Royal Wootton Bassett Town recorded their second Hellenic League Premier Division win of the season as they triumphed 3-1 away against Ardley United.
Trips to north Oxfordshire to take on Ardley United have rarely been kind for Royal Wootton Bassett Town. Heading into their latest visit to the Nolan Oils Ground, Bassett had triumphed just once in fourteen previous meetings, that lone victory coming 21 years ago in October 1998. And an Ardley victory on this occasion would have made it five straight defeats at a rather unhappy hunting ground.
But, injecting life back into their season, a resolute display from Sam Collier's side, which combined a solid shape with an outstanding workrate across the pitch, ultimately delivered a deserved 3-1 victory. Callum Parsons scored twice late on to seal the points, adding to Jonny Davoile's first half equaliser for the visitors.
Bassett demonstrated positive intent from the opening whistle, Gio Wrona, Alfie Presley and Davoile all having shots in the opening minutes, with the latter forcing an early save. A fine effort from Caine Bradbury then went narrowly wide as Bassett kept up the pressure.
It helped the visitors that Ardley were sitting back, seemingly intent on trying to catch Bassett on the break. Yet that tactic was having little success and it said something that when the hosts went in front, it came from their first chance.
Whether they should have had that opportunity is debatable though, considering it came as a result of Callum Rice fooling the referee to earn a free kick on the edge of the area which Twariq Yusuf fired beyond Declan Lehmann.
Bassett almost grabbed an instant reply as Parsons headed over from a Bradbury free kick before a great save from Lehmann denied Yusuf a second.
The visitors soon equalised and it came from a well-worked move. Tony Joyce brought the ball forward before feeding Bradbury, whose cross was met by a Parsons header that Jake Pritchard did well to keep out. But the 'keeper was unable to parry to safety and Davoile was on hand to tap in the rebound.
The teams then traded chances before the break. Ryan Barney's shot grazed the bar for the hosts before Parsons hit the post and Presley forced a good save from Pritchard at the other end.
Overall, it was a half that Bassett felt they dominated and it was with some misfortune that they weren't ahead at the break.
They began the second half on top again, Bradbury shooting wide and Parsons denied by an outstanding Pritchard stop.
Slowly though the game descended into a scrappy affair and Bassett were forced to be on their guard, Yusuf flashing a shot narrowly wide following a counter.
Eventually though, with less than ten minutes to go Bassett took their first lead of the day. The pivotal goal arrived in rather scrappy fashion, but that mattered little as Parsons forced the ball home following a corner.
Within minutes, he added a second. Aaron Oakley embarked on a mazy run forward that opened up space for Parsons to seal three points that a quality performance more than merited.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 12th October 2019 at 19:25