Champions North Leigh came to Rylands Way off the back of two wins against Hungerford Town and Brackley Town and the reigning champions were favourites to see off Bassett who were without some key players. However, North Leigh got a shock as Bassett put in a fighting performance to earn a valuable point in a close nil-nil draw.
Without key players Danny Clayton, Mark Simpkins and Rich Stevens, Bassett had to use Wootton Bassett United 'keeper Kenny Regan to provide cover and Regan put in a brilliant performance to earn himself Man of the Match accolades, this game also saw the return of the inspirational Tony Macek.
Bassett were battling from the off and within four minutes had already come close as Lee Morse and Matty Bennett combined to set up Bennett for 2 shots on goal; the second shot was hit just wide after the first took a deflection back to Bennett. These chances developed after a great move from forwards Geoff Swatton and John Magani.
North Leigh were always going to be tough opposition and, in the fifth minute, showed why when they created an excellent chance but couldn't convert as Matty Shelton hit wide from a ball from captain Gary Murphy.
Swatton hit just wide from twenty five yards in the thirteenth minute when he nearly capitalized on a poor goal kick from North Leigh 'keeper Kevin Alder.
A minute later, and the action was at the other end as Harry Burnley had two chances in two minutes. First Burnley hit wide from the edge of the area; but the second chance was much closer. North Leigh counter attacked and Kevin Alder produced a long throw to put Burnley through but the shot grazed the top of the bar and went over as Bassett were caught on the wrong foot.
In the twentieth minute, Tony Macek came close but he hit wide after Carl Taylor and John Magani combined to put Macek through.
On the half hour mark, Adam Hamp volleyed wide from twenty five yards before on thirty three minutes Geoff Swatton latched onto a Lee Morse through ball but Swatton put the ball a fraction wide from the edge of the area.
Ten minutes from the break Bassett got their first booking of the year as Mark Vaughan was booked for holding back Harry Burnley on the edge of the area. Burnley stepped up to take the resulting free kick which was parried by Regan, he quickly recovered though as he smothered the rebound from Adam Hamp.
John Magani had a chance just before the break as he turned on the ball on the edge of the area and he hit a thundering shot just over. North Leigh had another good chance just before the half time whistle when Gary Murphy put in a cross and Matty Ellis put a diving header just wide from the six yard area.
Seven minutes after the restart and Bassett were let off the hook as Mark Lewis was presented with a golden opportunity with the ball at his feet and an open goal to hit into, but Lewis put the ball over from eight yards out.
Matty Bennett continued to shine with his skills and nifty footwork and in the 63rd minute he put through Geoff Swatton who shot from thirty yards out but he was denied by Alder. Three minutes later, Adam Hamp headed wide a Matty Shelton corner.
Neil Bridges was brought on for Bassett in the 69th minute when he replaced Carl Taylor after a superb performance from the young Taylor. Two minutes later and North Leigh were pressuring again as Matty Ellis fired over from fifteen yards out. North Leigh continued to put in a charge for a goal and Bassett made a defensive change in the 89th minute bringing Dave Jones on for John Magani – who again impressed and was given another large round of applause for his efforts. Bassett made their final change deep into injury time bringing Rob Hopkins off for Richard Gee.
North Leigh couldn't grab a goal in the end and Bassett had produced a brilliant performance to put an end to North Leigh's perfect record. Next will come a tough game against Ian Concannon and his Didcot Town side away who will be on a high after their FA Cup win over Ramsgate.
Manager's Man of the Match - Kenny Regan – for stepping in at the last minute for Rich Stevens.
Scoop's Man of the Match – Matty Bennett – a superb performance beating Carl Taylor for this honour. The youngster continues to shine with another mature performance.
Scoop Rating: 9/10 – Superb result for Bassett denting North Leigh's confidence after a perfect start. A great game all round.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Thursday 3rd September 2020 at 08:52