Ruthless Waters expose Bassett’s frailties

Saturday 14 December 2019 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 14 December 2019 at 19:23)

Royal Wootton Bassett Town suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat away against Virginia Water.

Stag Meadow, 14th December 2019

A clinical attacking display from Virginia Water brought Royal Wootton Bassett Town's three game winning streak to an abrupt end as Sam Collier's side suffered a 5-1 thrashing against a team who began the day two places below them in the Hellenic League Premier Division table.

Any momentum gained from that modest run of victories against Flackwell Heath, Holmer Green and Reading City was washed away as Bassett's defensive frailties were exposed early and often.

Bassett may look back on a fifteen minute spell at the start of the second half in which they were firmly in the ascendancy and wonder what could have been. That period began with Landon Golding, halving a 2-0 half time deficit and also saw penalty appeals waved away following a seemingly clear foul on TJ Bohane.

But in truth, Bassett were well-beaten – and deservedly so.

Demonstrating their ruthlessness in front of goal, of Virginia Water's six shots on target during the game, five found the back of the net.

The first arrived on eleven minutes. Play was switched out to Josh Hill on the right side and, allowed to advance forwards unopposed after his run had not been tracked, the full back eventually delivered a cross to the far post, which an unmarked Casey Bocarro guided into the bottom right corner with a precise header.

Jake Baker then doubled Virginia Water's lead on 26 minutes. A ball over the top caught out the Bassett defence and a pass was threaded through to Baker, who fired in low at the near post from the edge of the area.

Bassett now faced an uphill battle, but they were not helping themselves by playing too direct against a team who enjoyed an aerial advantage in defence. Only once did the visitors threaten during the opening period, coming when Bohane saw a far post header from a dangerous Caine Bradbury set piece delivery tipped wide by Matt Jones.

But following the restart, Bassett initially looked a different team. They began in energetic, fluent fashion and were rewarded on 48 minutes. Bassett's pressing forced a poor clearance, which Gio Wrona seized upon. He fizzed in a low cross from the left, which Jones could only parry, the loose ball falling straight into the lap of youngster Golding, who made no mistake with a simple finish.

Minutes later, Bassett came close to equalising when Bohane deftly headed a Dan Warre delivery towards the bottom corner, but Jones was able to save on the dive.

The hosts appeared to be struggling with the visitors. And that was no more apparent than when a well-worked move saw play worked to Bohane inside the Virginia Water penalty area, where he was clumsily caught from behind by Finn Kelly-Lewis. Much to Bassett's frustration, however, their appeals for a what seemed to most a nailed-on penalty were turned down.

Still, Bassett remained on top and their confident start to the second half gave reason for hope.

However, the wind was soon taken out of their sails as, shortly after the hour mark, the Waters stole possession in midfield and a neat one-two between Lorezno Di Felice and Josh Dillon led to the former calmly slotting beneath Declan Lehmann to restore his team's two goal lead.

Momentum was now back firmly with Virginia Water and they controlled the remainder of the game.

Dillon came close to adding a goal when his shot on the turn flashed narrowly wide of the post. He found his range with quarter of an hour remaining though, drilling a loose ball into the bottom corner after Bassett failed to clear from danger posed by Di Felice.

Lehmann then denied a powerful low strike from Bocarro. But the 'keeper was beaten for a fifth time in the closing stages as neither Tony Joyce nor Aaron Oakley took opportunities to clear from Dale Wright's low cross and Baker took full advantage, slotting home his second.

Already facing an emphatic defeat, to wrap up a sorry afternoon Bassett were even denied a late consolation as Oakley's stabbed volley from a Bradbury cross was tipped away by Jones.

Thus, after the promise of the previous weeks, Bassett reverted to type with their defensive woes resurfacing. They have now conceded three or more goals ten times in eighteen league contests thus far – a dire record that goes a long way to explaining why they remain mired in the lower reaches of the table.

Man of the Match: Caine Bradbury – offered a rare creative spark on an otherwise torrid afternoon.

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