No festive cheer as Bassett suffer derby disappointment
Wednesday 26 December 2018 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 26 December 2018 at 20:25)
Royal Wootton Bassett Town were beaten by Shrivenham for the second time this season as Sam Collier's side fell to a 2-0 Boxing Day defeat.
Barrington Park, 26th December 2018
Boxing Day derby defeats have become all too familiar for Royal Wootton Bassett Town in recent seasons, having suffered three straight festive losses against Highworth Town. With the Worthians' promotion to the Southern League, a new Christmas opponent was on the cards. But that change failed to yield a corresponding reversal in Bassett's fortunes as they were beaten 2-0 by Shrivenham.
Goals either side of half time proved Bassett's undoing as, in an eery reminder of their August Bank Holiday defeat against the same side, Sam Collier's team were guilty of failing to take their changes. Shrivenham, meanwhile, capitalised on theirs as they recorded a deserved victory. And there was even time to rub salt into Bassett's wounds when 'keeper Mike Alexander preserved a clean sheet by keeping out a TJ Bohane penalty.
All in all, it was an afternoon to forget for the visitors, though they did come closest to striking first as early openings for Rob Lincoln and Gio Wrona both brought shots that failed to find the target.
As in the opening fixture between the sides, Shrivenham proved dangerous from set pieces, and it took an excellent save from Ross Milloy - drafted in from the Development team to play between the sticks - to keep out a Sam Ockwell free kick on the quarter hour mark.
Eventually the hosts took the lead when, in the 33rd minute, Bassett failed to clear properly from another free kick, with the rebound dropping for Tom Ballard whose deflected effort flew in over Milloy.
Bassett did have an excellent chance to draw level almost immediately, but Bohane, on his weaker right foot, skewed wide from close range. Milloy was then brought into action again on the stroke of half time to tip over from Ballard.
Having gone into the break ahead, Shrivenham came out in the mood to extend their lead following the interval and were close to doing just that with only a minute elapsed when Ockwell sent a powerful drive narrowly over.
The Shrivenham captain would be the one to strike the decisive second with twenty minutes to go, firing in a free kick that Milloy was unable to keep out.
That should have spelled the end of the game as a contest, with Shrivenham continuing to apply pressure only for Milloy to deny Martin Hall and Ockwell again.
But Bassett earned a surprising opportunity to claw themselves back into proceedings when Tom Phillips was upended in the box on eighty minutes. However, Alexander guessed correctly, diving low to his left to parry away Bohane's spot kick.
Further insult was almost added to injury when Antonio Gerrish opened up from range, but Milloy did brilliantly to repel his effort and ensure the damage was limited.