Nick Stanley's late goal delivered a 1-0 victory for Royal Wootton Bassett Town against Binfield in an intriguing encounter.
Nick Stanley's 84th minute header ended Royal Wootton Bassett Town run of five games without a victory as his side edged Binfield 1-0 in an engaging, close-fought encounter at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground.
The forward, hard-working as ever as Bassett's lone striker for the afternoon, guided home Josh Shama's perfectly weighted left-wing cross to seal the points and bring a welcome end to a disappointing run of games that had seen Sam Collier's team lose ground to the sides playing catch up below them in the table.
It was a game that seemed destined to be decided by just a single goal following a first half that saw neither team create an opportunity of note.
Arguably the best chance fell to Bassett midfielder Gio Wrona when he brought an awkward save out of David Lyons with a snap shot from the edge of the area in the eleventh minute, though the ball was struck straight at the 'keeper.
Aside from that, while both teams played some attractive football and sought to get forward, the defences were largely on top.
Play opened up more following the restart.
In the second half's first minute, Elias Youssef, hugely impressive for the hosts on his debut, drove forward from the centre of midfielder and had the Binfield defence on their heels before seeing his shot from the edge of the area blocked.
Two minutes later, Wrona played a neat one-two with Brad Pagliaroli on the left side of the area and, space having opened up, stabbed a low shot at goal, which bounced off the base of the left post.
Binfield subsequently enjoyed a period of play in which they asked more questions of the Bassett back line. And on 67 minutes they appeared to have breached the hosts' defence when James Knight's through ball got them turned. Play was eventually worked to an unmarked Carlo Santoro ten yards from goal, but the winger dwelled too long on the ball and his eventual shot was weak and bounced wide off the legs of Carl Evans.
The visitors ultimately paid the price for Santoro failing to convert.
With ten minutes to go Bassett almost found the opener when Stanley fed Pagliaroli, whose cutback from the byline was guided narrowly over by an onrushing Youssef.
But they had their goal four minutes later, and it came from a well-worked move. Wrona spread play out to Shama on the left-wing and, after David Stroud's overlapping run provided him with space to cut back onto his right foot, the substitute floated a ball to the far post where a wide open Stanley was on hand to calmly head beyond Lyons.
Binfield, who had earlier brought on Jemel Johnson and Stephen Peacock in an attempt to liven things up and themselves break the deadlock, had no response.
In attack and midfield Bassett had been solid throughout the game. But their defensive display had been equally impressive too.
Marshalled by a strong showing from Evans and fellow centre back Adam Corcoran, with full backs Stroud and Dan Cole providing reliable cover, they ensured Gary Aulsberry was not forced to make a save.
And with a clean sheet in hand, one goal was all that was required to return to winning ways.
Man of the Match: Elias Youssef â€“ the Forest Green Rovers scholar was hugely impressive on his Bassett debut. Confident in possession, positive with his passing and solid in the tackle, he helped ensure Bassett held the vital upper hand in the middle of the park.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 16th February 2019 at 18:20