2022 started in difficult fashion for Royal Wootton Bassett Town as they slumped to a heavy 4-0 Hellenic League Premier Division defeat away against Wiltshire rivals Bradford Town.
All four goals came in the second half, the first three being scored by Bradford's leading marksman George Box, as the hosts - who adjusted far better to what was a heavy Trowbridge Road pitch - made sure Bassett's miserable form against sides in the top half of the division continued further.
Neither side acquitted themselves particularly well during the opening period with passes being played astray as the pitch served as a leveller.
In the opening 20 minutes the closest either side came was when John Mills blazed high and wide for Bassett from a free kick in an advantageous position.
Although there wasn't much quality on show, the final quarter of an hour before half time hinted at what was to come after the break though as Bradford started to threaten.
They were the first side to have a shot on target when Jake Brown got in behind the Bassett defence, but Eddie Cavanagh was equal to his shot, the 'keeper saving with his feet. Shortly after, the hosts did find the net. However that was ruled out for a push in the back. Charlie Wiles-Richards then came close as he placed a shot narrowly wide of target.
It didn't take long for the hosts to assert themselves following the restart as Box had netted twice by the game's 53rd minute.
Yet it was Bassett who should arguably have been ahead when Mills sent a glorious chance just past the post.
A minute later, however, his side were behind. Seizing on an attempted Dave Bampton pass, Bradford launched an incisive counter and, after a ball was played in over the top, an unmarked Box kept his composure to slot beyond Cavanagh.
An almost identical pass then set Box up for his second. This time though the forward had to produce a high quality finish as he rifled a half volley home from the edge of the area.
From that point on, there was only going to be one winner, the only question being by how many.
Fine last-ditch defending from Adam Corcoran and Sam Ockwell as well as an excellent Cavanagh save to deny Box initially kept Bassett's deficit to two goals.
But it was clear that at another Bradford goal was on the cards - and that arrived with eleven minutes remaining as Box sent Cavanagh the wrong way from the spot after Brown had been tripped in the area by debutant full back Aaron Woodley.
Box passed up the opportunity to grab a fourth in the closing stages. But another goal eventually arrived three minutes from time as Harvey Baker flicked in a header from close range after Bassett were guilty of failing to clear their lines.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Tuesday 4th January 2022 at 11:31