Quality victory ends home hex
Saturday 23 November 2019 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 24 November 2019 at 09:56)
Royal Wootton Bassett Town finally recorded a first home win of the 2019-20 season as they defeated Flackwell Heath 2-1.
Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, 23rd November 2019
At the fourteenth time of asking this season, Royal Wootton Bassett Town finally won a competitive home fixture as they triumphed 2-1 against Flackwell Heath.
Winning for the first time at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground since a 4-2 victory against Holmer Green in March, Sam Collier's side earned a vital three points courtesy of a high-quality display.
Handing full debuts to youngsters George Ford and Dan Warre, the Bassett boss was taking something of a risk. But they repaid his faith in their manager and showed that they can perform at this level, putting in performances at full back and winger respectively.
And Collier was rewarded by the rest of his side too, who played with a high tempo, a feature of their missing for the most part so far this campaign, throughout the game.
Bassett sought to show positive intent from the start and came close to taking a third minute lead when TJ Bohane headed narrowly wide.
The visitors then also produced an early opportunity as a neat move involving Leuis Sinclair and James Mansfield led to the ball being fed through for Ashley Howell whose shot was just off target.
Shortly after Marcus Richardson's flick picked out Sinclair, but he could only strike straight at Matt Bulman.
The best chance of the half fell to the hosts midway through the period. Bassett were able to get in behind the Flackwell defence and with Mark Francis one-on-one with Aaron Watkins looked destined to take the lead. However, the Heathens 'keeper saved expertly with his legs to preserve parity.
At the other end the veteran Richardson fired over the bar after a square pass from Mansfield, an even first half eventually ending goalless.
Just as they had done in the opening period, Bassett fashioned an early chance after the restart. And this time they took it, Bohane netting for the fifth time this season with a neat left-foot finish.
On the hour the lead was almost doubled. Bohane slipped through Francis but the forward was denied by another good save from Watkins when played through one-on-one.
The visiting 'keeper was appearing to be a source of frustration for Bassett, his two fine stops having helped keep his side in the match.
But he was soon to be beaten for a second time, though again did his best to help prevent a goal that was gifted to the hosts. An attempted Mansfield backpass when straight to Francis, whose shot was saved well. However, the rebound fell to the forward and he squared to man of the match Gio Wrona, who fired in to the net.
With twenty-five minutes remaining, there was still plenty of time for Flackwell to launch a comeback. And Bassett had to be on their guard to prevent that.
Flackwell felt they should have had a penalty when Muhamadou Ceesay, having breached the defence, was pulled back, but the referee waved play on. Ceesay was eventually able to get a shot off and looked as though he was going to score. However, a great save by Bulman denied the forward.
Ceesay did eventually get the better of Bulman, pulling a goal back in stoppage time – the only dampener on an otherwise fine afternoon for the hosts.
However, there was no time for the Heathens to push for an equaliser as Bassett finally got off the mark at home.