Comeback thwarted late as Bassett and Cleeve split six
Tuesday 20 November 2018 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 20 November 2018 at 22:04)
Royal Wootton Bassett Town came back from 2-0 down to take a late lead against Bishop's Cleeve only to concede an 89th minute equaliser as the teams shared six goals.
Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, 20th November 2018
Goals have been a given when Royal Wootton Bassett Town have taken the field so far this season, with an average of over four per game being scored in their league contests so far. It's just impossible to determine at which end they will come though. And that was the case again as Sam Collier's team shared six goals with Bishop's Cleeve in an eventful 3-3 draw.
The net bulged when the teams met earlier this season, but on that balmy August evening the Cheltenham-based Mitres overwhelmed Bassett to record a lop-sided 5-1 victory.
It appeared as though they were on course for another comfortable triumph on this frigid November night too as they raced into a 2-0 advantage after less than half an hour.
But, sparked by a TJ Bohane penalty seven minutes before half time, Bassett turned the contest on its head after the restart and found themselves ahead with ten minutes to go courtesy of an excellent Rob Lincoln finish.
However, with just a minute to go Elliot Kennedy scored what proved to be the final goal of the game to seal a point for the visitors.
The result was arguably a fair outcome on another breathless, entertaining night of football. Bassett reigned supreme in the second period as Bishop's Cleeve appeared to have run out of ideas in the face of the hosts' resurgence. Yet, in the first half it was Bassett who looked out of sorts as they struggled to deal with the away side's pace.
Cleeve were head after just quarter of an hour as Kennedy teed up Liam Wright, who fired in an effort off the far post.
After a couple of chances fell the way of Brad Martin and Aaron Drake, the visitors were able to double their advantage on the half hour. Taking advantage of a defensive error from Collier after he was the recipient of a pass that should not have been played to him, Kennedy again played the role of producer, playing in teammate Jack Watts, who produced a precise finish to beat Charlie McCready.
It was then almost three when Wright saw an effort fly narrowly off target.
Despite the deficit they found themselves in, Bassett - as they have done so often this season - dug deep to establish a foothold in the match. And they were awarded the perfect opportunity to strike when Wright was penalised for a foul in the box, and Bohane kept his nerve to beat Lewis Clayton from twelve yards.
That goal served as a huge momentum boost too as Bassett flew out of the blocks in the second half..
Having seen a shot denied by Clayton ten minutes earlier, Brad Pagliaroli got the better of the Bishop's Cleeve 'keeper on the hour mark to restore parity. The goal followed a swift counter attack, with Danny Langford providing an excellent final ball that Pagliaroli latched onto before rounding Clayton and slotting home.
While in the ascendancy, Bassett did still show some vulnerability, and a spot of fortune fell their way when Harrison Iddles missed an open goal. McCready also pulled off a fine stop from a free kick.
Nevertheless, Bassett remained on top, with Gio Wrona, Josh Shama and Bohane all firing off target, with the latter coming closest.
Then, on 80 minutes, Langford slipped a pass to Lincoln, who produced an outstanding finish into the top corner to complete the turnaround.
Yet, Cleeve had one last trick up the sleeve, Martin setting up Kennedy to ensure Bassett were unable to hold out to claim what would have been a third straight victory.