Biggleswade Town 1 – 2 Basingstoke Town Saturday 3rd February 2018
Attendance – 135
With today’s match reporter suffering another cold, he was prescribed medicinal alcohol for the day.
After receiving confirmation that no pitch inspection was necessary, the lucky seven took to the trains to travel to Biggleswade. Upon our arrival, the rain had turned to more of a drizzle, and there was the odd thought that this game may still get called off when the match official arrived.
Anyway, after watching Burnley deservedly nick a point off Man City in a local hostelry, we made our way to the ground, to find a ground virtually empty of fans. The reported 135, must have included about 50 season ticket holders who were not actually there at the game.
Anyway, Terry Brown’s match-day squad consisted the following starting line-up; with Colm McAdden in goal, a back four of Wohlfiel, Demuria, Hollamby and Bayliss. In midfield the returning captain Charlie Kennedy, George Bennett, Jack McKnight and Sam Smart. Up front Callum Bunting & Sam Argent.
The bench consisted of Jordan Goater, Michael Atkinson, Harry Philby & Ben Wright.
The game started under grey but dry skies and Stoke were first on the attack as a nice one-two between Bennett & Argent down the left came to nothing.
However, in the 4th minute and whilst our team were still getting use to the muddy conditions, Biggleswade attacked down our right, Wohlfiel misses the tackle and the home team find the back of the net. Biggleswade Town 1 – 0 Basingstoke Town.
We are back on the attack, as Smart breaks down the right, but his cross is well cleared by the big Biggleswade No.6.
Although Stoke seem to have more possession, it’s Biggleswade who have the next chance, but McAdden is down to turn a shot out for a corner.
12 mins in and Stoke attack with McKnight slipping Bunting through, but his shot flies wide.
On 15 mins Bunting is put through again, his shot beats the keeper, but smashes against the post and away to safety.
Then on 19 mins Bunting then beats two defenders and slips the ball inside to Sam Argent, whose low drive is well blocked from 10yds out.
Basingstoke are looking the more dangerous, and on 25 mins a Bennett cross beats everyone and two mins later further good work from McKnight as he slips Smart through, but his pass to Argent is flagged for offside. Some fans question it, but the lino was probably right on this occasion.
On 33 mins Biggleswade attack down our left the ball is slipped past Bayliss, but the cross is well defended by Hollamby, who put it out for a corner. Nothing comes from the corner.
Then on 37 mins Stoke following a lovely bit of play from Argent to Bennett win the first of 3 corners. The second being an in-swinging kick from Bennett is headed over his own bar by a Biggleswade defender. The 3rd corner is initially blocked, but McKnight’s cross back in finds Bunting, who flicks a lovely header into the corner of the net and we finally get back on to level terms after 38 mins.
With 2 mins to go to halftime, Stoke attack again, but Smart’s dribble is finally stopped by a defender as he enters the penalty area.
Halftime: Biggleswade Town 1 – 1 Basingstoke Town
No changes at halftime for Basingstoke, as we are underway for the 2nd half. Again, it’s us who seem to have more possession, as Bunting and Smart are sent through in the early minutes, but both are blocked by the home team.
On 58 mins after further good work by Argent down the left, he slips the ball inside to McKnight, who flicks it onto Bunting who beats the defender, but his shot flies a yard wide.
Biggleswade (the Waders), then attack down our right, but Kennedy makes a lovely tackle to stop the attack and releases Smart down the right, but this ends with nothing.
61 mins and Stoke are on the front foot again, this time the ball is fed across to Bennett, who lines up a shot that flies two yards over the bar, which I end up going to retrieve. A minute later Bunting breaks down the right and is lovely cross must find Argent, but a defender gets the slightest of touches and it’s out for a corner.
64 mins in and a cross from the right finds Argent, whose header across the goal, beats the keeper but is scooped clear of the line? The Btg are screaming for the VAR system to be used, but as this club doesn’t have any Sky or BT sports it’s unlikely you are going to ever get the VAR system here. Anyway, it probably didn’t cross the line, but Stoke are back on the attack on 66 mins, but Bunting is well tackled and Biggleswade clear.
Stoke make their first change as Bennett with another decent performance is replaced by Michael Atkinson.
The pitch is starting to cut up in the goalmouth, as Argent can’t get the ball to roll properly and it’s cleared away.
Then on 70 mins we win a throw-in about 10yds out from the corner flag down the left. McKnight’s throw-in somehow finds Bunting 8yds out is first shot is mis-hit stops in the mud but fools the defender and Bunting is there for the follow-up and takes one touch before slotting past the keeper.
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS Biggleswade Town 1 – 2 Basingstoke Town.
Stoke are back on the attack again and Atkinson from the left-hand side of the pitch 25 yds out goes on a mazy run past two defenders, the crowd shout for him to shoot, but his shot goes 4yds wide.
Stoke attack again on 75 mins but Smart’s cross is again well blocked, McKnight’s follow-up is also blocked and Biggleswade clear.
82 mins and Biggleswade break down the left the cross, beats everyone and is retrieved by the home team, who cause more havoc in our defence and we somehow block the shot and we are able to clear. We are under more pressure a minute later, but the shot flies a yard wide.
Stoke are back in the Waders half for a couple of minutes but fail to produce anything on goal. Then on 85 mins, McAdden produces a superb save pushing the ball over the bar from a fierce shot by a Waders forward. Thankfully nothing results form the corner and we are back on the attack, with Smart and Bunting combining on the right-hand edge of the box, the ball is slipped back into Smart who beat one defender, then hits it with his left foot (yes, his left foot), the shot crashes against the bar and away to safety.
On 90 mins they break from our attack, but one of our defenders breaks up that attack as they enter our penalty area.
Now the ref has had a good and fairly quiet game till now, it’s been one of the cleanest games all year, I can’t remember any real injuries and I’m wondering where we seem to have all this injury-time from. The only time either physio was on the pitch was when we they both walked across the pitch at half-time to go down the tunnel.
We are now 6, no 7 mins into added time and we are holding them in their half. Where’s the final whistle. A chant goes up “You can’t tell the time”, yet the ref plays on.
Finally, at 4.56, the ref finds his whistle and blows for full-time.
Final Score Biggleswade Town 1 – 2 Basingstoke Town
Our 3rd win on the road in the league this season and well deserved.
Star players were Bunting & McKnight, but a good-all-round performance today by the boys and we are back on the road at Banbury on Tuesday night.
Match Report by Martin French..