BASINGSTOKE TOWN – 1 [Whiddett 44.]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
It seems so long ago that we were last here at the Camrose, handing out that last day rogering to finish runners up. All the way down in the car it was being referred to as ‘last year’, yet it was only 4 months ago!
Those 4 months though have been very very long. Last time we had a young team, absolutely flying. Looking almost unbeatable, scoring at will. But that’s all gone now. I just hope the home side don’t spank us 5-0 in revenge for that drubbing back in April….
With Chalmers & I attending a wedding this evening, Mr C decided he’d drive down to enable us to get home ASAP afterwards. Windy & Greek tag along for the ride.
A leisurely drive down, we park ourselves in the local Wetherspoons for a bevvy and some scoff. The beer turns out to be good. Which is handy, as it’s required to wash down some rather ropey grub. Windy’s Cheese & Pickle sandwich being particularly amusing as it arrives minus the pickle!
Eventually we head off to the Camrose for the footy. Hopefully the football won’t spoil the day out.
JR is forced again to field a changed line up, with Eddie missing out due to injury. This one absence means a big reshuffle though. Brake takes the vacant spot down the left, but Matt Gray switches from his right sided position to partner Joff up front. Stuart Booth getting his spot. Lewis Gonsalves makes his first start at the back with Corbett & Thomas.
Surprisingly it’s us who create the first chance after about a minute or so. Corbett takes a long throw from the right into the box. Joff ducks out, the defence allows the ball to bounce and Matt Gray pops up. But with the goal at his mercy, blazes over the bar.
The home side are soon settled and playing the neater football and the U’s are struggling to retain possession. Giving the ball away too easily and finding it impossible to make any inroads down the flanks. ‘Stoke make their first chance after 11 minutes. A Cross from the left is tipped wide by Wilson and the resulting corner ends with a rather too easy header straight at the ‘keeper.
On 13 minutes, Fear plays a great ball in from the right towards the far post. Joff challenges for it and the ball drops loose. The home defence can’t clear and the ball falls to Thomas. He shows great composure with the ball at his feet and rather than lash it, steps inside to get a better angle. His shot beats Tarr in front of him, but agonisingly catches a covering defender on his trailing foot and spins the wrong side of the post.
Our iffy defence is opened up 5 minutes later. A quick ball down the right is hooked infield and with the centre-backs AWOL, the Basingstoke no9 looks clear on goal, but Honey chases back and does enough to put the forward under pressure and his shot loops over the target.
The pattern resumse with the U’s struggling to make an impression, whilst trying to keep the home side at bay. Despite their neat approach play, the hosts create little and like the St Albans game on the opening day, it’s Sutton who have the better chances. 28 minutes played & Bradley Thomas plays a nice ball forwards to Vansittart. He comes inside and lays off to Gray, who spots Tarr off his line slightly and tries his luck, but the shot dips too early and the portly stopper makes a simple catch.
It’s a while to the next moment of any note and with 5 minutes remaining a ball in from the right by Booth is dummied by Gray at the near post and it finds it’s way to Vansittart at the back post, but with the ‘keeper to beat, his shot is blocked out by Tarr. Sadly another case of us being presented with a perfectly good chance & not taking it.
The disappointment at that missed opportunity is magnified with a minute left in the first 45. The U’s are cut open down the left for the umpteenth time today. The low ball across is aimed at the near post and Wilson looks to gather. But his handling low down lets him down again and the ball spills loose. Before he can gather, Whiddet forces the ball over the line just inside the post to give the hosts a lead they probably just about deserved.
Typical. Fucking typical. We spoon good chances and conceed to a poxy goal like that.
We’re hoping the lads can respond in a similar way to Tuesday night and come out fighting at the restart. But what we get is a frustrating 45 minutes of misplaced passes, people ambling about and very very little in the way of goal scoring opportunities….
Things start badly and with only 9 minutes after the restart. A quick raid down our right produces a very good pacey cross into the box. It finds a blue shirt beyond the back post. His powerful header flies past Wilson and crashes back off the upright, bounces along the line and is eventually lumped clear by Brake.
We struggle to make any real impact on proceedings and we’re left wondering just how the home side fail to extend their lead during the duration of the half. Just after the hour, the left flank is cut open again and a little ball in plays in the striker, but his shot is low past Wilson & the far post. Soon after, Brake gets back to try & clear a ball down the left but only succeeds in delivering a great low ball across his own box! Gray can’t follow up on the right to clear and the ‘Stoke no11 is in. He touches it inside, but Wilson is alert and makes a great close range save.
It’s with 20 minutes left that we finally manage a threat on the hosts goal. A rare corner is won and Gray swings it in, picking out Gonsalves 8 yards out at the near post. But his header is nodded off the line by the defender guarding that upright. It’s as close as we get to taking an unlikely point and the last 20 minutes are, for the want of a better word, dire.
Basingstoke are comfortably on top for the remainder of the match, but create only one other serious chance with around 4 or 5 minutes left. A cross from the left seemingly goes too far, but Matt Gray mis-kicks his clearance and the lurking attacker tries his luck from the corner of the box. The shot is deflected slightly and beats the dive of wilson, but Bradley Thomas is tidying up and clears off the line.
With another poor result, we head back to the bar for a couple of drinks to cheer ourselves up before heading back to Sutton. Chalmers & I leave Greek & Windy in the Hood as we bomb off to an evening wedding do. Stories later surface of certain members of the crew of Scottish decendancy gatecrashing a ‘white tie & tiara’ party at the pub despite being in possession of neither a white tie nor a tiara.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Bradley Thomas. Very impressive. Shame he’s not ours!
ENTERTAINMENT – 3. Dire game to be honest.
TEAM : Wilson, Booth, Corbett, Thomas, Gonsalves, Boosey, Fear, Honey, Brake, Vansittart, Gray
SUBS : Martin, Kennedy, Olusesi
THE REFEREE’S………a woman! The same lady who reffed our Trophy encounter here a couple of years back. And she hasn’t really improved much! But going by the previous 2 we’ve had, she’s about the best official so far!!! Which isn’t saying a lot.