T Dingle, A Topping
Rylands Way, 25th April 2011
Wootton Bassett Town finished their first season back in the Hellenic Premier Division how they started it with a hard fought victory against Pegasus Juniors. The league's basement side did not go down without a fight, succumbing 2-1 after Adam Topping's classy finish - his first career first team goal - with seven minutes remaining decided the game's outcome.
The afternoon started brilliantly for the hosts when Tom Dingle emphatically fired in on the turn just two minutes in after Mark McMeeking recycled a half cleared Matt Bown corner.
But the visitors made Bassett sweat, defending astutely despite having to deal with plenty of pressure. Sam Collier did find the back of the net as well during the first period but saw his expert finish ruled out for offside, while Ethan Delaney twice missed from favourable positions before the break.
The final finish continued to elude Bassett in the second period, and nearly wound up preventing Dave Turner's side from rising two places to a solid 15th position in the table.
There were chances aplenty but the lead could just not be extended. Collier saw a firm effort tipped onto the post moments after the restart following great play from Dingle, who had successfully chased down a lost cause, and Delaney in the right corner.
Midfielders Sam Packer, James Turner and Bown then all saw well struck drives from just outside the area miss narrowly, the former having his effort blocked on the goalline.
Collier was next to come close, seeing two shots in quick succession blocked by in form 'keeper Nick Isles at point blank range following a neat flick from substitute Topping. The forward, just two shy of recording his 50th goal for the club, then beat Isles to a looping Bown cross but his header dropped agonisingly wide of the right hand post with just over ten minutes to play.
Taking advantage of their hosts' profligacy, the visitors thought they had snatched a share of the points when Mark Smith's back-post header was adjudged to have crossed the line after a testing Tom Boyle corner beat Stewart Thompson.
But moments later the decisive goal came. Delaney pitched a ball over the top of the defence from the left wing, and a sliced clearance set free Topping, who coolly lobbed Isles.
In injury time the 'keeper fabulously kept out another Turner thunderbolt, but that mattered little as his side failed to fathom any more openings at the other end.
It was by no means an outstanding Bassett performance, but it was enough to add further gloss to a fine first season back at step five. The three points lifted them into 15th above Bracknell Town and Oxford City Nomads, capping a year which saw the team match the club's record run in the FA Cup, progress in the FA Vase, beat local rivals Highworth Town and eventual champions Wantage Town and - most importantly of all - survive.
A job well done by all involved.
Scoop's Man of the Match: Matt Bown - provided numerous dangerous balls from the right wing and was unfortunate not to find his name on the score sheet come full time.
Scoop Rating: 6/10 - not a vintage display, but it was enough to carry the team over the line and lift the team into 15th. After suffering four losses in a row, it was great to finish the year on a high.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38
T Dingle, A Topping