Well as the saying goes “After the Lord Mayor’s Show”
Basingstoke Town followed up arguably their best performance of the season with arguably their worst – and indisputably so on paper, as they were hammered 1-6 at home to Weymouth this afternoon.
With David Ray and Ashleigh Artwell injured, Mark Hastings out with recurring glandular fever and Matt Partridge serving the last game of a three-match suspension, Manager Terry Brown had little option to other than to play an attacking 4-4-2 midfield diamond given the 11 players he had at his disposal.
Alex Tokarcyzk was in goal, skipper for the day Marcus Johnston-Schluster was right back, Charlie Kennedy dropped to centre-back alongside Joe Gater, George Bennett was left back, Dan Collier was holding midfield, Michael Atkinson was right midfield, Nana Owusu was left midfield, Sam Deadfield was in the hole, and Aaron Jarvis and Aaron Redford were up top.
With Weymouth reportedly missing a few players themselves and starting a few younger players, we were much the more lively early on.
In the very first minute, Redford cut inside from the right and had a left-footed shot which went straight at the keeper.
In the fourth minute Owusu had a low deflected cross from the left also gathered by Weymouth’s ginger stopper.
In the 12th minute Redford went on a run, ignored Jarvis’s diagonal run across him and Atkinson free to the right and dragged wide a left-footed effort.Weymouth looked there for the taking, but boy were we wrong!We lost momentum and, on 26 minutes, we gave the ball away on the right, and a deflected shot appeared to go underneath Tokarcyzk and beat him at his near post.
Like Ian Davies, I am a big fan of our keeper, but I think he will be disappointed with that and to be honest it wasn’t his day.
A mere three minutes later, we gave away a free kick in a dangerous area. I was standing right behind the goal, when a well-struck shot into Tokarcyzk’s top left-hand corner found its target though our keeper did get a hand on it. I don’t think many keepers at whatever level would have stopped that shot.
We were two down but at this point you still felt there was a way back – Weymouth were clearly clinical going forwards but fragile at the back.
In the 36th minute Jarvis whipped in a good low ball from the right, Redford’s first touch was decent, and he shot on the turn but their keeper made a good save low to his left.
With the crowd getting restless and just two minutes later, probably the fatal blow as they got free on the left, Tokarcyzk chose to come rushing off his line, he tried to dive on the ball, but missed it and conceded what looked from my vantage point to be a clear penalty.
They made no mistake from the spot, putting the ball in Tokarcyzk’s top left-hand corner.
Three-nil down at half time and some fans by now, preferred the comforts of the clubhouse, than the beginning of the second half.
Our only hope was an early second-half goal as a lifeline back into the game.
A minute in and we should have had it.
A ball over the top, two Weymouth defenders got in a tangle and Jarvis was clean through one on one with the keeper. But, not for the first time this season, Jarvis shot literally straight at the keeper who, even though he guessed and dived right, was still able to throw back a hand and parry the shot away.
But two minutes later, we nevertheless got that lifeline as Atkinson intelligently fed Johnston-Schluster who went on a rare overlap and his drilled low cross was met by Redford who threw himself at it to volley home from inside the six-yard box.
We were back on top and dominant now and in the 59th minute Deadfield delivered a corner to the back post where Gater got a header away but straight at the keeper.
However, this fightback was not to last, as a mere 60 seconds later we conceded from a corner – though some felt Deadfield cleared from off the line – and it was much pretty game over at 1-4, even with half an hour to go.
And three minutes later it got even worse. They spotted Tokarcyzk off his line on the right and he was lobbed – a good finish to be fair – to make it 1-5.
With us beaten, Brown began to salvage what he could by giving academy players game time and on 70 Jarvis was taken off and on came Maurice Black.
Then on 73 Collier was replaced by Will Shaw.
We kept trying to play and on 77 Owusu beat their right back numerous times, turning him inside out, before delivering too deep a cross from the left.
And on 82 Owusu and Atkinson – now seemingly switched to the left – linked up well together, but to no avail.
However, on 83 minutes, Weymouth went straight up the other end and made it 1-6.
Ian’s take on this was pretty much accurate, stating that “They were lethal and clinical up top to be fair – it pretty much looked like six chances, six goals from where I was standing.”
Three minutes into stoppage time Bennett, one of our better players today, went on a run before feeding Redford who turned and shot, but their keeper saved well low to his right.
And that was it.There is a stat in football betting that, when teams lose very heavily, they usually lose their next match too.This doesn’t bode well for the trip to lowly St Neot’s next week, a game we ought to be winning. However, although St Neot’s with just 25 points, compared to our 41, they have still got two more goals on us, so we will need to find a defence this Saturday.
Who will be fit, will be yet another concern as well. At least Partridge will be back.
Man-of-the-match George Bennett
Match Report – Contains large extracts by Ian Davies, with included text from Martin French.