Any hopes Royal Wootton Bassett Town had of taking the pressure out of their final Hellenic League Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup group encounters were dashed in emphatic fashion as they fell to a heavy 4-1 loss away against Brimscombe and Thrupp in their latest fixture.
Brimscombe, smarting from a 3-1 loss at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground on Tuesday, returned to top spot thanks to a performance which saw them exploit Bassett's vulnerability from set pieces three times in the second half and earn a convincing victory.
With two games remaining, Bassett have seven points to their name, two more than third placed side Stonehouse Town. A win against Malmesbury Victoria and defeat for Stonehouse in their fixture at Brimscombe on Tuesday will see Sam Collier's side confirm their place in the last sixteen. However, all other outcomes will see Bassett's progress determined by their final encounter at home against Stonehouse.
In this fourth group encounter, Bassett found themselves behind early thanks to a stunning long range strike from Johan Flo.
A Dan Warre penalty midway through the opening period meant the teams went into the break all square.
But Brimscombe struck early and often following the restart to put the game away.
On 51 minutes, a free kick was swung in from the right and Jack Bartman got to the ball just ahead of Harrison Ellis to restored the hosts' lead.
Four minutes later Flo added his second, nodding home from another free kick delivery.
Then shortly after the hour Jack Holmes headed home at the back post to give Brimscombe an unassailable advantage.
It was almost five for Brimscombe when Oli Barnes struck the post, with the rebound hitting Ellis only to fortutiously bounce narrowly wide. The resulting corner was then put wide by Bartman.
Despite the setback, Bassett remain in a good position to advance to the final sixteen thanks to a strong start to the tournament.
And with a pair of home games to go, Bassett boss Collier will be confident that his side can get the points needed to advance.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 24th April 2021 at 20:50