Their performance was far better than that put in against Cheltenham Saracens. However Wootton Bassett Town were once again not at their best, losing thanks to a solitary Dan Bailey goal three minutes into the second half against Cirencester United.
On a perfect night for football, Bassett enjoyed a lion's share of possession yet failed to threaten in front of goal until deep into injury time when Stu Hemsley blasted over from eight yards after darting into the box to connect with John Magani's low cross.
The night almost begun badly for Bassett when Lee Randall's in-swinging corner wasn't cleared and Ian Probert found himself with the ball at his feet ten yards out. After taking a touch, Probert struck a low effort at goal but luckily Matty Bennett was there to block the shot.
After conceding possession from their own throw in, the Bassett defence could only watch as Mark Belcher cut in from the right before striking a powerful shot at goal from beyond the 18 yard box yet the midfielder, on loan from Swindon Supermarine, was only able to hit just wide as the ball bent away from goal at the last minute.
A minute later Bassett had their first chance of the game as Bennett shot on the bounce from the edge of the area but wasn't able to hit the target.
Four minutes before the break Andy White did well to roll his man in the right corner before he cut the ball across the box to the edge of the area where Hemsley was waiting unmarked. The midfielder struck first time with a low effort, which Lee Clatworthy was only able to parry away.
The decisive moment of the match came in the 48th minute. James Domm was unable to smother Alex Rudd's low 20-yard drive and could only parry. Bailey was the first to react and raced in from the right to fire home from close range.
Being a goal down and with the front pairing of Andy White and Steve Shaw being made ineffective by the poor service given to them, Bassett made their first change on the hour as John Magani replaced White.
He almost made an immediate impact as it was his run down the right and low cross that created a great chance for Bennett to equalise in the 63rd minute. However the ball stuck in Bennett's feet and he was unable to get a shot off despite being just eight yards in front of goal.
A minute later Shaw's hanging cross from the left was connected with by an unmarked Magani but his header looped just over as the ball was a shade too high for the lively frontman.
Bassett were almost caught out again midway through the half as Alex Rudd raced beyond the last man to chase down a ball over the top. He cut the ball back for an unmarked Colin Curtis but his shot from a tight angle in the left corner of the box was brilliantly parried away by Domm.
Mark King replaced Shaw in the 68th minute before Marcus Neal replaced Danny Heath, who had worn himself out after a hard working display from the youngster ten minutes later.
Nine minutes from time Phil Hall cut in from the left wing before taking the ball past Steve Yeardley and Paul Crabtree to open up a shooting angle. Hall fired just wide from the edge of the box though.
Seven minutes before the end Magani was booked after racing in to break up a minor skirmish after Cirencester reacted angrily to a Yeardley foul.
Five minutes from the end Hall again nearly created a second for the hosts. After using a great piece of skill to get by Rich Gee – the forward hooking the ball over the defender – he played a cross field ball to Rudd but the forward couldn't finish the move as he struck wide from 18-yards.
Then came Bassett's last great chance: Magani beat his man down the right with a sudden change of pace before sliding a low cross into a crowded box. Hemsley raced in, went for the top corner with his first time effort but put the ball the wrong side of the crossbar.
The game ended on a sour note for Bassett as midfielder Tom Messenger, in his first appearance back for the first team since a long spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, had to be carried off after aggravating it once more.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Stu Hemsley – a solid, composed display from the midfielder on a night when no Bassett player really stood out. Could have scored but his work rate over the entire ninety minutes can't be faulted.
Scoop Rating: 5/10 – Another display that lacked conviction and until the spark supplied by John Magani after his introduction, Bassett never looked like scoring as the service to the front two was relatively poor.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Monday 21st September 2020 at 11:39