor who shot at goal. But, standing a couple of feet away, it struck Gough, with Cross deeming the defender to have handled when in reality he could have done little to get his arm out of the way.
Bassett's protests proved in vain, and Morse kept his composure to send Collier the wrong way.
The home side appeared unnerved by the goal, and had their manager to thank that Morse didn't add a second two minutes later as Collier tipped over a rising shot from twenty yards.
The belated introduction of Gio Wrona and replacement of Lincoln by debutant Cameron Lagan helped inject new life though and soon Bassett were laying siege to the Shrivenham goal.
Bohane's drive from the edge of the area was initially spilled by Lawrence before being hacked clear. Moments later, Lagan saw his snap shot blocked, with the rebound falling for Wrona, whose first time daisycutter from 25 yards flew inches wide. Then, with nine minutes remaining, Lagan dragged wide from a promising position following a Bohane cutback.
That should have been Bassett's final chance, but the hosts had a let off when Drewett shot straight at Collier when in acres of space.
Unable to kill off the game, Shrivenham were immediately forced onto the back foot.
With stoppage time looming, Pagliaroli set to Lagan on the edge, who found an angle to shoot. And he had Lawrence beaten, only to see the post come to the 'keeper's rescue.
A clever through ball from Pagliaroli then played in Lagan, but the forward opted to shoot from an angle rather than square inside, and Lawrence was able to guide the ball around the post.
Their goal had lived something of a charmed life, but ultimately Shrivenham were able to hang on for their first win of the season – and their first league victory over Bassett.
For Collier and his men, lacking the clinical edge in front of goal that they have frequently shown in the embryonic stages of this campaign - it was a case of what could have been.
Man of the Match: Danny Lachacz – the midfielder justified his immediate return to the starting line-up after a three-game absence with another solid performance.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Monday 27th August 2018 at 19:04