Basingstoke Town 2 – 0 Biggleswade Town Saturday 11th November 2017
Underpinned by a simply superb individual performance from Sam Smart, Basingstoke Town cruised to a comfortable victory over struggling Biggleswade Town here at The Camrose this afternoon.
The scoreline was 2-0, but it could and tbh should have been more.
On a cloudy, dry – but increasingly chilly – Remembrance weekend Saturday afternoon, Manager Terry Brown set up at The Fortress with a predictably all-out attacking formation.
Colm McAdden was in goal, Marcus Johnston-Schuster was right back, George Bennett was left back, the centre backs were Shane Hollamby and Guri Demuria, Dan Collier and Charlie Kennedy were holding midfield, Ben Wright was in the hole and the two Sams (Argent and Smart) were either side of big target man Callum Bunting up top.
The visitors actually started brightly and in the very first minute a ball across our area from the left eluded everyone.
Wright responded a minute later with a somewhat tame low shot straight at their keeper.
In the sixth minute Wright again as he cut inside and this time unleashed a fierce effort, but once again straight at the keeper.
Sixty seconds later and Johnston-Schuster, in better overall form for me this season, beat his man on the right, delivered a decent cross, Bunting rose to meet it and his header produced a low save from the keeper.
Biggleswade weren’t offering much and in the eighth minute their first corner came to nothing.
We were on top, but though we deserved a goal when it came it was accompanied by a huge slice of luck.
In the 11th minute a long ball over the top seemed to be dealt with by a back header to the keeper but he fumbled and dropped it and the predatory Smart was on hand to ruthlessly punish the error with a tap into an empty net.
We were suddenly rampant now and in the 13th minute a nice ball in from the left from the industrious Argent and Smart was almost into it.
Two minutes later and Argent was on the right this time, putting in a lovely cross field ball to Wright who drew the keeper right out and turned and whipped the ball into the box, but Smart got in a slight tangle as he was closed down and couldn’t finish.
Biggleswade were under the cosh and in the 20th minute Argent and Smart linked up well and Smart shot low to the keepers left from 15 yards out and drew a decent save.
All the visitors could offer in the next ten minutes was another corner that came to nothing and in the 31st minute more sublime Smart trickery to the right in their tormented the Biggleswade back line.
Two minutes later Wright tried a 35-yard lob, with the keeper well off his line, but his speculative effort couldn’t clear him.
And in the 37th minute another good move culminated in a low Bennett ball in from the left being gathered by the keeper.
A slight scare a minute later as McAdden was almost charged down, but the half ended with more unplayable skill from Smart before feeding Wright whose shot was blocked.
Tim Wohlfiel replaced Bennett, who I thought had done ok, at half time.
Biggleswade came out fighting, or trying to, start of the second half, but all they could muster was a 47th minute corner which achieved nought and in the 50th minute McAdden, looking much more confident lately, had to get down well to smother the ball following a run in the left after we had lost possession.
It just wasn’t enough from the visitors and in the 52nd minute we sealed the win.
Having won a free kick deep on the left near the corner flag, after the initial ball in was cleared a deft Smart back heel into the box found Bunting, who turned well and produced a clinical finish low to the keepers right to make it 2-0.
And two minutes later it could have been three as Wright made his way through the middle, but he can’t quite buy a goal at present and tbh might have done better.
Shortly afterwards Argent got clear to the left of the area but, if I’m being fussy, for the third time that afternoon had drifted into an offside position.
We were all over the hapless Biggleswade, but the final ball was too often lacking.
In the 63rd minute Smart showed amazing pace to get there after a ball from Wright went beyond Bunting, but for once his cross from the right went astray.
In the 68th minute the visitors cut inside from the right and shot, but their first effort on target all day was low, weak and straight at McAdden.
Two minutes later and yet more Smart skill on the right, a fab cross and Bunting’s header was cleared off the line.
And in the 76th minute Wright had a left-footed shot, the keeper fumbled and Bunting was almost onto the rebound.
The ever lively Kennedy picked up a booking in the 77th minute and 60 seconds later Biggleswade’s second shot of the afternoon, wild and high over the bar after a corner had been cleared.
We remained the more likely to score though and, in the 83rd minute, a well-weighted pass from Argent found Bunting, whose first-time left-foot pile driver was tipped over the bar for a corner.
Sam Deadfield replaced Wright in the 83rd minute and five minutes later Deadfield shot just wide after running onto a ball from he left.
But the afternoon belonged to Smart and two minutes into stoppage time he showed yet more amazing skill on the right before the most delightful cross to the unmarked Bunting whose free header was as wasteful as it was powerful, flying back across the stranded keeper but wide of the gaping net.
But it mattered not, the whistle went and a welcome 3pts back at The Fortress elevated us to 13th place in the table this Saturday night.
The pint half full will say the visitors were poor – and for once they’d have a point.
But for me it was another entertaining home victory – an attacking 4-2-1-3 formation creating plenty of chances and taking more than enough of them to take the points.
Smart was the star, but good work from the other three forwards, Demuria did well alongside the accomplished Hollamby and a word for Collier, who I am so often critical of.
He didn’t put a foot wrong today, his pass completion was much better and he was in there breaking up play before it could get anywhere near our back four.
Match Report: By Ian Davies