Bennett double sees off Abingdon
Saturday 03 November 2018 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 04 November 2018 at 11:42)
Hellenic League Premier Division basement dwellers Abingdon United ran Royal Wootton Bassett Town close, but Matt Bennett's second half double secured a 3-2 triumph for Sam Collier's team.
Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, 3rd November 2018
Even with opponents Abingdon United sitting bottom of the Hellenic League Premier Division table, Royal Wootton Bassett Town manager Sam Collier was expecting a tough contest prior to their meeting at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground.
And that is exactly what took place as Bassett edged out a narrow 3-2 triumph thanks to Matt Bennett's brace and TJ Bohane's first half penalty.
The result means Collier's team end their month-long homestand with nine points from a possible twelve in the league games they played - a solid haul, with the only blemish coming against current leaders Brackley Town Saints.
To get to that mark proved tough though. Victory against Reading City and Tuesday's triumph by the odd goal in three against Virginia Water required high quality defensive and clinical attacking displays.
The win against Abingdon followed a less complete performance. But Bassett got there in the end to move into a tricky run of three away games on the back of another victory.
They had to do it the hard way too, falling behind after only six minutes when Nathan Baker capitalised from a corner that the home side should never have conceded.
Within minutes, Bassett had the opportunity to equalise when Bohane was brought down in the box. However, summing up his team's frustrating opening to the game, the forward blazed over from the spot.
Both sides then traded chances, with Josh Shama going close for Bassett when he shot at the 'keeper after having been played through.
Eventually, shortly after the half hour mark, Bassett pulled level. Bohane again drew a foul in the area and, after dusting himself off, this time made no mistake from twelve yards.
The equaliser seemed to instil a degree of confidence in Collier's team. And they almost went ahead for the first time on the afternoon shortly before the break when Bennett narrowly missed the target.
He made no mistake eight minutes after the restart though. Brad Pagliaroli's low drive could only be parried and Bennett was on hand to sweep in.
Shortly before the hour mark, Bennett made it 3-1, firing into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
To their credit, the visitors continued to chip away at Bassett despite now trailing by two goals. And Tom Butler pulled one back with twenty minutes remaining to set up a lively finish.
Abingdon almost drew level after a ball over the top caught out the Bassett defence, but fortunately Charlie McCready was not tested by the shot.
That would be the last opportunity they would muster, and debutant Mani Roper should have put the result beyond doubt for Bassett in stoppage time. However, he would miss when presented with an open goal.
The miss would not matter though, as the referee's whistle immediately followed to signal another triumph that keeps Bassett in fourth and also trimmed the gap between them and the three sides above them, all of whom failed to take maximum points in their weekend fixtures.