Tom Messenger headed home a goal in the final minutes of a tense encounter against Almondsbury that could change Bassett's fortunes heading into a crucial final nine games. Messenger, after having a header disallowed in the first half, sent Bassett above Pewsey in the table following the 1-0 victory.
A much changed team including Ben Gascoyne, Daryl Simms, Ash Bradshaw and Dave Tyler – players that didn't feature in Saturday's 5-0 drubbing to Slimbridge – took the game to their opponents from the off and Gascoyne nearly broke the deadlock inside two minutes. However, 'keeper Tristan Westlake was well positioned to stop the forward's shot.
At the other end, the Bassett defence, which was missing Andy Hallett and Rob Hopkins, were dealing easily with Almondsbury's route-one style allowing the Bassett attack to apply good, early pressure.
In the 13th minute, Lee Morse sent a beautiful ball in from the right, finding the head of Messenger at the far post and the ball flew past Westlake into the back of the net. However, the fervent appeals from Almondsbury players and manager Nick Tanner were enough to change the referee's mind as they said the ball had left the field of play before Morse crossed in.
Seven minutes later, the home side had their first chance but Simms collected Paul Dempsey's shot easily. Then, a low free kick from Gary Powell tested the Bassett 'keeper but he was again equal to the effort.
Pacy front-runner Justin Bishop struck over from eighteen yards on the half hour after taking the ball away from his marker and shooting on the turn.
Gascoyne – who had played 120 minutes of reserve team football the night before – was took down by Dempsey in the 35th minute, which earned the midfielder a yellow card.
Bassett continued to push on in search of the goal they needed at the start of the second half and in the 52nd minute squandered a good chance to get it. Dave Tyler sent a through ball in behind the Almondsbury defence for Gascoyne to run onto. The finish from Gascoyne lacked quality though and the ball nestled into the side netting.
Three minutes later, more good work from Gascoyne enabled Carl Taylor to whip in a cross that Leigh Jones connected to with a glancing head but Westlake saved.
At the other end Marcus Mapstone headed over a Craig Davidge corner before a quick Davidge through ball put Bishop in behind the Bassett defence. Bishop tried lobbing the oncoming Simms but the ball rolled wide and out of the reach of Anthony Bennett.
Bishop found himself in the book with fifteen minutes left due to his persistent fouling.
Bassett continued applying the pressure against a shaky defence but didn't look like scoring through the tiring front two.
But with just over four minutes to go Ash Bradshaw whipped an in-swinging corner to the far post where Messenger connected with it with his head and sent the ball through a pack of defenders into the back of the net.
With Hungerford beating Pewsey 4-1, the result sent Bassett to third from bottom with ten points to gain on their rivals with nine to go. It's up to the players now to produce performances like this one through the last few games and get the points required to pull them out of trouble. The team did it last year, why not this year?
Manager's Man of the Match: The Whole Team
Scoop's Man of the Match: Ben Gascoyne – had a point to prove after letting the team down earlier in the year and did it in some style. After playing 120 minutes the night before in a reserve cup match, it made his performance that extra bit better. Unlucky not to score but his strength and pace were a key factor in the win. Brilliant games also for Tom Messenger, Lee Morse, Leigh Jones and Daryl Simms.
Scoop Rating: 9/10 – A super team performance – the 4-4-2 system employed worked well and the team produced a performance like none other this season.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Wednesday 16th September 2020 at 12:57