Wootton Bassett Town put in a brave performance against leaders Slimbridge but came away with nothing as a late goal from Julian Freeman dashed Bassett's hopes of a late comeback and Slimbridge held on to win 3-1.
Tremendous goalkeeping from in-form Lee Flynn kept the home side from taking the lead on fifteen minutes when he tipped a Mike Green shot onto the crossbar following good work by Freeman; an out of position Rob Hopkins enabled Green to pull off his shot.
A minute later Flynn made another outstanding stop as he tipped a Matt Green shot onto the post after a ball was played over the top to the unmarked Slimbridge midfielder.
Slimbridge's relentless pressure paid off midway through the opening period. A long kick from 'keeper Ryan Chandler found Craig Cole in behind the Bassett defence and he slotted in an easy one-on-one with Flynn from ten yards.
Cole continued to cause problems for marker Rich Willis and if it wasn't for Flynn the score could have been greater.
Flynn pulled off his third heroic save in the 33rd minute as Matt Green produced a diving header at the back post, which Flynn tipped onto the post.
A minute later Slimbridge doubled the advantage – Freeman playing a low ball across goal and Cole sliding in to finish the move off unchallenged.
Danny Thorpe put a shot just wide five minutes from half time as he rolled his man after receiving the ball and fired wide from ten yards.
Bassett found the side netting a minute later as a ball over the top from Moses Green was flicked on by Andy Youngsam but Dave Tyler's half volley failed to hit the target.
Bassett emerged in the second half with extra energy and eight minutes after the restart a long Lee Flynn kick put Youngsam through one-on-one with a charging Chandler but Youngsam waited too long to take his shot and Chandler averted the danger.
Cole hit over from the edge of the area four minutes later after Ashley Thomas played a ball through over the top.
Bassett made their first change on the hour mark as Chris Mills replaced the disappointing Rob Hopkins.
A rash foul on Matt Bennett brought Lee Driver-Dickerson a yellow card in the 65th minute before Bassett clawed their way back into the match.
Matt Bennett played a through ball to Paul Patel who fired a cross in from the left to which Dave Tyler connected with and nodded the ball in the back of the net.
Youngsam and Bennett came close in a matter of minutes but neither troubled the scoresheet as Youngsam had his shot saved and Bennett hit just wide.
Flynn tipped a Driver-Dickerson shot onto the post eighteen minutes from time as both sides continued the end-to-end football.
In the 74th minute, Flynn made a point blank save after a run and shot from substitute James Ackland before Bassett brought Ashley Bradshaw on in place of Tyler.
A rash lunge from Andy Hallett drew him a booking nine minutes from the end before Slimbridge killed the game off.
Freeman nodded in a Mike Green corner to dash Bassett's hopes. Bassett battled to the end and three minutes from the end Steve Bunting – returning from his spell at Witney – was replaced by debutant Tom Messenger who looked solid in relief for Bunting who worked his socks off in the middle with Stu Hemsley.
Manager's Man of the Match: Lee Flynn
Scoop's Man of the Match: Andy Hallett – extremely solid as always at the back never making a mistake.
Scoop Rating: 7/10 – After a disappointing first half, the team played brilliantly in the second as they never gave up and ran Slimbridge close in a game that showcased great attacking football.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Friday 11th September 2020 at 09:45