Corinium Stadium, 20th December 2014
Wootton Bassett Town claimed another handy point against a rejuvenated Abingdon United side as both teams managed to find the back of the net once each.
While Dan Bailey converted the one real opportunity the hosts had all game, it took Abingdon until the 75th minute to beat ‘keeper Luke Kuczynski, who was an impenetrable presence minding the Bassett net during the opening period despite being peppered with shots from all angles.
Last week it was Bassett whose dominance failed to translate into goals. This week, however, they were on the receiving end as Abingdon – much strengthened since the arrival of manager Gary Ackling – pinned them deep.
With Steve Robertson ploughing a lone furrow up front, Bassett struggled to assert themselves going forward. And at the back, a penchant for sitting deep allowed the visitors to apply near-constant pressure.
Kuczynski was first called into action after just three minutes, producing a fine double save as he first stretched to bat away Kieran Cochrane's awkward low free kick before denying Anaclet Odihambo's close range follow up at the feet of the striker.
A more routine save kept out a stinging Tom Melledew strike, which was the culmination of a decisive counter.
But Kuczynski was soon required to produce another pair of outstanding stops within quick succession. He used his feet to swat away at the near post when Jimmy Deabill cut inside Callum Wright and struck towards goal before parrying a Cochrane shot from the edge of the area.
Lapses in concentration from teammates were keeping Kuczynski busy. An underhit pass from Lewis Chatwin that Melledew intercepted resulted in a firmly struck Cochrane effort being tipped around the post. Miscommunication between centre halves George Drewitt and Nathan Hawkins then allowed Odihambo to seize on a loose ball and drive forward. He eventually squared to Melledew, whose deflected 25-yard hit was parried wide after Kuczynski reacted quickly to the ricochet.
Chances kept coming for Abingdon. Six minutes before the break a Jon Steedman cross wasn't properly cleared, and Deabill set the ball back to Jamie Mundy, who dragged a low shot inches wide of the post.
Football is often a perplexing game, and having seen their goal lived a charmed life, Bassett went up the other end and duly took a half time lead. A Wright cross sailed over everyone in the box, with Richie Carter recovering the ball in the left corner. He found enough room to tease a delivery back into the area, which Dan Bailey headed onto the crossbar from six yards before reacting quickest to the rebound and nodding in.
That goal had something of a transformative effect on the match. Ahead, albeit fortunately, Bassett made the necessary adjustments at half time to tighten things up at the back. Abingdon, on the other hand, seemed to lose part of their creative spark.
The visitors still had their moments however.
Two minutes after the restart Deabill's delicate dink over the top seemed to set Odihambo free on goal, but a finely timed saving tackle from Dale Richards ensured Kuczynski would not be troubled.
Then midway through the period, a Melledew piledrive sailed narrowly over after a Cochrane corner was cleared only as far as the impressive midfielder lurking just outside the box.
There was no doubt Bassett were looking increasingly comfortable defending against Abingdon.
But that unfortunately couldn't prevent the visitors from eventually finding the net. From the right wing, Melledew bent a delivery to the far post with the outside of his right foot, which an unmarked Deabill flicked on to an equally wide open Cochrane who bundled in from close range.
It was a somewhat disappointing equaliser to concede, but on the overall balance of play was arguably a just outcome.
Victory and three points would have been a great boon, but one in the end was pleasing enough for Bassett. And Kuczynski's heroics had gone a long way to make certain of that.
Man of the Match: Luke Kuczynski – the ‘keeper continued to justify his elevation from the Reserves with his string of first half saves ensuring Bassett were able to go into the interval ahead rather than chasing a hefty deficit.
Last modified on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 23:38