Returning to competitive action for the first time since mid-December, Royal Wootton Bassett Town were always likely going to be rather ring rusty. And that proved to be the case as Sam Collier's side began their Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup campaign with a hard fought 0-0 draw away against Stonehouse Town in a game devoid of any real quality.
This was Bassett's second visit to the Hellenic League Division One West outfit this season, the teams having met in the Buildbase FA Vase in October. That day Bassett laboured to a 1-0 victory in a game in which the two sides largely cancelled each other out.
On this occasion, the teams again failed to create much in front of goal and neither side was able to draw first blood in their opening encounter in Group Two of the league's specially organised competition.
Having played most of the second half with ten men after George Smith was dismissed for an alleged headbutt, Bassett will be relatively pleased with the outcome.
But Bassett manager Collier will need more from his troops if they are to advance far in what has the potential to be a wide open competition.
In the opening period, Bassett had a couple of decent chances through TJ Bohane, though it was the hosts who had the best opportunity to open the scoring but an open goal was missed.
Action in front of goal was at even more of a premium following the restart. And Stonehouse were unable to make their man advantage count as Bassett tightened things up after Smith's debut was brought to an early conclusion.
Next up for Bassett is another tough away trip to face Division One West opposition as they visit local rivals Malmesbury Victoria on Friday before a home contest against Brimscombe and Thrupp next Tuesday.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Wednesday 14th April 2021 at 09:42