Bet Victor South Division One South 3rd October 2020
Barnstaple Town 2–2 Basingstoke Town Attendance 107
Where: Mill Hill, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 1DJ
Stoke fight back twice whilst down to ten men to earn point at Barnstaple and remain unbeaten after three games.
Manager Dan Brownlie’s second starting line-up of the season was; 1. Julian Schwarzer, 2. James Smith, 3. Adam Everiss, 4. Lewis Hayden (Capt), 5. Scott Armsworth, 6. Ben Jefford 7. George Reid, 8. Ben Cook, 9. George Hallahan, 10. Bradley Wilson, 11. McKoy Palmer
On the bench: Dylan Ive, Lloyd Snell, Harrison Cliff, Daryl Wollers and Tom Lemman
The wind and rain yet again was in full presence as Stoke kicked off their latest away game of the season attacking the clubhouse end and it was Stoke with a chance to go ahead inside the first minute, after Bradley Wilson is put through. His shot from just inside the box is pushed away to where George Hallahan is first on it, but his shot from close range, rebounds of the keeper and away.
On 8 minutes, Barum break down our right and a shot from about six yards is blocked out by the keeper for a corner. The wind has started to swirl around the ground, as a Stoke clearance flies up, then swirls round and goes off in a different direction.
On 14 minutes, the home-side break down our left and they are allowed to bring the ball along the byline and then ball is tapped across to a Barum forward whose first shot is blocked by Schwarzer but the follow-up is put away and we trail 1-0.
On 17mins we now lose George Hallahan through injury, and he’s replaced by Dylan Ive.
This is followed by a stunning bit of play by Bradley Wilson, as he enters the penalty area with two defenders on him, he takes it to the byline, then flicks it up once, then twice over the two defenders and strolls past them, he then slides the ball to the six-yard line, where Ive’s first touch can’t get the right angle on it and it rolls away past the far post.
On 20 minutes, some nice play by McCoy Palmer as he cuts inside and let’s fly, but the ball is always going over the bar.
We then (26 mins), win a free-kick straight in front of goal about 25yds out, but George Reid’s free-kick although beats the wall is straight into the arms of the keeper.
Another attack from a James Smith break wins a corner, the corner bounces out to Ben Cook, whose side foot shot has no power and is easily held by the keeper.
Oops what’s happened here as on 32 mins, a ball over our back four has Schwarzer out of his box, who chests it down with a Barum forward on him, who clips the ball past the keeper, and then Ben Jefford depending on your view, takes the ball before taking the forward. The linesman has given nothing, but the referee is adamant it is a red card offence and Jefford has to leave the pitch and Stoke are down to ten men and a goal behind! The free-kick flies wide of the goal.
(I say view as I have heard 15 different opinions on both sides of the red card.
However, having just seen a match video of the incident, it is not even a foul).
More attacking by Basingstoke again as we try to force an equaliser, but no real shots on target.
Then on 43 mins another lovely pass by Adam Everiss over the back four finds Wilson, who back heels it into the path of Palmer, who cuts inside, the ball rolls on for him and he then smashes it past the keeper lowdown into the net GOAL! Barnstaple Town 1–1 Basingstoke Town
The game gets back underway for a couple of minutes before the ref calls time on the first-half and the Stoke faithful head off to the clubhouse and tea bar for refreshment.
The second-half gets underway with no changes by us, and within two minutes the home-side should have gone ahead as a free-header from a cross flies wide.
Then on 53 mins, Barnstaple retake the lead after a possible hand ball and grab by two Barum players are ignored and Barum again break down our left, close to the byline and pass the ball to a wide open forward who slots it past our keeper into the net (2-1).
We then lose the ball from an attack in their half and one pass finds a Barum forward who races past three of our players and into our penalty area, but as his pass, is superbly blocked away by Lewis Hayden who has tracked all the way back to make the tackle.
On 59 mins, Wilson retrieves a pass down the sideline, he slides it to Palmer, who takes it inside the penalty area down the left and the appears to get tripped or pulled down and the referee points to the spot.
It’s Bradley Wilson who steps up and takes it, but his shot lowdown is saved by the keeper and we still trail.
Then within two minutes later, we win a free-kick, that Ive’s takes and he swings the free-kick into the box, and it’s Scott Armsworth who gets his head to it first and flicks it past the full-length aerial dive of the keeper and it hits the back of the net GOAL! Barnstaple Town 2–2 Basingstoke Town (62mins)
We then make our second change with McCoy Palmer being replaced by Harrison Cliff.
A few minutes later Harrison Cliff is put clean through and although he has plenty of time, he takes to touches then side foots a shot from 28yds, which the keeper is able to save.
Then Barnstaple have a chance to retake the lead after they win back-to-back corners, the second one falls to a Barum forward whose shot is blocked once, which then falls to another forward whose shot is also blocked and then an offside calls a halt to their attack.
Then on 79 mins another controversial call by the referee, as a ball through to Wilson, who takes a touch that allows a home defender to get back, but as Brad takes another touch he is knocked off the ball, and although the linesman flags for a foul and possible last man scenario, the referee waves play-on.
Now in the last five minutes, neither team seems to be able find an opening, but the Stoke players look all out on their feet after this effort, as they battle for every challenge.
One more attack from Barnstaple, that we force a timely block out for a corner, we can only half-clear the corner, which brings out a shot that flies way over the Stoke crossbar.
The ref has seen enough, and we of him, as he blows the final whistle and a well-deserved point on the road with ten men.
Final Score: Barnstaple Town 2 – 2 Basingstoke Town
A hard fought draw on a heavy grassed pitch, where a tough refereeing decision put us down to ten men for most of the game. Scott Armsworth’s header just after the missed penalty, pushed us on to hold on for the well-deserved point.
Well, after three consecutive away games we face Sholing in hopefully our last home game at Winchester, on Tuesday 6th October with a 7.45pm kick-off.
Match Report by Martin French..