Stanley Perry (2), Austin Tanner (2), Phanuel Asenso, Finley Marchment, Rhys Poulton
Due to busy television schedules, the Blues saw their fixture moved to a morning kick off which worked perfectly as the sun broke past the clouds and bathed the pitch with glorious autumn warmth for the entire game.
Despite the unseasonal warmth, the Blues started the game as if they had just emerged from a long winter hibernation as they lacked energy and looked very lethargic in the opening exchanges.
With neither side looking particularly like they wanted to have the ball or win the game, the match settled into a rhythm of scrappy mini battles in the midfield, with the occasional burst that saw a cross or shot threaten either goal.
Captain for the second week running Bryan Willson picked up where he left off against Ramsbury as he intercepted a number of Highworth forward passes and calmly played out of defence. Defensive partner Indy Iles-Jones also looked composed alongside Willson and between them formed a formidable barrier that Highworth struggled against for the duration of the game. It was a good job the Blues had this safety net as they couldn't shake the sleepy mind set and struggled to assert any authority or control on the game.
As the first half progressed, Bassett started to find some joy down the flanks as Phanuel Asenso and Austin Tanner repeatedly drove down their respective wings and delivered crosses into the box, only to see them drawn to the keeper like a magnet on each occasion. Bassett continued to labour up the hill and finally managed to break down the stubborn Highworth defence who were waiting at the summit. Karol Czekanski started the move as he made a crunching tackle on the right hand side of midfield and saw the ball squirt into the path of Liam Lye-Owens on the right wing, who threaded a lovely through ball to danger man Phanuel Asenso who had made a superb forward run. Asenso raced onto the pall and prodded it first time beyond the keeper who had raced out to shut down the angle, capping off a nice Bassett move.
Highworth responded immediately though and had a good spell of attacking play that saw several opportunities just slide by the Bassett goal. Josh Griffiths was once again superb as the last line of defence, constantly offering passing options to his defenders, picking out great forward passes and racing out to gather the ball when the situation called for it.
Bassett then delivered a sucker punch as after weathering the mini Highworth storm, they launched an attack of their own down the left side where Lucas Burberry showed quick thinking to release Asenso who beat his marker and cut the ball back to Stanley Perry who then danced his way past two defenders with great footwork before deftly chipping the ball into the near top corner to double Bassett's lead just before half time. Whilst Bassett were fortunate to lead, they gathered at the break and there were some stern words among players as they exhorted each other for more energy and harder work, which they then delivered on in a much improved second half.
Tanner was moved up front in a bit of reshuffle and immediately helped raise the energy levels as he chased the ball down from kick off and won possession for the team. Shortly after, the Blues grabbed a third when Finley Marchment collected the ball and drove down the right flank, pulled the ball back inside to Czekanski who played a delightful through ball for Tanner to race onto and smash into the bottom corner. Three soon became four as Czekanski spread the play brilliantly to the right hand side where Marchment had found a fantastic space, he drove down the wing and spotted the keeper off his line, so drove a thunderous strike in at the near post from out wide.
Tanner was causing all kinds of problems for the Highworth defence and was unlucky not to score a wonder goal, when he saw his shot ricochet up in the air off the keeper, only to try an audacious double scorpion kick which looked like it had crept over the line, but the play was pulled back for a penalty, given for hand ball. Tanner stepped up and smashed the ball past the keeper to make it five.
Bassett then scored a lovely team goal with one of their better moves this season when Willson and Rhys Poulton first of all dispossessed a Highworth forward in the right back spot, played a one two out of defence and in to Marchment, who spun and delivered a lovely forward pass down the right wing to Tanner who stretched his legs and raced in on goal. Tanner looked up, spotted the keeper slightly off his line and attempted an outrageous Poborsky scoop, but the keeper made a superb save and was unlucky to see the rebound drop down on the line at the feet of Poulton who had followed the play from deep and tapped in to the empty net.
Perry then grabbed his second of the day and Bassett's seventh. Marchment again was the danger man driving down the right wing before delivering a lethal cross into the box, which deflected out to the edge of the area where the onrushing Perry calmly volleyed the ball first time into the bottom corner with supreme nonchalance.
As Bassett piled down the mountain in search of more goals they couldn't take advantage of the opportunities they created, with Tanner narrowly missing out on his hat trick on several occasions and Burberry going close several times only to be denied by some excellent defending. Bassett kept going to then end, but couldn't add to their tally. Willson who was vocal throughout and put in another stunning performance for Bassett grabbed the "Legendary Leader" accolade with a true Captain's performance. Karol Czekanski grabbed himself the "Pass Master" certificate following a display that contained a number of sublime and important passes to go with the crunching tackles and combative battling in the heart of the Bassett midfield.
It was Austin Tanner though who picked up a thoroughly deserved "Player of the Match" award. Although his goals were expertly taken and he had a hand in Poulton's goal, it was the shift in energy shown in the second half that secured it. With Bassett struggling to get going, Tanner's sprinting and forward pressure provided an example to follow which the team managed to latch on to and drag themselves to a better second half display and secure the result.
Bassett will need to build on this and start next weeks game against Supermarine with a much higher intensity if they want to keep up the pressure on league leaders Ramsbury.
Credit: Nick Lye-owens
Last modified on Sunday 25th October 2020 at 14:03