Basingstoke Town 3 – 0 Gosport Borough Tuesday 26th December 2017
Attendance – 325
On a miserable, cold, wet, Boxing Day afternoon, in front of the worst Bank Holiday crowd I can remember seeing (given as 325 but looked like 180) here at The Camrose, a quite exquisite assist from young first-team debutant Liam Hunt for the decisive second goal was the highlight to hang onto for the future as Basingstoke Town eventually ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Gosport Borough, having made heavy weather of it for much of the contest.
With Sam Argent and Sam Deadfield joining the injury list, Manager Terry Brown’s options were further limited.
Colm McAdden was in goal, the back four seemed to be Tim Wohlfiel (though he got forward a lot), Guri Demuria, Dan Bayliss and Jordan Goater; Dan Collier was holding midfield, Michael Atkinson (though he kept dropping to right back) was on the right, George Bennett was on the left, Jack McKnight was in the hole and Callum Bunting and Sam Smart were up top. Hunt, Charlie Kennedy and Ben Wright were on another incomplete bench.
Gosport have reportedly come into a bit of funding – it looked about £7.50p off Santa – and they looked marginally less awful than last time I saw them.
Even so, we were soon on top and in the third minute Wohlfiel won the first of numerous corners for us in the match.
Bennett’s delivery was excellent, but Demuria stooped to send the weakest of headers straight at the keeper.
In the ninth minute we won another corner, but that was cleared, we had a shambolic moment in central defence as they broke, Gosport got clean through on goal to the right of the area and it took a decent save low to his left from the in-form McAdden to deny them.
And a minute later Gosport got another shot away, this time firing low and wide from the right.
In the 14th minute we won another corner and Bennett’s peach of a ball in was met by Bunting with a decent header which the keeper tipped over the bar.
Bennett put in yet another good ball which was cleared to Collier who volleyed the ball out of the ground from outside the area.
It was all us now and in the 18th minute Wohlfiel chested the ball down and drove forwards before unleashing a low effort across goal and just wide from the edge of the area.
A minute later and Gosport’s nervy keeper fumbled a hopeful long ball into the box and Smart battled well to win yet another corner.
This time the delivery was not so good.
25 minutes in and yet more injury woe.
Collier off injured, Wright on, and Atkinson dropped to holding midfield, McKnight moved to the right, and Smart was handed a free role in behind the two big, but less than mobile, forwards Bunting and Wright.
We continued to dominate.
We won another corner in the 26th minute, which came to nothing.
A minute late a surging run from McKnight won a free kick 22 yards out, but Wright couldn’t clear the wall and it went out for yet another corner.
McKnight’s delivery went straight into the keeper’s grateful hands.
On the half hour, another corner, but a poor Bennett delivery and then, in the 32nd minute, our ninth corner of the first half.
And this time we made it count as a sweet inswinger from the right from the left foot of the Yeovil unit was met at the near post by the running in Bunting whose flicked header sent it back across the keeper and into the far corner to give us the lead.
There was a brief sting in the tail as Bunting immediately went down hurt, but he recovered and two minutes later he almost had a fortuitous second as an attempted clearance cannoned back off him and just wide of goal.
After that Gosport showed some resilience and in the 36th minute they had a left-footed effort from 25 yards out slightly to the right go well wide.
Then in the second minute of stoppage time, after a howler from Bayliss, McAdden, who had advanced to make himself available for a back pass, was almost chipped from distance.’
Half time, we’re a goal up, but the opposition is poor and it seems our main weapon is for Bennett to try to put the ball on Bunting’s head at corners.
And it was getting colder and starting to rain more heavily.
The second half started poorly with little offered on either side.
In the 49th minute Kennedy came on for the injured Atkinson.
And in the 56th minute Goater was also injured and was replaced by Hunt who went to wide left midfield with the Yeovil unit reverting to left back.
A minute later we won a free kick after Smart was fouled, but McKnight’s delivery was poor.
The standard of play was getting dire in the deteriorating conditions and Gosport were starting to look a bit dangerous on the break.
But we weathered their briefest of spells and in the 58th minute Smart won a corner and in the 59th McKnight won yet another.
Both came to nothing, though.
And in the 62nd minute we won a free kick to the left of the area, but McKnight’s ball in was straight at the keeper.
From this Gosport broke, but shot wide.
However, just when it looked like we might somehow manage to throw this game away, in the 64th minute, a moment to light up the miserable afternoon.
Picking up the ball on the left, Hunt cut onto his right foot and delivered the most sublime, exquisite, perfectly-weighted, inch-perfect, defence-splitting, diagonal ball to Smart on the right who unleashed a delicious low finish back across the keeper and in off the inside of the post to double our lead.
Smart delivered another fabulous set of somersaults in celebration, but the quality supplied by Hunt cannot be understated and the lad can draw tremendous confidence from this.
Gosport’s dejected heads went down and we were all over them with 25 minutes still to go.
Wright and Bennett won us more corners in the 66th and 69th minutes which came to nought and in the 72nd minute the now rampant Smart, his lean spell over, cut inside onto his right foot and fired wide from outside the area.
But better was to follow and in the 78th minute, with Gosport dismally failing to halt his progress, Smart was able to bring the ball from the corner flag right along the byline into the area and to the very edge of the six-yard box before supplying Bunting who had a tap in for his second from about three yards out.
Exhibition stuff now. And a minute after Wright passed two players inside the box on the right before cutting inside and curling a left-footed effort wide of the far top corner.
Plus a comedy moment on 80 minutes as Wohlfiel burst through on goal only to fall over.
In the 81st minute, Bunting won a corner and from McKnight’s low ball in Wright’s clipped shot on the turn was cleared from off the line.
And in the 85th minute Hunt tried his luck, and his decent low strike from 25 yards out went just wide.
In the 87th minute good link up play between Bunting and Smart on the overlap culminated in Wright putting the ball in the net, but the flag was up for offside.
And Wright could have scored in the first minute of stoppage time on the break, but he will be disappointed with his low effort from the right which, while powerful, was dragged well wide.
And so it ended 3-0.
Not a great game of football but 3pts and, as ceo Dave Knight pointed out to me, a decent outcome (even if it was only Gosport) given we only had eight fit players on the pitch at the end.
The Manager again watched the game in the stands.
“Is Terry watching from there because it’s nearer to the exit?” I asked Dave.
He just laughed – well, you had to, really, it was one of those cold miserable afternoons where, even when you win, you need your sense of humour to keep you going.
Match Report by Ian Davies