Stephen Lynch, Roger Webb
Two well taken goals were enough for Royal Wootton Bassett Town Over 50s to take all three points in a closely fought encounter. Steve Lynch's deft touch and Roger Webb's cool finish, lifted Bassett to sixth and condemned pointless North Leigh to the bottom of the pre-lockdown table.
It was actually the visitors who looked much sharper in the opening 15 minutes. They had good possession, but determined and disciplined defending by Bassett restricted them to distance shooting off target on a number of occasions. Their only worthwhile effort was a 20 -yard free kick that was well held by Ceri Stephens.
After weathering the early storm, Bassett improved and stared to get on the ball more in midfield. This led to a couple of half chances for striker Darren Hayes, who hit the target with one effort, and saw another go narrowly wide. Roger Webb also robbed the North Leigh 'keeper but could not squeeze the ball in from a tight angle.
In a first half of few clear-cut chances, the deadlock was broken on 35 minutes. Tim Lewis played a ball in from the right and Steve Lynch's telescopic foot connected to guide the ball beyond the visiting 'keeper's left hand.
North Leigh had a good chance to level on 40 minutes when an attacker broke into the area only to hesitate and allow Paul Jack to mop up the danger. There was one further scare for Bassett before the break when Stephens cleared hurriedly under pressure, but Bassett survived and went into half-time 1-nil to the good.
Bassett rang the changes for the second period, and two of the new boys made important interventions early on to keep Bassett ahead. 2nd half keeper Sean Boyle double-fisted a wicked free-kick to safety, before Carl Johnson cleared a header off the line, as North Leigh laid siege to the Bassett goal, assisted by a strong wind at their backs. Bassett however stood firm, with John Stack and Paul Jack particularly prominent in holding the visitors at bay.
Then on the hour mark, against the run of play, Bassett doubled their lead. A through ball from Steve Lynch found Roger Webb in space on the edge of the box. The North Leigh 'keeper rushed out to block but Webb calmly collected the loose ball and continued into the area to slot home into the empty net.
This seemed to inspire the home team, and they created further chances to extend their lead. Tony Gleed bobbled a 30-yard effort wide before firing over moments later when well placed. Jason Parr also tried to get in on the act, but his close-range drive was just off-target.
North Leigh continued to pound away at Bassett's resolute defence but left themselves open to the counter. On 75 minutes Tim Lewis broke clear but the 'keeper forced him to fire wide. The away side continued to fire blanks, and a late off-target header summed up their day as Bassett refused to buckle to claim a valuable first win.
This was a great team effort by the "Royals" who showed good character to hang in during some difficult moments and took their chances when they came along. The team looked well organized, due in no small part to a clear plan from manager Paul Gardner. They now need to take this improvement into tougher tests to come after lockdown.
Man of the Match: Steve Lynch - Vital first goal and great pass for the second. Anchored midfield superbly with Bryan Wood.
Credit: Ceri Stephens
Last modified on Monday 2nd November 2020 at 11:43
Stephen Lynch, Roger Webb