Match Report: Bishop Stortford 2 – 0 Basingstoke Town Saturday 14th October 2017

Bishop Stortford 2 v 0 Basingstoke Town

Saturday 14th October 2017 at ProKit Stadium, Bishop Stortford;

Another away game, another defeat. It can be quite soul-destroying being the away match-reporter.
On, a grey but warm Saturday afternoon in Hertfordshire, Basingstoke came to Bishop Stortford hoping to pick up some points from an away game on paper that they should do.

Terry Brown decided to go with a starting 11 of. McAdden in goal, Johnson-Schuster, Hollamby, Bayliss and Bennett in defence. Collier, Kennedy & Artwell in midfield, with Smart, Wright & Argent up front.
On the bench were; Bunting, Atkinson, Demuria, McKnight and Wohlfiel.

In this league a 3pm kick-off actually starts at 2.59 or 2.58pm or in today’s case, as both sets of fans were still finding their place to sit or stand, when the referee blew the whistle to start the game.

Basingstoke had the early advantage in the first few minutes, but attacks by Smart and Artwell end up with nothing. Stortford respond on 6 minutes, with two quick attacks, but both well wide of the Stoke goal.

On 11 minutes, with Stortford gaining more possession, they again break on the right, but the shot is straight at McAdden, who comfortably saves the ball.

On 13 minutes (and maybe an omen for the day), Charlie Kennedy wins the ball on the halfway-line and surges towards the Stortford goal, he neatly slips the ball to Sam Argent, who on the edge of the box, shoots, the keeper is beaten, but it rebounds out off the inside of the post and the ball is scrambled away.

Stortford break again and a further shot is saved by McAdden. The home team are now starting to win the battle in midfield and from a Stortford, corner on 19 minutes, their player who is completely unmarked at the far post, fortunately shoots wildly over the bar.

An early observation I noted on my phone is that Bayliss is playing out of his boots, as he seems to be winning everything in the air and on the ground.

On 23 minutes and possibly a deciding factor in the game, as Basingstoke attack, Smart is fed the ball on the wing with space, the linesman (the only one in the ground), thinks it’s offside and the ref blows for the kick. Stortford take a quick free-kick and break down the right, the forward cuts in on his left and his first shot is parried away by McAdden, but the rebound is swept into the net.
Bishop Stortford 1 – 0 Basingstoke Town

The Stoke fans and officials, situated by the offending linesman, quite rightly decide to tell him, that he got that one wrong.

On 26 minutes, Artwell wins a free-kick on the left-hand-side of the box. Wright’s quality free-kick, is there for the header, but it’s cleared away.

Stortford, continue to put more pressure on the Stoke defence, but on 33 minutes, a Bennett free-kick just inside the opposition’s half, is cleared away, but Smart is fed the ball again and a quick one-two with Collier, but Smarts cross is deflected softly to the keeper.

Stortford continue to press, but Artwell wins the ball on the edge of our box, and goes on a run of 50yards, beating two Stortford defenders on the way, but the 3rd defender thinks a handful of Artwell’s shirt and three shoves on Artwell, who finally loses the ball won’t be noticed by the referee. Well he was right, as the referee waves play-on. A Basingstoke fan, just 15 yards from the incident shouts “Are you ******* kidding me”.

On 38 minutes, the imposter in all-black backs-up his incompetence, as Artwell has the ball just outside the box, he’s brought down, the ref waves the advantage hand-signal, but as Artwell is trying to regain his feet and surprise, surprise Stortford clear.

All though Stortford seem to have more possession, Stoke, are having their chances as on 40 minutes the ball is blocked by Stortford defenders from a both Wright’s shot and Artwell’s follow-up. It is at this time I am informed by Terry Brown will be making major changes at halftime, a both Michael Atkinson and Callum Bunting will be coming on at halftime.

On 42 minutes, Bennett has the ball on the left, whose lovely cross, is met by a Wright header, but the keeper dives full-length and makes a terrific save, to keep the ball out.
Halftime Bishop Stortford 1 – 0 Basingstoke Town.

Atkinson and Bunting are on for Wright and Artwell.
On 47 minutes, Stoke attack again, but shots by Argent and Smart are both blocked and yet another Stortford player is down on the ground, halting the play.

On 53 minutes, Argent breaks down the left, and as he cuts inside, he his ankles clipped and the ref doesn’t play advantage this time and blows for the free-kick. Bennett’s free-kick ends up at the far edge of the box, Hollamby regains the ball, but his pass is short and Stortford clear.

On 55 minutes Smart feeds Argent who slides the ball to Bennett, whose cross is easily cleared by the defence.
On 66 minutes, Argent down the left, is tackled, we win it back, only to give it away again and the resulting clearance, is not one by either Stoke centre-backs and Stortford break and they slip the ball past McAdden.
Bishop Stortford 2 – 0 Basingstoke Town

!0 seconds from our restart, we give them the ball, they break again and fortunately McAdden is alert enough to block the Stortford attacker.

69 minutes in, we make our last substitution as Hollamby is replaced by Demuria.

Stortford are now on top and fortunately they fail to produce a shot on target.

On 77 minutes, the referee sums up his performance as two Stortford players taking it in turns to handle the ball, but he waves play on.

On 79 minutes, the ball breaks to Kennedy on the edge of the box, but his shot is dragged two yards wide.

The game is now much pretty dead as we fail to create any more chances. Stortford are able to handle us.

Stortford have another clear chance on 88 minutes, but shoot five yards wide.

Talk is now of next week’s trip to Frome and how physical they will be against us on their boggy pitch.

Final Score Bishop Stortford 2 – 0 Basingstoke Town Attendance reported as 353, but more like 250 max.

The dwindling Stoke faithful more depressed, retire to the Stortford bar, before they make their journey home.

The Stoke players who come in the clubhouse are clearly unhappy with that result, which at least is a good sign. We hope they can turn it around next week at Frome.

Away Match-report by Martin French

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