Bassett save draw with a late full English

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A LAST-GASP brace from full-back Sam English helped Wootton Bassett Town dramatically claw back a two-goal deficit at early pacesetters Flackwell Heath on Saturday.

Paul Braithwaite’s side looked set to slip to their third defeat of the new Hellenic League Premier Division campaign but instead hit back to end their Buckinghamshire hosts’ 100 per cent start to the season.

With six minutes on the clock, first team debutant Danny Hale forced home stopper Robert Bullivant to tip around his post with a low drive from range but opportunities were initially limited at both ends.

Four Flackwell corners in succession then finally led to an opening for the home side, but when Riccardo Cannon swivelled to shoot from twelve yards, the close attentions of Richie Carter saw his effort was blocked by the Bassett defender’s leg.

A looping header from the hosts’ Dan Rapley soon ensured Ben Mitchell had to be at full attention as the effort dropped onto the roof of the net, whilst Dale Richards could only nod across the face of goal from Lewis Chatwin’s cross.

Flackwell finally began to get beyond the Bassett backline shortly after the restart but Rapley twice passed up great opportunities, hooking straight into Mitchell’s hands following Mitchell Woodward’s lofted pass before the dragging a strike well wide.

The Heath man quickly made amends for that wastefulness as he opened the scoring with 50 minutes on the clock.

The ball was worked out to Rapley on the left edge of the box and he stepped inside Pete Sykes before wrapping his boot around a beautiful curling strike that picked out the top right corner, giving Mitchell no chance.

James Skinner went close to an equaliser as he failed to convert when one-on-one with keeper Steve Bullivant but with 13 minutes remaining, the home side seemingly put the result beyond doubt.

Rapley received a quick free-kick from Woodward in the left corner and, after riding a Sykes challenge, delivered a weighted cross that Bassett’s Carter inadvertently headed into his own net at the near post.

Boss Braithwaite switched to a three-man back line and with five minutes remaining, he was duly rewarded as Skinner teased a superb first time cross into the box and English fought to get in front of his marker and planted a header beyond the reach of Bullivant.

Then, from a free-kick five yards inside the visitors’ own half, Mitchell pumped the ball into the box where it fell to Chatwin, who nudged the ball back to allow the arriving English to blast home and complete the comeback.

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