Wootton Bassett Town were shutout for the second time out of three home games as they were beaten 2-0 by Hook Norton thanks to two second half goals and some help from referee Brian Proffitt, who was officiating Bassett's second game in succession.
An extremely dubious penalty given three minutes into the second half was the tip of the iceberg as Proffitt was inconsistent throughout and changed his mind after telling Hook Norton's Shaun Lambourne he was being sent off as he proceeded in only giving a yellow card after protests from the visitors.
Hook Norton were never two goals better than Bassett and it was the home side who had more chances in the opening forty-five.
Eight minutes in, Nathan Hall's glancing header went just wide after he connected with a Matty Bennett cross.
Midway through the first half the visitors did find the bar as Lee Harris's free header bounced back out from Rob Canaway's set piece.
The first moment of controversy came in the 25th minute when Bennett had beaten Lambourne, who due to this hacked him down when the right winger was bearing down on goal. Lambourne removed his shirt after being told he was being sent for an early bath but Proffitt then rescinded that and produced a yellow instead.
Just before the half hour John Magani almost gave Bassett the lead after a mazy run. After taking on three defenders he tried to chip oncoming 'keeper Richard Meadows but the ball rolled just wide of the right post.
Seven minutes before the break John Haines produced a fine save, diving to his left to deny Ryan Breslin from a free kick.
A minute later Lee Beavis' ball over the top was chested down by Magani who turned his man. His shot under pressure though from just inside the box looped just wide.
On the stroke of half time Bennett was chopped down by Gavin Hansell, who had no intention of playing the ball, and Hansell was cautioned. Bennett then whipped in a free kick that Magani headed just over.
Three minutes after the restart Bassett were behind. After overrunning a cross, Greg Shawyer went crashing to the ground and Proffitt blew for a penalty, adjudging Shawyer to have been pushed by Rich Gee who made minimal, if not any contact. Captain Canaway duly dispatched the penalty.
In the 56th minute Bennett cut the ball back from the byline to Nathan Hall but his effort was blocked and rolled out for a corner.
An injured Steve Bunting was replaced by Stu Hemsley on the hour mark before Mark King replaced Paul Crabtree with under 15 minutes to go as Bassett searched for an equaliser.
With nine minutes left a Hall corner was flicked on by Magani, falling at Yeardley's feet ten yards out but Meadows did enough as he scrambled off his line to block the Bassett skipper's effort.
The game was killed off in the 84th minute as Bassett failed to clear a Breslin cross and James McMahon tapped in after Lee Harris hooked the ball back into the danger area.
Yeardley and Hall both came close in the dying stages before McMahon had a chance to make it three in injury time but headed over from six yards following Harris' cross from the left hand side.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Lee Beavis – didn't put a foot wrong all game and looked composed and steady in the centre of defense.
Scoop Rating: 7/10 – the first goal made heads drop but Hook Norton were never two goals better and the game could have gone either way.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Sunday 20th September 2020 at 14:44