AN UNDERSTANDABLY poor playing surface denied Royal Wootton Bassett the chance to play their preferred free-flowing style of football as Lydney Town grabbed a 2-1 Hellenic League Premier Division win.

Lydney were playing their third home game in seven days, so the pitch was rather worse for wear given the club’s heavy home fixture list.

The Gloucestershire club registered four points from those two games earlier this week – a win against Ardley and a draw against Longlevens, respectively.

And their latest win lifted them to seventh in the table as Aaron Goulty netted a scrappy first half goal before a fine individual effort by Jacob English wrapped up all three points for the hosts.

Bassett’s one moment of glory came after half time when Elias Youssef headed Sam Collier’s side level. But that marker wasn’t enough for Bassett, who are now 16th in the 19-team division.

Assistant manager Matt Bulman said after the game: “The pitch played a big part in the game, it wasn’t the best as they’d played a lot on it in the last week – it didn’t suit our style of play.

“They got a goal from their only chance of the first half, which was a debatable free kick. We came out strong in the second half after a few half time words and momentum turned.

“But a fine shot went in our net which is just our luck at the moment. We played five under 18s again mixed with some of our younger players.

“This is all part of their development at the moment. What we saw on Saturday was a dogfight on a difficult pitch.

“They’re learning every game, which is brilliant.”

There is no hiding the fact that Bassett have underachieved this season – Collier will admit himself that he never expected his squad to be languishing down the bottom end of the table.

However, despite their turbulent form, they are still only six points off of eighth place. A win at home to Bishops Cleeve next Saturday could therefore be the spark Bulman and Collier will hope to ignite.

Bulman added: “It’s so tight in this league - earn three wins and you move up several places.

“Lydney played to their strengths, the pitch suited them more than us.”

No other Hellenic League teams in the region were in action this weekend, though Fairford do have a mid-week game on Tuesday when they travel to face Bishops Cleeve.