Steve Robertson (3), Nathan Gambling
Royal Wootton Bassett Town put their difficult week behind them in supreme style, recording a thrilling 4-1 victory away against Ascot United.
Any team who had endured as torrid a past week as Royal Wootton Bassett Town would have been satisfied to get back on track with a narrow victory or even just a scrappy draw. Paul Braithwaite's side weren't content with that however, producing a stunning team performance that resulted in a 4-1 away victory over Ascot United.
Never before had Bassett beaten the Yellamen on their own turf. But with hat-trick man Steve Robertson in rampant form and a defence - still smarting after conceding ten goals in their past two outings - that shackled the hosts' dangermen for the majority of the game, they recorded one of the club's best wins in a long while.
Only in the opening quarter of the game could it be claimed that Ascot – convincing 3-0 winners against Flackwell Heath in the week – had the upper hand. In that period they took the lead through Joe Jarra, who lashed home from twelve yards after Steve Deverall's inswinging corner fell perfectly for him, and had Jarra and Damien Markman skew a pair of threatening opportunities off target.
Yet, once Bassett had found their feet they were more than a match for the home side.
They signalled to Ascot that they were in for a difficult afternoon when a well-crafted move ended with Steve Yeardley seeing his glancing header deflected onto the bar on 25 minutes.
After that it didn't take long for the visitors to get on level terms, and they did so in sublime fashion.
Purposefully, Bassett shifted the ball around the midfield before it was turned around the corner to Yeardley, who had made a darting run into space that had opened in behind the Ascot defence. The skipper advanced down the right before clipping a perfectly weighted cross into the path of Robertson, who guided a fine header beyond the reach of Chris Grace.
Confidence grew mightily following that equaliser. A snap shot on the turn from Dan Bailey forced Grace to scurry across goal and save at his near post before Nathan Gambling fizzed a dangerous low ball across the six yard box, which needed just a touch to divert it goalwards.
Robertson then seized upon an error from home centre half Alex Rodrigues, presenting Gambling with a one-on-one opportunity, which the centre forward, having the ball stick in his feet, failed to capitalise upon.
However, Gambling made amends on the stroke of half time, planting a firm header into the top right corner as he connected with Harvey Scholes' brilliant right wing delivery.
Following what was an evenly contested opening period, that goal would prove vital. Ascot were forced to chase the game following the restart, coming close early on as Joe Grant shot from range and forced Luke Kuczynski to tip around the post.
Bassett were able to soak up the large majority of the pressure which the hosts sought to apply though. Playing with great patience, they were then able to pick off Ascot on the break.
One such counter resulted in Bailey playing a clever reverse pass for Robertson, who, goalside of Jesse Wilson, was clearly dragged back by the Ascot defender only for no penalty to be awarded.
When Bassett's third goal eventually arrived, there was no need for any assistance from the officials. It followed a swift transition from defence to attack as Gambling raced onto Dale Richards' clipped pass in the left corner before cutting back for Bailey on the edge of the box. The midfielder's shot was blocked, but the ball deflected into the path of Robertson who eventually prodded in from close range.
An immediate reply almost arrived via the head of Jamie West. However, his connection with David Pitt's cross flashed inches wide of the right post.
That would be the last occasion on which Ascot threatened though as thereafter they were limited to a series of pot shots from distance thanks to continued resolute defending.
They were then punished for trying to commit too many men forward with ten minutes to go when Robertson raced onto a Richards' clearance which had split the hosts' centre halves and coolly slotted past Grace to complete his hat-trick and nab his sixth goal in the past three games.
Given that record, his week has been a personal success.
Prior to the Ascot visit, it had certainly not been a seven days to look back on with pride for his teammates. This grand day at the races is certainly one that deserves to be recalled fondly though.
Man of the Match: Adam Corcoran – produced a commanding performance at centre half alongside Nathan Hawkins as the pair silenced dangerous frontmen Jamie West and Damien Markman.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 29th August 2015 at 19:57
Steve Robertson (3), Nathan Gambling