Buildbase FA Vase
Second round proper
Bridgwater Town 2, Royal Wootton Bassett Town 1

BRIDGWATER Town’s new era under the ownership of Adam Murry began with a close-run victory over Royal Wootton Bassett Town at Fairfax Park, taking the hosts into the third round of the FA Vase.

This was the Robins’ first match since October 31 - when they defeated Welton Rovers 5-0 in the Vase first round - due to the national Covid-19 lockdown.

In that time, Bob Buckingham has been approved as the club’s new chairman, as part of its move towards becoming a limited company under the control of Murry - who helped rescue AFC Bournemouth from administration and appointed Eddie Howe as Cherries manager in 2009.

Murry has committed to bringing in new players, making stadium improvements and creating a youth academy.

For now, the task at hand was progress in the Vase, against determined visitors from the Hellenic League.

On a pitch that was heavy due to recent rainfall, both teams showed signs of rustiness after the extended break.

Wootton Bassett captain Sam Ockell clipped the post with a 25-yard free-kick, but it was the home side who went ahead with their first real attempt on goal after 15 minutes, as Tom Fry’s set-piece delivery found the unmarked Tom Ellis at the far post and he side-footed home.

More chances followed - home goalkeeper Jake Viney did well to turn Adam Corcoran’s volley over the top, then Robins striker Jack Taylor hit the bar with a deflected cross - but it wasn’t until four minutes into the second half that a second goal arrived.

Taylor found Mike Duffy, who attempted to round Harrison Ellis, but the keeper got a hand to the ball and both players fell to the floor.

Duffy, however, showed considerable awareness to swivel round - while still sitting - and scoop the loose ball home for 2-0.

Fry’s fierce shot skimmed the top of the bar as Bridgwater sought a third, but it was the visitors who controlled the last half-hour and had their opponents hanging on at the end.

With 15 minutes to go, a penalty was awarded for a foul just inside the box, and TJ Bohane - who had earlier missed a presentable headed chance - thumped the ball home.

Former Robin Kyle Tooze was always a threat for Wootton Bassett, and it took a perfectly judged tackle from George Painter to deny him when he was just about to pull the trigger.

Tooze also sent a fierce shot a foot wide, but with Bohane sin binned for 10 minutes late on, Bridgwater managed to cling on and secure passage to the third round.

That tie is to be played on Saturday, December 19, and it will be the Robins’ next match, with all Toolstation Western League games having been postponed up to that date.

Bridgwater Town: Jake Viney, Dave Thorne, Jordan Greenwood, Mark Armstrong, George Painter, Tom Ellis, Archie Sturdy (Sam Towler 59), Tom Fry, Sam Crumb (Adnan Hiroli 74), Jack Taylor, Mike Duffy. Subs not used: Olly Morris, Jake Llewellyn, Ben Kirk, Josh Williams, Paul Jehanno. Attendance: 191.