Evo-Stick South Premier Division – Saturday 17th November 2018
Basingstoke Town 0 – 3 Merthyr Town (The Martyrs) Attendance 382
Following last Saturday’s FA Trophy win, we returned to host Merthyr Town who sat two places above us in the league as Terry Brown announced today’s line-up.
With Callum Bunting being the only confirmed player to miss out due to injury, Terry Brown went with the following starting line-up; In Goal Colm McAdden, the back four Dean Stow, Shane Hollamby, Dan Bayliss & Robert Gerrard. The midfield contained Charlie Kennedy (Capt), Jack McKnight, Sam Deadfield & Sam Smart, with Sam Argent & Ben Wright again leading the attack today.
On the bench; Akers, Orvis, Collier, Philby & Mitchell Parker
Following the minute’s silence for Alan Turvey, Basingstoke attacked towards the Town End in the first half.
The first note of action was on 4 mins, as Stoke attacked down the left, and a cross from Deadfield gets put out for a corner. The corner from Wright is met by the keeper’s flailing arm, which then hits Bayliss and flies out for a goal-kick.
On 7 mins and we should have been ahead, as good work from Stow, whose cross is cut out by Deadfield, who turns away from goal and then slides a pass to Argent who feeds Wright 6yds out, who seems to mis-hit a shot and it hits the post and bounces away and a Merthyr defender is able to clear.
If we should have been ahead, we could then have been behind, as Merthyr miss an easy chance in front of goal, as the ball is crossed into our box, there’s a half-clearance which bounces back to another Merthyr player whose shot is blocked and it seems to become a pinball game in our box, before a Merthyr forward hits it wide.
Basingstoke are back on it on 11 mins, with Argent being fed the ball down the left wing by Deadfield, he then turns inside and feeds Deadfield who cuts across the penalty box and feeds Smart. Smart then touches the ball inside back to McKnight whose shot is blocked on the 6yd line and Merthyr clear out for a corner. The corner is hit low and Argent just gets a touch on it before the defender, but it slips a yard wide of the near post.
On 14 mins we create our next chance as Smart who is playing down the left flank cuts inside and feeds Sam Argent, who sets to take a shot and sends a pile-driver of a shot from 27yds, which from behind the goal was going 2 yds wide, until the keeper made a full-length dive and pushes it out for a corner.
Then on 17 mins, Jack McKnight is unlucky not to put us ahead, as we break down the right he receives the ball just inside the penalty area, he cuts inside the box and hits it with his left foot. It takes a slight deflection off a Merthyr defender and has the keeper beaten, but slips a foot wide of the far post.
Yet again we could have gone ahead on 19 mins, when a good passing move, between Wright, Argent and Deadfield feeds Smart who breaks into the penalty box on the right. The keeper comes out to cut the angle down, but Smart’s shot has the keeper beaten, but yet again it slips just past the post.
We could have had 3 goals by now, and Merthyr decide to come into the game, as they are the team on the front foot, with attack after attack in our half. Although not creating a clear chance, they seem to have us under the cosh for the next 8 – 10 mins, and half chances, which include a free-header over the bar, a shot which flies wide and another cross which we scramble to clear out for a corner occur in this period.
We have two brief attacks one by a cross by Gerard on a 30yd run into the Martyrs half and then a McKnight attack which ends with a cross by Smart that is easily defended.
The Martyrs then create another chance and McAdden makes a fine save as he pushes it away the loose ball falls to a Merthyr forward who put’s it in the net, but the Merthyr cheers are put on hold, as the linesman has his flag up for offside.
I use the words on hold, as on 45 mins, Merthyr break again, yet another uncontested cross finds a Merthyr forward whose produces a fine save from McAdden, but the follow-up is slammed into the net and we are 0-1 down.
The referee plays a minute of injury-time before blowing for the half-time whistle.
Basingstoke make a substitution at half-time replacing a fairly ineffectual Ben Wright with Mitchell Parker.
After 48 mins a mess-up by the keeper from a back-pass, allows the ball to roll out for a corner. With Wright off, and Bennett on the bench, it’s Parker to take the corner. Unfortunately, it’s a poor one as it can’t beat the first defender who clears to the hallway-line.
Merthyr are back on the attack and produce yet another cross and another free-header in the 6yd box, which is saved by McAdden.
The Martyrs follow this up with another shot from 30yds which McAdden easily saves.
It is all Merthyr and on 57 mins they make us pay as the ball is put into our penalty area again. There is a scramble for the ball and we can’t clear it, and a Martyr forward puts it in the net and we are 0-2 down and no more than we deserve.
We have our next attack on 61 mins, as McKnight drives deep into the Merthyr half, he cuts inside, and slips the ball to Argent, who turns to shoot, but a well-timed tackle by a Merthyr defender puts a stop to that attack and they break again, this time a cross over the post yet again finds another Martyr forward, but he can’t control his header as it goes 5yds wide.
However, the sun has finally gone and any ray of hope of salvaging this match as well, as on 63 mins, they break down our left, the low cross somehow seems to beat all our defenders and finds a wide-open Merthyr forward who taps it in at the back post from about 4yds out. Basingstoke Town 0 – 3 Merthyr Town.
The next 10 mins seem to be a blur as we seem to look a beaten team and Merthyr could have had at least one more goal.
On 70 mins I note the first clean header we make in our own 6yd box by Dan Bayliss.
On 73 mins McKnight feeds the ball to Smart, who slips to Parker, who takes a touch and then lets one fly, but although hit well, it flashes 3 yds wide of the far post.
There seems to be little imagination in our attacks now, possibly because Merthyr are chasing everything down and seem determined to keep us out.
McKnight has another attack on goal on 81 mins as he dribbles through 3 defenders, but his touch is a little too hard and the right-back is able to come across and cut the danger out and clears the ball for a throw-in.
Merthyr have another chance on 84 mins, but the forward drags his shot wide from 10yds out.
The last few minutes see us failing to trouble the keeper and to be honest I don’t think we put any effort on target in the whole of the second half as the ref blows the final whistle and puts us out of our misery.
Final Score: Basingstoke Town 0 – 3 Merthyr Town
Final Thought’s – If you don’t take your chances, you will ultimately be made to pay, and today was one of them.
Yet again we struggle to cut out crosses and we allowed forwards free headers all-day long.
McKnight was probably our best player on the park today, but to be honest that’s not saying much, as we were rolled over by Merthyr for large parts of the game.
We move onto Harrow on Tuesday night and we need to show some better finishing in front of goal, if we are to come away with anything on the night.
Match Report by Martin French..