Jack Baker, TJ Bohane
Not content with just one shock Emirates FA Cup victory this season, Royal Wootton Bassett Town produced another upset as they defeated Cinderford Town on penalties after a stirring comeback against the Southern League Division One South side.
Despite another excellent performance in which they took the game to their higher-level opponents, Sam Collier's side found themselves 2-0 down after 50 minutes and staring at a First Qualifying Round exit.
But Bassett summoned everything they had in reserve to claw their way back into the tie. Goals from TJ Bohane and, in the last minute, youngster Jack Baker ultimately restored parity. And that forced penalties where a half dozen perfect spot kicks and a Harrison Ellis save earned a 6-5 sudden death triumph.
As with the win over Didcot Town in the previous round, the outcome was more than fair. Neither victory was of the smash and grab or fortuitous variety. And Collier's troops now find themselves in the hat for the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round - a feat matching Bassett's best ever run in this famous competition, achieved in 2012-13 when the late Dave Turner, a close friend of the current Bassett boss, was in charge.
How Bassett have got there has been thoroughly impressive.
Playing in familiar surroundings, Cinderford enjoyed the better of the immediate opening exchanges, with Zak Drew creating a pair of good openings, one of which forced a decent save from Ellis.
However, when Cinderford took the lead midway through the first half – Rhys Davies steering in after a low cross from the right into the box – they did so somewhat against the run of play.
The home side were instead happy just to sit back and try and hit Bassett on the break. And the visitors were arguably the better team, though lacked a quality ball in the final third – something which wasn't helped by the enforced withdrawal through injury of the returning Brad Pagliaroli seven minutes before the interval.
Even though they went into the break a goal down, there was certainly plenty for Bassett to be optimistic about from their first half display.
But that seemed to wither away when an unfortunate defensive error from Kyle Lapham allowed Kieran Alder to grab Cinderford's second four minutes after the restart.
Minutes later, Drew then went close to a third as he was denied by Ellis after good set up play from goalscorer Davies.
Bassett began to chip away at their opponents though, and their confidence was restored when Gio Wrona whipped in a corner and TJ Bohane's bullet header guided the ball home to halve the deficit.
Thereafter, Bassett were on top, with the decision to throw caution to the wind by introducing forwards Jack Baker and Mark Francis to the game paying dividends.
Cinderford were on the ropes and eventually Bassett's pressure proved too much as Baker equalised with a low drive in the final minute of normal time.
That meant penalties and, like in the Extra Preliminary Round against Chipping Sodbury Town, Bassett went first.
The shootout started with eleven converted penalties – Bohane, Alex Dinsmore, Chris Taylor, Sam Ockwell, Gio Wrona and Francis finding the net for Bassett.
The task then fell to Rhys Davies to prolong the drama further. But he was thwarted by an ice cool save from Ellis to keep the underdogs marching on.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Wednesday 23rd September 2020 at 08:36
Jack Baker, TJ Bohane