Adam Jones, Tom Warren
A brisk autumnal evening saw Royal Wootton Bassett Town Under 18s visit Shrivenham, for their first Thursday night game of the season.
Tom Warren started proceedings bang on 7:45, which led to a quick start from both Bassett and Shrivenham. The first clear chance of the game fell to Shrivenham, whose number 11 was played through with a long looping ball over the top from the Shrivenham keeper. A good last ditch challenge from Rhys Farron kept the scores level.
Just shy of a minute later, the same ball flicked on in the same position caught out Bassett. The flick on was picked up by number 11 again, who used his acceleration to outpace Bassett's defence. A cool and calm finish resulted in the hosts making it 1-0 inside five minutes.
Just after the restart, Nat Bell picked up the first yellow card of the game for dissent after a free kick was awarded on the edge of Bassett's area. The resulting free kick was comfortable for Steven Tilley to collect.
Bassett then had good sustained chances for five minutes, as well as putting some good deep balls into the box. Adam Jones and Alex Stephenson both putting in some good balls, but these were dealt with by the Shrivenham defence.
From this point, the game settled. Bassett looked a lot more comfortable on the ball, and were continuing to play some good passes and playing well in the final third. James Johnson made a great run from the right hand side into the centre of the pitch, but was tackled before a shot. This led to a brisk counter which Will Jeary stopped hastily with a firm but fair tackle.
The 36th minute saw the third clear cut chance of the game for Shrivenham, which was another long ball over the top, almost identical to the first goal. Number 11 picked the ball up from the flick on again, and found the bottom right with his shot from 12 yards out. 2-0.
The last 10 minutes of the half saw Bassett's best spell. There were notable chances for Bassett, including where Michael Gilder brilliant found space and turned well in the centre of the pitch. Unfortunately the shot was sliced wide.
In the last two minutes of the first 45, Shrivenham countered well, and ended up with a free kick for a handball on the edge of Bassett's area. The free kick forced a top save out of Steven Tilley at his bottom right, where he stretched well to tip the ball round the post for a corner. The resulting corner saw a free kick awarded to Bassett for a shove in the back.
Shortly after, the referee blew for half time, where Bassett, who played very well for the first half, may have felt hard done by being 2-0 down.
Shrivenham started proceedings in the second half. A misplaced pass and good press in midfield saw Bassett win the ball back fairly. A long shot wasn't enough to challenge the keeper, however, but Bassett started the half as they meant to go on.
After a good first five from Bassett, Shrivenham were forced to make a challenge on the edge of their box. The challenge looked enough to warrant a clear yellow card, but the referee kept his cards in his pocket, the keeper comfortably collecting the resulting cross into the box.
The second half was slow to get going, with no clear cut chances for either side. Bassett were the better side for the first 15 minutes of the half, and may have felt a goal was coming.
The 60th minute saw Bassett's first two substitutions of the game, with Nat Bell and Alex Stephenson both finishing their shifts after a tough but well played 60 minutes. Zane Pinnock and Harry Farron both came on.
From this point forward, the second half picked up. Almost immediately after, Adam Jones won the ball off the last man expertly and played Tom Warren through. However, good covering by the Shrivenham defence saw Bassett awarded with just a throw in. The Bassett attack challenged the keeper with a shot from the far right edge of the box, but this was saved by the keeper.
After sustained attacks again from Bassett, a counter attack saw Bassett looking vulnerable, but a tactical foul right in the centre of the park from Michael Gilder stopped that attack, but did warrent a yellow card, which seemed unjust to the Bassett lads as the tackle was no dissimilar to the challenge on the edge of the Shrivenham box on Bassett earlier in the half.
A free kick was awarded in the 75th minute to Shrivenham to the left hand side of the pitch. A long ball in fell to number 4 at the back post, whose shot was blocked and a corner was awarded. The corner forced a good save out of Steven Filley, who caught the ball in his top right corner.
Bassett were unlucky when a low ball in from the right by an unmarked winger was converted home right on the six yard line. The Shrivenham attacker took the goal well. 3-0 on the 80 minute mark.
Bassett made two substitutions after the goal, with Kieran Kirby and Howard Evans coming on for Dan Robbins and James Johnson, who both played very well for their first time at this level.
Bassett responded instantly, winning a corner on the left. Will Jeary fired it to the back post, where Kieran Kirby controlled excellently. He tried to put the ball back across, but was blocked for a corner on the opposite side. This corner was whipped in low with some venom. Michael Gilder flicked the ball goalwards from from post, but the keeper was able to pull out a good stop to deny Bassett scoring.
Just three minutes later saw the first yellow card of the game for Shrivenham. A free kick on the edge of Shrivenham's area was saved by the keeper. However the keeper's distribution was picked up by Bassett, and the ball was played to Adam Jones in the middle of the park. Jones danced his way through a couple of defenders and picked out the bottom left corner from the edge of the area to make it 3-1 with five minutes to go.
After another couple of good saves from Steven Tilley, James Johnson replaced the tired legs of Will Jeary, who played very well at full back. There was almost an immediate impact for Johnson, who won a penalty in the 91st minute. Tom Warren was the taker and scored brilliantly to the right as the keeper was sent left. 3-2.
There wasn't time for Bassett to try get an equaliser unfortunately, as the referee blew for full time almost instantly after the restart. Bassett played really well, and perhaps felt unjust not to pick up a point. However, it was a performance that Bassett should be proud of, and they should definitely take confidence for their next game.
Credit: Finlay Cooke
Last modified on Friday 18th September 2020 at 13:21
Adam Jones, Tom Warren