Brad Pagliaroli, Nick Stanley
For the second game in a row, a late goal denied Royal Wootton Bassett Town all three points as they drew 2-2 away against Holmer Green.
Royal Wootton Bassett Town conceded in the first and ninetieth minutes as lapses in concentration at those two points in the game meant they were held to a 2-2 draw away against Holmer Green.
Both goals for the hosts came from long balls over the top beating the Bassett defence, meaning it was another case of cheaply conceded goals resulting in Sam Collier's team dropping points.
And, after impressive strikes from Nick Stanley and Brad Pagliaroli in the final minutes of the opening period, Bassett appeared in control for most of the second half. But they were unable to capitalised on a number of good chances to seal what would have been only their second away win of the season.
A point is certainly no bad outcome, particularly from a match against a Holmer Green side who have been strong when on home turf. Yet, you still get the nagging feeling that, given the position they were in with just moments remaining, that in the long run this will be seen as a case of two points lost.
Saying that, however, Bassett appeared as though they were going to be in for a long afternoon when they went behind after less than sixty seconds.
James Britnell flicked on 'keeper Aaron Brown's long clearance out from the back and, with Carl Evans having hesitated as to whether to challenge for the ball or stick with his man, Lewis Workman found himself alone in behind the visitors' back line and lifted a cool effort over the onrushing Charlie McCready.
It was a disappointing goal to let in and did not make things any easier for Bassett who looked nervous in the opening exchanges.
Their hosts' direct style was causing them problems and could have resulted in their advantage being extended. After getting between McCready and Dan Cole, Workman hooked another attempted lob narrowly off target, while the burly Britnell headed just over from a whipped in Workman cross.
A Holmer Green counter attack then saw winger Jonathan Cox skip past McCready before his cutback was headed inches wide of the left post by an unmarked Workman.
Eventually though, Bassett established a foothold in the game and were certainly the better team for the final quarter of an hour of the first half.
Frontmen Stanley and Pagliaroli asked questions of the Holmer Green defence in different ways. And, after initially misfiring when presented with chances to shoot at goal, they both found the net.
Six minutes before the interval, Tony Joyce played a perfectly weighted ball in behind the Holmer Green defence, which Stanley, having beat the offside trap, raced onto, and he lifted a deft lob over Aaron Brown and into the net.
Then, a minute before half time, Pagliaroli blasted Bassett in front. Taking an inside pass from the equally impressive Rob Lincoln, he twisted and turned his way past three defenders on the edge of the box, and thundered a unstoppable drive into the near top corner from what remained a difficult angle.
Defending a lead for the first time, Bassett looked reasonably comfortable following the restart. Indeed, only once in the opening half hour of the second period did Holmer Green threaten, with Dean Munday heading over a Ryan Parsons corner.
At the other end, meanwhile, it was all action.
On the hour, Stanley skewed just over after Pagliaroli had set a Mani Roper cross into his path. Stanley had another opportunity in the 75th minute, seizing on a defensive mix-up before forcing a save from Brown as he attempted to steer into the top corner. A minute later, Pagliaroli fired into the side netting from an angle after winding his way into the box from the left corner before Stanley hooked wide at the near post from a low Lincoln delivery.
With twelve minutes to go, McCready had to be alert at the other end, denying Cox with a sliding tackle after the midfielder had beat the offside trap.
But it was Bassett who continued to create the better chances to seal the game. And Tony Joyce came within inches of rounding off an outstanding team move that had been initiated by the right back. An exquisite one-two with Stanley on the edge of the area set the veteran through before he arrowed his low drive narrowly wide of the bottom left corner.
Then, after Britnell steered just off target for the hosts, home 'keeper Brown kept his side in the game with an excellent tip around the post from a curled Pagliaroli effort.
How important that save proved to be.
Holmer Green's late forays forward appeared as though they would be for nothing as Workman was twice denied by important blocks when presented with space to shoot.
Those breaks were fortunate for Bassett.
Yet, they switched off in injury time as substitute Luca Perrin delivered a ball into the box from deep on the left, and he picked out an unmarked Munday, who flicked a header over McCready, the Bassett 'keeper having been a half second late in deciding to come off his line.
Man of the Match: Nick Stanley – with his strength and skill, the experienced Stanley proved a real handful for the Holmer Green defence and he linked up well with strike partner Brad Pagliaroli. His goal was superbly taken too.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 24th November 2018 at 19:34
Brad Pagliaroli, Nick Stanley