Slough Town 1 – 1 Basingstoke Town Tuesday 6th March 2018
On a night when I handed over the away match reporting to a guest reporter, Basingstoke came to a Slough team on the edge of the playoffs and we will clearly go home the happier.
The Stoke line-up was in goal, McAdden, at the back Wohlfiel, Demuria, Bayliss & Bennett, in midfield Capatin Charlie Kennedy, Atkinson, Collier & McKnight. Up front was Bunting & Argent.
On the bench was; Goater, Wirght, Smart & Hollamby.
The first official decision after 3 mins was by a Slough Steward who told us to remove our flags from the perimeter fencing. It wasn’t hurting anyone, but apparently Slough council don’t like it. Maybe, that’s why Slough didn’t have a one single flag in the entire ground!
Also to note Slough have a got a throw-in specialist, so everytime they get a throw-in anywhere near our penalty area, he zooms the ball into the 6-yard area, but gernerally Stoke coped very well with on the night.
The only incident of note in the early stages was a booking to the Rebels midfielder Lee Togwell after just 5 minutes for a mistimed tackle.
On 9 minutes the first chance arrived for the Rebels. Following some loose play by the Stoke defence Perry Coles managed to get a free run in on Colm McAdden. The Slough striker elected a lob which did not have enough elevation and McAdden was able to paw the ball past the post for a corner. From the resulting flag kick from Matt Lench, Guy Hollis rose highest and was unlucky to see his header hit the crossbar.
On 17 minutes a superb pass from Charlie kennedy through the heart of Slough’s defence to Sam Argent, but on the fast 3g surface, the all runa way from him and the keeper was well out to clear the ball.
After 22 minutes Basingstoke had their first chance. The impressive George Bennett made good progress down the left and his accurate cross found the head of Sam Argent. The Rebels goalie Jack Turner was alert and blocked the goal-bound effort for a corner.
On 24 mins Stoke wina corner down our right. The Bennett corner is met by a Demuria header, but it is a weak one headed into the ground, and the keeper has time to snatch it in the air. Slough maintained an edge in play but a well organised Stoke defence ensured no efforts of note were able to threaten McAdden in goal.
Also on 44 minutes after some Slough pressure, Argent wins a tackle 25yds out and then a neat one-two pass movement between Argent & Bennett, allowed George to deliver a low-hard cross, only for the keeper to dive full-length to hold onto the ball.
HALF TIME: SLOUGH TOWN 0 BASINGSTOKE TOWN 0
Basingstoke almost got off to the perfect start when a fast break gave George Bennett a chance and his parting shot was pushed around the near post by Turner.
With both sides guilty of misplaced passes and Slough over elaborate in their build up; the Rebels introduced Manny Wiiliams and Simon Dunn from the bench on 63 minutes. The effect was quickly noticeable and three minutes later a chance was created for Matt Lench. The midfielders shot from 20 yards saw Mc Adden dive full length to push the ball away.
However it was ‘stoke who were to take the lead. On 70 minutes a free kick was awarded some 25 yards from goal and to the left of the penalty box. Jack McKnight stepped up and curled a delightful shot into the top corner. (0-1).
The Rebels response was almost immediate as Matt Lench created space for a shot. His effort went just past the post. There was a delay of several minutes as Colm McAdden went down injured following a collision with a Rebels forward.
Slough piled on the pressure and were rewarded with the equaliser on 78 minutes. George Wells started the move on the left and fed Simon Dunn. The substitute fed Chris Flood who fired into the roof of the net from 15 yards. (1-1) Slough fans finally woke up once they got the equaliser.
The Rebels attacked continuously in search of the winner and on 84 minutes a good effort from Matt Lench saw McAdden push the ball around the post.
The ‘stoke goal came under intense pressure in the latter stages and some brave defending held the Rebels at bay. Into added time Slough had one last chance when a cross from Guy Hollis found Warren Harris who headed wide.
SLOUGH TIME 1 BASINGSTOKE TOWN 1
Admittedly we had to hamg on at the end, but every Stoke fan was happy to come home with a point on the night.
Notes: It was good to catch-up with the other ex-Stoke players Nathan Smart & Manny Williams.
A good performance all-round on the night, with McAdden, Atkinson & Demuria as my star players.
Slough will make the playoffs, but on this performance, we will likely be playing them at Arbor Park next season.
It will be interesting to see the difference when we get them at home later this month.
Stoke extend their unbeaten run. Let’s hope for more on saturday at home.
Stoke move into the top half of the table.
Match Report by David Graham & Martin French