Bassett have taken another step towards safety after holding off Abingdon United in a closely fought nil-nil draw. Performances from Jason Hillier, Mark Simpkins, Tony Macek and a remarkable effort from Chris O'Connell earnt Bassett a point.
I say a remarkable effort from Chris O'Connell because this was his first appearance for the Bassett Town first team since he was involved in a horrific car accident two years ago. To come back and play was remarkable, but to play outstandingly in your first full game back is even more so.
O'Connell was to be involved in some of the key action in the game and in the ninth minute nearly created a goal when Mark Vaughan connected with his free kick but Abingdon 'keeper Carl Wilkins dealt with the shot easily.
Two minutes later, a Bassett attack lead to a twenty yard Tony Macek shot being parried by Wilkins and on the follow-up Gary Ashford's six yard effort was somehow tipped on to the post and out of play by Wilkins.
The game was very evenly matched but Abingdon never really looked like troubling Jason Hillier in the Bassett goal. In the twelfth minute, a short Dave Beaven free kick was played to Dean Moss but Moss hit the ball miles over the bar.
Both teams exchanged chances with Bassett looking the most threatening in front of goal. On 26 minutes a Danny Clayton cross looped over Wilkins head but Gary Ashford couldn't connect with the ball at the far post.
Abingdon had another chance in the 29th minute when Dean Moss fired a shot from the edge of the area but Jason Hillier dealt with it well.
Bassett began to sit on the back foot and another Abingdon chance went beggingly wide when Mark O'Hara struck his free kick just past the post.
Dave Beaven had a chance for Abingdon two minutes from time when his shot from 25 yards skidded up just in front of Jason Hillier but Hillier dealt with the bounce well to collect the ball.
Beaven again troubled Hillier – this time on the stroke of half time when Hillier easily saved his shot from the edge of the area.
The scores were tied at the break with both teams playing well but neither team controlling the game.
The second half again was to be tight with the Bassett defence keeping Abingdon out. Bassett were being put under pressure in the first few minutes of this half and nearly went a goal behind when a Pete Moss header looped over Jason Hillier from a corner but the outstretched Tony Macek got a hand to the ball to tip it over.
Pete Moss again troubled Bassett this time in the 57th minute when Mark Simpkins cleared Moss' shot off the line after Moss had rounded Jason Hillier. Five minutes later Bassett made their first change when Justin Hyde got his first taste of action since playing against Didcot Town in mid-February as he replaced Neil Bridges.
Bassett continued to open up the Abingdon defence only for some slack passing to halt attacks. In the 66th minute Mark Vaughan spotted a hole in the Abingdon defence only for his intended pass to Gary Ashford to go into touch.
Tempers began to start to flare and in the 73rd minute Bassett had Stu Hemsley booked for pulling an Abingdon midfielder to the ground. From the resulting free kick, Pete Moss hit just wide from a Dave Beaven ball which he had put in after his free kick rebounded back off the Bassett wall.
Bassett again nearly opened up the Abingdon defence twelve minutes from time when good play from Chris O'Connell and Mark Vaughan earnt Bassett a corner although Justin Hyde and Gary Ashford were waiting for the ball in the box.
Two minutes later Bassett were reduced to ten men when Stu Hemsley was given his marching orders and a second yellow card for a professional foul. This led to a nervous last ten minutes for Bassett as Abingdon began to fire all cylinders.
First, from the resulting free kick following Hemsley's dismissal, Jason Hillier was forced to tip over Abingdon substitute James Organ's twenty-five yard free kick. Bassett then brought youngster Ben Jarrett on for Gary Ashford to give Bassett some fresh firepower up front.
Mark Simpkins again saved Bassett three minutes before stoppage time when he headed a Pete Moss header off the line.
Moments later, Jason Hillier was forced into action once more when he saved an Andy Marriot header comfortably. Bassett made their final change on the stroke of full time when Mark Hammond replaced Damon Sefton.
Bassett had secured a point with a solid performance.
Manager's Man of the Match: Mark Simpkins
Scoop's Man of the Match: Chris O'Connell – a solid ninety minutes in his first game back for the first team.
Scoop Rating: 7/10 – A solid performance from Bassett, but shaky in places.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Wednesday 2nd September 2020 at 14:35