10-MAN Royal Wootton Bassett Town were denied a battling victory over play-off rivals Pershore Town in the 87th minute of their Hellenic League Premier clash on Saturday.

Bailey Gallagher's red card six minutes into the second-half threatened to derail Bassett against a Pershore side two places behind them in the race for the play-offs.

But with 69 minutes on the clock, Jack Hobson-McVeigh's penalty looked to have sealed an impressive victory for the 10 men until a late, superb 30-yard strike from Pershore's Connor Mort salvaged a point for the Worcestershire side.

Bassett went into the clash riddled with injuries and illness, meaning they were shorthanded going into the contest and relying on the club's development players to make up the majority of the substitutes.

Against a strong Pershore side looking to reach the post-season play-offs, it was always going to be a big ask but they coped well in the circumstances as the first-half went by without too much in the way of opportunities.

But six minutes into the second-half, a late lunge from Gallagher saw him sent off and all of a sudden, it looked like being a long 40 minutes or so for the home team. 

Despite their numerical disadvantage, they were handed a glorious chance to take the lead when Sam Packer was felled in the box. Hobson-McVeigh made no mistake from the penalty spot to give Bassett a 1-0 lead and something to defend.

They clung on to their lead admirably and seemed as though they would successfully see the game out and claim a vital victory in their pursuit of the top two.

But they were ultimately denied all three points though as, with three minutes remaining, Pershore substitute Mort took control of a throw in, cut inside and fired a stunning long range strike past Rob Brown.

With the likes of Highworth Town (losing away at Hereford Pegasus) and Worcester Raiders (throwing away a 3-0 lead to fall to a 4-3 defeat at home against Brimscombe and Thrupp), the point was enough for Bassett to gain ground on those sides they are battling with for a top-five finish.

But it could have been more and there was an element of disappointment at the full-time whistle after the concession of such a late goal. But given the quality of that strike and the result against a side likely to be a force towards the end of the season, it could yet prove to be a vital one for Bassett.

They will be hoping to get back to winning ways this weekend when they host strugglers Lydney Town on Saturday.