A dubious Dominic Dunton penalty ended Wootton Bassett Town's unbeaten home record as Cirencester United avenged their defeat in the Challenge Cup last month with a 1-0 victory.
Bassett once again were substandard and the loss puts Bassett a few places down in the table as they try to catch the teams above them.
Stu Hemsley had a 20-yard volley go over after 5 minutes before an unmarked Ian Probert should have given the visitors the lead six minutes later. An Ian McSherry cross from the right found Probert at the far post but his first time effort was weak and rolled wide of the upright.
Bassett then had two good chances in quick succession. Stu Hemsley and Steve Tucker played a neat one-two before Tucker sent a reverse pass to James Townsend on the edge of the area. Townsend's curling effort was just over though.
In the 21st minute Townsend sent a looping ball over the top of the Cirencester defence to Tom Messenger who found himself one-on-one with 'keeper Paul Thompson. Messenger struck the ball on the bounce and Thompson brilliantly parried away.
Bassett's marking in the middle of the park was allowing their opponents to counter attack often though and this nearly led to a goal for McSherry after a square ball from Probert. McSherry's 20-yard strike was just over though.
For the rest of the half United continued to attack in numbers, pressurising the Bassett back three and if it wasn't for some solid defending â€“ led by Steve Yeardley â€“ and poor finishing, Cirencester would have gone into the break with the lead.
Seven minutes after the restart Tucker had a shot smothered by Thompson before Cirencester broke. A high ball from Dunton was headed down to an unmarked Hall by Probert but Hall's effort went wide.
Two minutes later Messenger was judged to have dragged down an opponent, who made the most of the challenge, in the box and referee Adrian Forrester pointed to the sport. Dunton made no mistake with the penalty, drilling the ball into the bottom left corner.
Tucker headed just over from a Chris Mills cross just before the hour mark before Chris Hawkins replaced a disappointing Steve Bunting.
A foul by Dunton on Hawkins immediately after the substitution earned the Cirencester goalscorer a yellow card. From the ensuing free kick, Bassett had a chance to level but no one managed to get on the end of a whipped in Hemsley set-piece and the ball went across the face of goal untouched.
On 64 minutes, a great save from Chris Hawkins denied Hall from increasing the lead as the Bassett 'keeper parried before Steve Yeardley beat Hall to the rebound, clearing for a corner.
Hall struck just wide from a McSherry ball before Lee Marshall made his return to the first team fray following injury, replacing James Townsend to add more power to the frontline.
Richard Gee replaced Tom Messenger with thirteen minutes left as Paul Burke pushed Steve Yeardley into midfield to add more creativity to the centre of the park.
Bassett were then nearly undone at the back as McSherry powered a shot from a tight angle which beat Hawkins and cannoned off the bar.
Bassett couldn't find a goal in the last five minutes of the match but this period did produce two bookings â€“ one for Cirencester's Hall after he delayed the restart of play and another for Steve Yeardley after a foul.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Steve Yeardley â€“ another solid display at the back, winning important tackles and headers.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 â€“ Another below standard performance but this time no result was picked up. Sloppy marking allowed Cirencester to catch Bassett out on the break and without the presence of Matty Bennett, Bassett lacked a player who would run at a defence that was solid but also quite old.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Thursday 17th September 2020 at 18:56