Royal Wootton Bassett Town 1 v 0 Brackley Town Saints
(Tuesday 5th September 2017)
After an excellent, if somewhat physically draining, win at Fairford Town on Saturday, Saints manager Gordon Kille chose to shuffle his squad around again for the visit to Royal Wootton Bassett Town on Tuesday evening. Ali Worby returned in goal, Sam Bridges and Sam Hartley were replaced in the defence by Dean March and Charlie Kille, Joeb Evans came back in to play alongside James Hammond in midfield, Matt Johnson moved into the number 10 role for the first time this season and Ryan Knight started on the left of the attack.
From the outset it was clear that this was a game between 2 teams with contrasting styles of play but with both fully committed to trying to achieve the win.
Saints in form striker Josh Bowden was first to get a strike at goal after just 2 minutes but it came to nothing and then Ali Worby was called into action to save a header from an early Wootton Bassett corner.
With just 14 minutes played Wootton Bassett's Sam Packer opened the scoring with a superb shot from the edge of the Saints area giving keeper Worby no chance, 1 – 0 to the hosts.
The remainder of the first half was played at a high tempo with Saints perhaps having more of the ball and chances but the hosts also had opportunities to stretch their lead, however there were no more goals before the break.
Half Time – Royal Wootton Bassett Town 1 v 0 Brackley Town Saints
In contrast to the end to end first half the second proved to be one-way traffic with Saints attackers Josh Bowden, Greg Kaziboni, Matt Johnson, and Ryan Knight creating spaces and chances almost at will, ably supported by Joeb Evans and Matt Hammond from the midfield, and attacking full backs Dan Middleton and Charlie Kille. When Wootton Bassett did manage to get forward the danger was averted quickly by the Saints central defenders Dean March and the excellent Joe Ward.
The hosts to their credit defended magnificently at times, used their physical advantage when necessary, had huge slices of luck such as those when corners are flying untouched across their six-yard box, and somehow survived when Saints were odds on to score.
Visiting players, officials, and fans were astonished when a clear handball in the Wootton Bassett penalty area was completely missed by the referee and his assistant before a particularly wild challenge on Greg Kaziboni led to another Saints free kick which was driven into the hosts defensive wall.
Saints manager Gordon Kille made changes bringing on Alex Stott, Chris Jordan, and Sam Hartley for Ryan Knight, Joeb Evans, and Dan Middleton but, if anything pushing more bodies forward seemed to close down the spaces that were being exposed previously and, unfortunately for Saints the game ended with Wootton Bassett picking up their 1st victory of the season.
Full Time – Royal Wootton Bassett Town 1 v 0 Brackley Town Saints
Despite not getting the result they deserved Saints players and officials should be able to take many positives from their performance. The attacking unit of Greg Kaziboni, Matt Johnson, Ryan Knight, and Josh Bowden looks very strong, well balanced, and difficult to defend against and everyone involved with Saints and the Brackley Town Academy will be delighted to see the progress being made by young central midfielders James Hammond and Joeb Evans.
Saints: Ali Worby, Dan Middleton, Joe Ward, Dean March, Charlie Kille, James Hammond, Joeb Evans, Greg Kaziboni, Matt Johnson, Ryan Knight, Josh Bowden
Subs: Alex Stott (replaced Ryan Knight), Chris Jordan (replaced Joeb Evans), Sam Hartley (replaced Dan Middleton), Sam Bridges, Callum Williams