Just as in the teams' earlier meeting this season, a last minute winner determined the outcome of Royal Wootton Bassett Town's home encounter with Westfields. This time, however, Sam Collier's side - who played a quarter of the match with ten men - finished the game empty-handed as Westfields came from behind to triumph 2-1.
That late suckerpunch did little to dent Bassett's strong position in the table though with results elsewhere meaning the team remain in third place in the Hellenic League Premier Division with a relatively comfortable advantage over those sides immediately below them.
Although unlucky to lose in the manner they did, the final score was perhaps a fair reflection on the game.
In the first half, the best Bassett could muster was a pair of half chances that fell to Louis Spalding. Instead it was Westfields who created the better openings but were unable to break the deadlock.
Daniel Stoneman, who has recently returned to Westfields after a spell with Southern League Cribbs, proved particularly troublesome for the Bassett backline. Yet the best he could do was hit the side netting and twice force a save from 'keeper Rob Brown.
Bassett improved in the second half, though they had an early scare when Oli Barnes struck the bar.
Bassett should really have been ahead just before the 60 minute mark when a deflected pass set Bailey Gallagher in behind the Westfields defence. However visiting 'keeper Zeke Vivian did brilliantly to close the angle and save with his feet.
The home side's cause was then dealt a blow when Chris Taylor earned a second yellow card.
But even with their numerical disadvantage Bassett eventually got their noses in front.
With quarter of an hour to go the ever alert Kai Robinson seized on a stray pass out from the back and quickly fed an unmarked Gallagher on the right wing. His low cross was then met by a visiting head, but the ball went only as far as Presley on the edge of the box. And, after taking a touch, Bassett's top scorer fizzed an arrow in between two defenders and into the bottom left corner beyond Vivian.
There was still a significant amount of time for Bassett to see out with only ten men. But it seemed as if they were going to successfully to hold Westfields out, Bassett surviving a nervy moment when George Clarke's low ball across the face of goal proved just out of reach of a teammate.
However in the game's 90th minute Westfields pulled level as substitute Luke Firkin registered.
The visitors now had their tails up and had two penalty appeals waved away as they pushed for the game's third goal.
Despite the frustration at missing out on those spot kicks, Westfields retained their focus - and in the fourth minute of stoppage time Firkin broke Bassett hearts with his second in his decisive short cameo.
Bassett therefore received a taste of the medicine they had dished out In Hereford.
The good news for Collier and his team though was that four of the sides immediately below Bassett in the push for the playoffs also were beaten. Highworth were the only team to claw back any ground - though they had to settle for a solitary point at struggling Lydney Town.
Bassett may have fallen to a loss - but their playoff hopes are just as strong as they were at the start of the afternoon.
Credit: Stuart Smedley
Last modified on Saturday 27th January 2024 at 19:22