Alex Green (3)
Rylands Way, 12th April 2011
This time last week, Wootton Bassett Town were fighting for their Hellenic Premier Division lives. Now though they are sitting comfortably in 14th place as an Alex Green hat-trick paved the way for a come from behind 3-2 victory against Ascot United, meaning Dave Turner's side have taken seven points from nine.
Green struck the winner with virtually the last kick of the game, lobbing an advancing Chris Grace from fifteen yards with a weighted effort after a perfectly placed through ball from youngster Adam Topping, who once again impressed off the bench.
Although somewhat inconsistent during the year, the former Shrivenham frontman gave a clinic in assured finishing, with all three of his goals being expertly taken.
He would no doubt have applauded Ian Brooks' opener for the visitors ten minutes in though. A looping cross from the left was not dealt with properly as Ethan Delaney, having missed a one-on-one opportunity at the other end moments earlier, failed to clear his lines. Brooks, ready to pounce on the edge of the area, then struck a searing volley, demonstrating perfect technique, into the top left corner past a despairing Stewart Thompson.
The scores were then levelled midway through the period. Emphasising how far they have come this season, Bassett patiently built an attack, and after a neat set from Sam Collier, Richie Carter provided an inch perfect pass into the feet of Green from near halfway. Controlled brilliantly, the forward turned his marker on the edge of the box and with his next touch tucked the ball past Grace into the bottom right corner.
Parity would last all of two minutes though. Brooks was again involved, this time acting as provider. His whipped in corner, placed dangerously underneath the crossbar, was not fumbled by Thompson and Jessie Wilson was quickest to react, sweeping home the loose ball from close range.
With quarter of an hour to go before the break, a jinking run from Delaney opened up the Ascot defence, and after his low cross was sliced, Green should really have equalised again. But he would make his only mistake of the match, somehow snatching at the ball and hacking it wide from eight yards.
Moments before the half time whistle, Ascot were unfortunate not to have a third when their leading scorer Jon Bennett muscled his way past three defenders before shooting low from ten yards, but Thompson was able to redeem himself for his earlier error and made an assured save on the dive.
It would be all Bassett following the restart, the visitors no doubt with one eye on their Floodlit Cup semi final encounter with Abingdon on Thursday.
However their second half defensive performance left a lot to be desired as Bassett controlled play and opened their visitors up with ease.
The shrewd introduction of forward Topping for veteran defender Mark McMeeking tilted the game's balance firmly in favour of the hosts. But it took them time to get back on level terms once again as both Matt Bown and Delaney came agonisingly close.
Then, with eighteen minutes left, expert hold up play for Collier and a weighted ball into the right channel set Green, having beaten the offside trap, loose. And after bearing down on goal, he coolly slotted beneath Grace at his near post.
Pressure continued to be applied, but Ascot appeared as though they were set to see it off and make the long journey home with a point in the bag. Indeed, Bassett's luck seemed to have deserted them when a dangerous low Delaney cross, needing just a touch to guide it home, sailed across the face of goal and out of play.
But from nothing, Turner's troops found a winner with seconds remaining. Jon Beeden's clearance out of defence was controlled fantastically by Topping, and after holding off his marker he clipped the ball in for Green, having again breached a shaky offside trap, to provide the finishing touch.
It was no less than Bassett deserved, and will give them extra confidence ahead of Saturday's visit of title chasers Wantage Town. Victory would severely dent the Alfredians' title chances and mean Bassett would join the company of Slimbridge and Highworth Town as the only teams to do the league double over them this season.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Alex Green – in an impressive team display, Jon Beeden, Matt Bown and Matt Boucher all stood out, but Green topped the lot, producing three quality finishes to seal three well earned points.
Scoop Rating: 8/10 – chances for the visitors were few and far between, especially in the second period, which Bassett controlled. Although the two goals conceded came in disappointing fashion, those isolated incidents aside, this was a great performance. The team again showed their character to twice come from behind before going on to win and deservedly shot up the table as a result.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
Alex Green (3)