Southern Premier League Match Saturday 10th March 2018
Basingstoke Town 1 – 0 St Neots Town Attendance 284
On a cool but damp morning, the sun came out as the Basingstoke boys came out to take on a St Neots Town team, who sat one place above us in 11th place in the table.
Due to a couple of knocks midweek at Slough, Terry’s starting line-up for today was as follows; In goal Colm McAdden, a back four of Tim Wohlfiel, Guri Demuria, Captain for the day Shane Hollamby and George Bennett. In midfield Dan Collier, Sam Smart, Michael Atkinson & Jack McKnight and a forward line of Callum Bunting & Sam Argent.
The bench consisted of Jordan Goater, Charlie Kennedy, Dan Bayliss & Ben Wright.
The game started slowly with neither team creating anything of note until the 7th minute when Smart’s pace creates space for him to put in a decent cross, but the keeper is first to it and the ball is cleared down field quickly.
On 9 mins and after some good passing St Neots attack down our right, the ball is sent over the back post, which is met by Bennett’s head, but the ball is cleared, but St Neots are given a free-kick just inside our half. The ball is put straight back in the box and another cross, this time is met by a St Neots head, this time Hollamby head’s clear, but to a Saints forward, who smashes a volley, which looks goal bound all the way, until McAdden gets a strong hand to it and flicks it over the bar for a corner. From the corner Dan Collier goes down injured and the two-minute delay results in Dan swathed in a bandage around his head. But he’s good to carry on.
On 12 mins Saints attack again, which leads to another shot on goal, but McAdden makes a good save and the danger is stopped for the moment.
15 mins and we win a free-kick 40yds out from goal. However, the kick flies 15yds past the far post and goes out for a goal-kick.
Further corners by St Neots on 16 and 17 mins, which are both well defended by Stoke, are then followed by a good one-two move by Saints down our left and a shot is well taken by McAdden low-down at his near post.
We seem to be under siege here as a further attack on 22 mins leads to another corner, this time no-one can get it cleared and as it bounces around our penalty spot, a shot is blocked by Collier and the follow-up shot is partially blocked and bounces upto McAdden harmlessly.
27 mins and Stoke break down our right, the ball breaks to Smart but his shot which beats the keeper, also beats the far post and goes out for a goal-kick.
On 32 mins we win a corner, Bennett’s decent kick is met by Bunting, but it’s not a clean header and goes wide of the post.
Another free-kick on 38 mins by Bennett, this time is hit too long, Demuria does get a touch to it, but the ball is easily cleared.
On 42 mins and Stoke win another free-kick inside St Neots half. The Bennett kick again is too deep, but Bunting is able to get the slightest of headers on it and yet another goal-kick.
However, on 43 mins from the goal-kick Stoke build again down our right, Sam Argent slips it to McKnight, whose low cross is deflected away by a defender, but only to the waiting Sam Smart, who sweeps it back across the goal and into the corner of the net. Stoke 1 – 0 Saints.
Very little else happens for the next couple of minutes and the ref blows the halftime whistle.
48 mins in and Stoke are back on the attack, after good work by Smart his cross falls to Bunting, but it is unable to control it and it bounces slowly to the keeper. A minute later and Collier breaks with the ball from the halfway line, slips it to Smart who goes on a dazzling run past two defenders, but he gets fouled, the ref waves play on, the ball rolls to McKnight who also gets fouled but has time to release the ball to Argent, who shoots from wide of the goal and the keeper is down low to make the save. The ref finally finds his notebook and the Saints defender deservedly goes in the book.
50 and 52 mins we have further attacks, but both are well cleared by the Saints defence. Then on 54 mins Basingstoke are attacking down the left, the ball is fed by Atkinson to Argent, who cuts inside but his shot is not hit cleanly and the keeper makes a comfortable save.
Then on 56 mins we again build down the right, Atkinson wins the ball on the edge of the ball, he shows superb footwork as he beats the defender cuts inside along the goal line, then passes to a waiting Argent, is brought down as he shoots. The shot is saved by the keeper and Argent’s down injured. The ref appears to warn Sam Argent for diving, but there was a clear call for a penalty.
61 mins in we attack again, this time down our right, Collier and McKnight combine to create a chance for Collier, but it’s on his left foot, but his shot slips a couple of yards wide of the far post.
Saints are back on the attack and have two shots, which both are wide of the post.
68 mins in Stoke attack again, we build down our left and after a decent play by Atkinson and Argent, the ball finds Smart at the far post, but his first time shot flies wide of the post. That’s about 6 or 7 shots which have flown wide of the post today.
Stoke make their first change of the day, as goal-scorer Sam Smart is replaced by Charlie Kennedy. Smart gets a good reception as he walks off the pitch.
Very little happens for a couple of minutes and Stoke make their 2nd substitution as Dan Bayliss replaces Jack McKnight. The Btg comment that we seem to be going rather defensive a little too early.
74 mins in and St Neots attack down our right and the shot is blocked and goes out for a corner. The resulting corner is superbly headed clear by Wohlfiel.
The next five minutes is rather quiet, so the George Bennett “He’s better at pool” chant goes up. This seems to spur George on as on 79 mins he breaks with the ball and a lovely cross finds Bunting, whose header flies a couple of yards over the ball.
St Neots are now attacking again and trying to keep us penned in our half, but to be honest create very little.
3rd and final substitution for Stoke as Ben Wright replaces Callum Bunting.
We are now heading into 3 minutes of injury-time and the Stoke defence to a man today have been superb, as anything that’s thrown is well defended.
The ref has had enough and he bows the full-time whistle. A roar goes up from the Btg as another win pushes us up the table.
Fulltime score: Basingstoke Town 1 – 0 St Neots Town
A hard-fought win puts us upto 10th in the table with league leaders Hereford Utd coming to the Camrose fortress next Saturday.
Match report by Martin French.