Two goals from Adam Giles were enough for Highworth to avenge their earlier season defeat to Bassett Town as they sent their rivals back into the relegation dogfight. Coming off four wins in their last six games, Bassett's recent run of form has taken a slump over the Easter period and with only three games remaining, they need to pick up as many points as possible.
Highworth had much of the early chances and on three minutes Shaun Terry found Paul Cooper whose shot went across the face of goal and wide. Matt Jack came close twice in quick succession but failed to hit the target on both occasions.
An anxious Bassett fell behind in the 13th minute when Giles rose to head in after an Ian McSherry corner was headed back across the face of goal to the rising Giles.
Pete Macklin troubled Bassett a minute after the goal as he saw Steve Bizley off his line but Macklin hit wide.
Giles came close again half way through the first half but he hit wide a Terry free kick on the turn.
Geoff Swatton could have levelled on 21 minutes when John Magani played him through one-on-one with Elliott Jackson but the Highworth 'keeper brilliantly parried away Swatton's shot.
Paul Patel was next to trouble Jackson but his long range effort in the 26th minute was tipped away. Three minutes later Swatton headed wide a deep Patel ball.
Six minutes from the break Patel was at work at the other end when he had to clear a Ross Adams header off the line before Paul Cooper fired the rebound over.
Swatton was booked for dissent four minutes later before Bassett had their best chance of the half when Swatton fired a ball across towards Matty Bennett whose powerful header was tipped onto the woodwork and cleared away by the Highworth defence.
Bizley was forced back into action in first half stoppage time when Terry played through Cooper but Bizley saved with his feet.
Cooper and Terry combined again three minutes into the second half and again Cooper failed to convert as he headed over a Terry cross.
Bassett brought Mark Hammond on for Paul Patel in the 51st minute. Three minutes later Bizley presented Giles with a golden chance but the Highworth forward hit well wide. Shaun Terry was then booked after a late lunge on Andy Hallett which could have seen him being sent off.
Carl Taylor made a welcome return to the first team and was brought on to replace Stu Hemsley in the 57th minute.
Bizley was again tested on 59 minutes when he comfortably held a Giles effort.
Twelve minutes after coming on Carl Taylor set up Mark Hammond with a great chance but at full stretch, Hammond hit over from ten yards after Swatton put a great ball across after linking up with Taylor.
Giles' physical presence sealed the game in the 73rd minute when he muscled his way through two Bassett defenders and struck in after latching onto a Jack ball.
Rob Harris was introduced for the off-form Steve Bunting ten minutes from time before John Magani was booked for foul which evoked a scrap involving virtually all 22 men.
In the last few minutes, Highworth put defender McSherry up front and he could have done even more damage but on three occasions he failed to convert his chances.
Bassett now face a big encounter at Almondsbury on Saturday followed by games against Brackley and Hook Norton and will look to gain wins at least against Almondsbury and Hook Norton to ensure safety.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Richard Gee – continued his great month with another super performance at the back showing poise and maturity.
Scoop Rating: 6/10 – Never embarrassed themselves but lacked the killer instinct upfront and lacked concentration to allow both goals.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 5th September 2020 at 15:19