Bet Victor Division One South – Saturday 11th January 2020
(The Barum) Barnstaple Town 0 v 2 Basingstoke Town Attendance 157
Where: Mill Road, Barnstaple, Devon. EX31 1JQ
Ho! Ho! Ho! Off the bottom we go, with a battling performance in strong windy conditions, that earns us three valuable points.
Manager Dan Brownlie with a number of changes, went with a starting line-up of; 1. Freddie Gee, 2. Alfie Saunders, 3. Adam Everiss, 4. Ryan Suckling, 5. Dean Stow (Capt) 6. Josh Edwards, 7. Harrison Cliff, 8. Ben Cook, 9. Ben Wright, 10. D’Andre Brown, 11. Bradley Wilson,
On the bench: Ricardo Andrady, Jordan Alves, Aiden Harris, Mikey Davis & Ben Dillon
With the skies grey, and a very strong wind behind us, the game gets underway with us attacking the clubhouse/turnstile end and it’s Stoke on the attack and in the 3rd minute, the ball is pushed through to Bradley Wilson who breaks clear, and decides not to shoot, but take the ball around the oncoming Barum keeper. The touch just a little too hard, allows a defender to get back as Bradley shoots and it hits the defender’s sliding leg and goes out for a corner. The corner taken by Ben Cook is in swinging kick that is taken by the wind and is over the keeper and hits the far post, but as the ball rebounds out, it hits the keeper in the back of the head and flies into the net, GOAL! Barnstaple Town 0 – 1 Basingstoke Town
If anything the wind is getting stronger, and Barnstaple are struggling to clear the ball on a muddy bumpy pitch as, bad passing and clearances fly out of the ground, which allows us to put more pressure on the home team.
On 8mins, we break deep into their half through Ben Cook who drives past two defenders, then stops and slides it inside to Ben Wright who turns and forces his way through one tackle hits a right-foot shot that hits a defenders leg and flies up into the air and over the bar. It’s Cook again from the right-hand side who sends in a vicious kick, that appears to beat the keeper and hit the bar and fly out for a corner, but the referee, believes the keeper gets a touch to it and awards us another corner from the left-hand side. It’s Ryan Suckling’s turn to send a wicked corner into the penalty area and a defender mis-heads it over the bar and out for another corner. Suckling’s next attempt has the keeper palming the ball away and out for a throw-in close to the corner flag, Nothing comes from the throw.
On 16 mins it is the home-side who have their first attack of note, but Adam Everiss initially blocks the cross, then kicks the ball clear.
Another Stoke attack two minutes later, through Harrison Cliff and an attacking Suckling, who forces another corner after his shot is deflected out behind the goal. Suckling’s corner fails to beat the first defender who hacks it clear.
Barnstaple then mount another attack, but stout defending as an initial cross is headed away by new-boy Josh Edwards, but Barum have the ball 20yds out and the first shot is charged down, and then the rebound is blocked clear.
Stoke then have two more attacks, through Cliff and Wilson, but both crosses are blocked as they enter the penalty area.
The pitch and windy conditions are putting immense pressure on the home team, who are struggling to clear the ball over the halfway line.
Then on 25mins Wilson is put clear again, and again he rounds the keeper and again a defender comes to the rescue and puts it out for a corner from Wilson’s shot. Cook’s corner has Barnstaple under pressure, and they decide to put a defender on the far post. The cross again creates havoc, but they are able to scramble it out for another corner. Cooks next attempt flies over the far post, but Dean Stow, is able to chase it down, and send in another cross, that a defender again heads it over his own bar and the ball flies out the ground. It’s Suckling this time, but his corner is over hit and flies out for a throw-in.
Barnstaple on the half-hour, then have us pinned back in our own box, as a cross initially cleared is put back in, again it is cleared, but only to the edge of the penalty area, where another shot, is blocked and we able to scramble it clear.
We then win a free-kick just inside Barnstaple’s half, after Alfie Saunders is hacked down. The kick deep into the penalty area, is met by Dean Stow, whose header loops up into the air and looks to fly out, only to drop down in the wind, hit the far post, then bounce down onto the ground and take two seconds to trickle over the line, as a bewildered keeper can’t believe it’s a goal, GOAL!! Barnstaple Town 0 – 2 Basingstoke Town
Some Barum players are not happy with their keeper and make it known.
On 40mins it’s another attack through Cliff and Wilson, who slide it inside to Wright, who turns and shoots, the ball hits the defender and rebounds back to Ben, who hits another shot, which hits a defender and yet once more flies over the bar and once more out the ground. The home bench are running out of footballs fast.
The cross is again over hit and cleared.
Two attacks by the home-side in added time in the first half, as a cross drops down inside the 6-yard area, and Josh Edwards is first on it and clears. Then a cross from the left wing finds a Barum player who fortunately heads it wide.
It’s half-time and Stoke are two gaols clear, but the Btg are worried about the wind against us in the second-half.
The Barum players are out early and we seem to make them wait an extra couple of minutes, as we restart the game attacking the rugby ground end.
It is Stoke who create the first attack on 48mins, as Everiss intercepts a poor pass and sends Wilson away with a lovely pass past the defender. Wilson takes on and beats one of the centre-backs who comes across to meet him, but as he enters the left-hand side of the penalty area, a touch takes an unusual bounce on the grass, and the keeper is able to dive on the ball, before he can get his shot away.
On 50mins they win a free-kick central to the goal 22yds out, The free-kick is poor as the shot starts five yards wide of the goal, and even with the wind it ends up two yards wide.
On 52 mins, Barum win the ball in midfield and put one of their forwards away, but as he shoots Freddie Gee is equal to it and makes the save.
Superb tackling by D’Andre Brown stops another attack, and this is followed up by more tackles by Edwards, Stow and Saunders down the right-hand side as the Barum players are getting frustrated with not being able to break down our team down, and it results in their giant No.6 going in the book for arguing with the referee.
On 61 mins there calls for a foul, but the referee waves play on as a Barum forward is in front of goal 8yds out, however his shot is poor, possibly affected by the pitch, as his shot is comfortably saved by Gee.
The wind maybe picking up even more, but Barum can’t keep the ball, as we are forcing them to take long-range shots, which are flying over.
On 65mins, a cross is headed clear, but as the ball is pushed through it holds up in the mud by the byline, which allows a Barum players to collect it and tap it back to his teammate who smashes a shot that Gee with a full-length diving save puts it over the bar for a corner. The corner appears to be caught by Gee, but the referee appears to have awarded a goal-kick, or a free-kick to us?
On 72mins and a very heavy tackle on Harrison Cliff, results in their No.6, receiving a second yellow card, followed by the red card, as he trudges off the pitch.
Ben Wright is replaced by new-signing Ben Dillon on 73mins.
Adam Everiss makes two more timely tackles, and sends Wilson away, but the wind and pitch are playing havoc in trying to control the ball.
We are shutting down anything Barum throw at us, and on 80mins we then break clear only for Cliff to be pulled down 24yds out from their goal. The referee counts out 10yds, or something more like 8yds, and pushes the wall back that far. The kick by Stow, swirls over the bar and your match reporter makes the stop with his arm.
We make another change as Riccardo Andrady replaces the injured Harrison Cliff (84mins).
We have now pushed the game further upfield, and Barum continue to come up against a battling team performance by Stoke.
On 88mins a dangerous cross is picked out the air by Gee.
We make our final change as Aiden Harris replaces Ben Cook (90mins).
We are now four minutes into added time, and the referee blows the final whistle, and your Stoke side will be leaving North Devon, with all three points today.
Final Score: Barnstaple Town 0 – 2 Basingstoke Town
The best team performance of the season sees Stoke win on the road for the first time this season.
Up next is Thatcham Town weather permitting on Tuesday night in Winchester.
Match Report by Martin French..