John Mills, Gio Wrona
For the first time in club history Royal Wootton Bassett Town will take their place in the Buildbase FA Vase third round.
A superb, clinical performance from Sam Collier's side that was capped by well-taken goals from John Mills and Gio Wrona saw Bassett deservedly defeat Torpoint Athletic and - at the 21st time of asking - book a place in the last 64 of a competition in which, historically, the club has struggled to achieve success.
For many clubs, such an achievement may not be much to write home about. But for Bassett this was a special victory - and one those involved can be hugely proud of.
From one to eleven, Bassett were excellent, delivering quality performances across the pitch which the occasion demanded.
And that meant Bassett's Cornish visitors - flying high in the South West Peninsula League Premier Division East and having already claimed a Hellenic League scalp in the Vase - were well beaten. The visitors were lively and lived up to the billing as a team who would pose a stern challenge.
Yet Bassett defended with a level of poise, calmness and discipline that meant Torpoint rarely tested Eddie Cavanagh.
Indeed the only opportunity they created which left the Bassett 'keeper with much to think about came in the third minute when Charlie Hardcastle fizzed in a free kick from a dangerous position on the edge of the area that was palmed away.
Torpoint were a more than competent side and one who, if they continue on the trajectory they are on in the league and secure promotion, will hold their own at step five. But for all their fluent play and the pressure they were able to exert, the visitors encountered a Bassett defensive wall that was not willing to be breached.
Bassett faced resistance from the Torpoint defence too, but with the pace of Matt Bennett and skill of Bailey Gallagher and Tommy Ouldridge to deal with, the visitors' backline did appear more vulnerable.
After Chris Taylor stole possession inside Torpoint territory, Bennett came close to breaking the deadlock on 25 minutes but saw his powerful drive deflected over. The resulting corner then fell for Ouldridge at the far post and his attempted cutback was nervously hacked away from danger.
The dangerous looking Ryan Richards blasted well over for the visitors after controlling a clipped Callum Thompson pass. But it was Bassett who gradually emerged as the side posing the greater threat.
With ten minutes left until half time Taylor picked out Bennett again with a diagonal ball and the forward, having beat the offside trap, cut inside from the right. Aiming a low left foot shot towards bottom right corner, Bennett almost had the beating of Jason Peters, but the Torpoint 'keeper read the forward's intentions and was able to save low, claiming full control of the ball at the second attempt.
The 'keeper could do little to deny Mills on the stroke of half time though.
As the game started to open up, the teams had exchanged chances with Ouldridge shooting straight at Peters and Richards skewing over following Hardcastle's driving run. With those opportunities squandered, it seemed as though half time would arrive with the deadlock still yet to be broken.
But Gallagher seized possession from first half substitute James Forrest before being bundled to the floor by the defender on the left edge of the box. Mills stepped up to take the free kick full of confidence and proceeded to curl a superb low strike beyond the reach of Peters and into the opposite corner.
It was the perfect time to score and a goal that appeared to dent the visitors' confidence going into the interval.
And Bassett almost capitalised on that, creating two excellent chances to extend their lead shortly after the restart. Patient play between Mills and Bennett opened up space for Macauley Dodson to deliver a low cross from the right which Ouldridge steered narrowly over at the near post. Gallagher then forced Peters into a low save after latching onto a Wrona through ball.
However, momentum soon started to swing towards Torpoint and Bassett were not helped by the forced withdrawal of both Mills and Bennett. With Collier reshuffling his front six to accommodate those changes, Bassett briefly appeared unsettled and unable to maintain any meaningful possession high up the pitch.
That allowed Torpoint to come onto Bassett. And after a Taylor lunge gave the Cornish side a free kick on the hour mark, Curtis Demerell headed into Cavanagh's hands from Lewis Pacey's eventual delivery. Five minutes later Torpoint came forward again. The dangerous Hardcastle forced a turnover in possession before playing into the feet of Hardcastle who set to Richards. But the forward could only lift a shot over from fifteen yards out.
Soon enough though any pressure Bassett were under was lifted. Their second goal did come somewhat against the run of play but it arrived following a well-worked move.
From the right wing Ouldridge floated a pass into Mills' replacement Alan Griffin and the veteran forward spread play out to Wrona on the left. The midfield then struck a crisp left-foot shot from 25 yards out that, aided by a slight deflection off Forrest, had Peters well beaten.
Coming with twenty minutes to go, Wrona's goal sucked out any wind that was left in Torpoint's sails. Clearly frustrated, the visitors started to lose their discipline and weren't helped by leading scorer Richards earning himself ten minutes in the sin bin.
Once returned to the field of play, Richards did have half a chance to halve the deficit his side faced but skewed an effort way off target after Callum Thompson's corner fell to him at the far post.
Indeed, it appeared that if any further goals were to be scored in the game's final stages, they would only have added to Bassett's margin of victory.
Gallagher struck inches over after fashioning an opening on the edge of the box, Will Davidson forced Peters to tip over a back foot header from a Wrona set piece delivery and Griffin weakly stabbed wide when a misplaced Pacey header landed in the forward's path.
Any additional goals would have only added a little extra gloss to an excellent afternoon though.
Bassett had been superb throughout - and deservedly made club history.
Bring on the third round - and an opportunity to extend this club record further as the Hellenic League's sole remaining representative in the competition.
Man of the match: Will Davidson - the left back was the standout performer in a defence that did little wrong throughout the entire match. Davidson's display was faultless and a key reason why Bassett were able to successfully contain Torpoint's dangerous attack.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Sunday 21st November 2021 at 14:01
John Mills, Gio Wrona