Despite taking an early two goal lead, league leaders Lydney Town were made to fight for all three points against Wootton Bassett Town as Paul Burke's side came close to taking a point but were thwarted thanks to an excellent display from Lydney shotstopper Richard Thomas.
Thomas was in action early, as were Bassett. In the third minute Matty Bennett's 25-yard half volley was spectacularly tipped away after Scott Large's chipped through ball.
In the 14th minute Large had a chance himself after Paul Crabtree's pass out wide to Large on the right. After cutting inside, Large shot on the bounce from 25 yards with his second touch but only just failed to find the target.
However Lydney took the lead with their first chance in the 16th minute. Pete Macklin flicked on Ricky Elliott's cross at the near post and an unmarked Mark Crabbe ran in to nod home from six yards.
Bassett were then denied a stonewall penalty when Bennett was upended six yards from goal after going up to meet a John Magani cross.
Lydney then upped the ante, taking advantage of some questionable defensive play from the visitors. On 26 minutes patient build up play opened up a chance for Macklin from distance but he struck over after the defence decided to stand off him.
He made up for his miss five minutes later when he beat Paul Davis to another Elliott corner and emphatically headed home to double the hosts advantage.
Eight minutes before half time Crabbe should have made it three after he raced through the Bassett defence, onto a ball over the top. James Domm was hesitant about whether to come close Crabbe or not and the forward went for goal from distance but his effort went horribly wrong as the ball sailed well wide of the left post.
Mark King replaced Davis at half time, pushing Stu Hemsley into an unusual role at sweeper.
Andy White forced a nervous save from Thomas two minutes after the restart as the 'keeper spilt his 18-yard effort after it had taken a bobble.
Three minutes on a desperation block from Robin Greenway saved Bassett from conceding a third. Macklin beat Hemsley down the left before squaring to Crabbe who was waiting ten yards out. However Greenway managed to get his foot in and prevent the game from being killed off.
From then on it appeared to be one way traffic as Bassett put their hosts under relentless pressure. Firstly with 53 minutes gone Magani's cross from the left was headed out as far as Bennett. The forward struck a half volley from just outside the box and Thomas was able to get a fingertip on the ball and to guide it onto the post and, eventually, to safety.
Five minutes later a surging run by Magani, which saw him go past three defenders with ease opened up a one-on-one situation but Thomas kept his cool and parried away at the forward's feet.
Chris Mills halved the advantage on the hour. Another Magani run caused the defence all kinds of trouble and he was eventually tackled but the ball squirmed into the path of Mills who rounded Thomas and fired into the roof of the net from 12 yards. Jack Dodd then replaced Large.
Bennett nearly added an equaliser in the 66th. Cutting in from the right wing he somehow managed to zig-zag his way across field before finding a sight on goal. He let rip from range again but his shot sailed just over.
The league's best defence tightened up though and despite continual dominance of possession, Bassett weren't able to find the elusive equaliser.
Three minutes from time the action had switched to the other end as substitute Mark Saunders saw his first time effort from 12 yards clipped over by Crabtree after fellow replacement Dan Bishop had squared across the box.
The win basically ensures Lydney take Winterbourne's crown - and Bassett can upset Trowbridge even more as they square off on Tuesday, with Malmesbury licking their lips at the prospect of a Bassett win to continue Trowbridge's dismal run of form as the Vics look to cement second spot.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Matty Bennett – along with John Magani, he gave the Lydney defence the run-around and was unlucky not to grab at least one goal.
Scoop Rating: 8/10 – Were denied a point thanks to some superb goalkeeping but Bassett were by far the better team in the second period and had Lydney with their backs right up to the wall. The first half wasn't great but Bassett got the ball down and played good, solid football for ninety minutes.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Monday 21st September 2020 at 11:46