sthmian South Central Division – 4th December 2021
Basingstoke Town 0 v 1 Marlow Fc Attendance 478
Where: Winklebury Sports Complex, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Stoke slide to another home defeat, but remain in second place
A number of changes from Tuesday night, left us with a starting line-up today of 1. Paul Strudley, 2. Nathan Smart, 3. James Haworth, 4. Robert Sheridan, 5. Daryl Wollers, 6. Anton Rodgers, 7. Bradley Wilson, 8. Ben Cook, 9. George Reid, 10 Conor Lynch, 11. Simon Dunn (Capt),
On the bench: D’Andre Brown, Lloyd Snell, McKoy Palmer, Daniel Williamson & Aiden Lewis
Referee – Timothy Godfrey
On a cold but sunny winter day the game got underway with your Stoke side attacking the railway line end and there was little to note until the visitors win a free-kick 30 yds out. The shot is poor and the ball flies harmlessly wide.
Stoke continue to struggle and Marlow win a corner down the right in the 7th minute, The kick is headed clear out to the far left hand-side, where a very heavy tackle has our player lying on the ground, which leads to their No.7 receiving a yellow card.
It is the visitors who are still the only side showing any sort of attacking threat, as we are unable to find our players once we break over the halfway line.
Then on 16 mins, as we appear to clear the ball from another Marlow corner, the referee blows his whistle and awards a penalty to the visitors.
“Not this time sunshine”, as Paul Strudley dives down low to his right and pushes the ball away from the goalmouth and we stay goalless.
On 21 mins we have signs of an attack as the returning George Reid breaks down the left, however his cross finds no-one waiting and Marlow clear, but we are back on it and Ben Cook lets fly from around 27yds away, which forces the Marlow keeper to dive to his left and push the ball away for a corner. Marlow clear from the corner-kick.
On 25 mins another weak decision by the referee as one of our players clears the ball and a Marlow player kicks the Stoke players foot and goes down allowing the ref to award a free-kick. The kick from just outside the penalty area, beats the wall but flies two yards over the crossbar.
On 29 mins we have another attack, down the right and a 40yd crossfield pass from Nathan Smart, finds Bradley Wilson who heads the ball, with little power straight to the keeper.
Then on 31 mins Marlow’s pressure finally counts as their forward is allowed to break into our penalty and we are unable to make any sort of tackle on him and a weak shot from 5yds out, bounces off Strudley and hits Smart in the leg and rolls over the line. Stoke 0 – 1 Marlow.
More bad passing, a lack of ideas, has Marlow still the team on top, and the referee shows no signs of giving us any 50/50 decisions.
The visitors continue to press, but are not much better in putting anything of note on our goal.
The referee plays an extra minute of injury-time, before he blows the halftime whistle.
Halftime – Basingstoke Town 0 v 1 Marlow Fc
No changes by either side at halftime and the game gets back underway, with still no sign of us picking up the pace.
We seem unable to put a strong tackle in on the Marlow forward, who bumbles his way through our two centre-backs, but fortunately pokes the ball over the oncoming Strudley and crossbar for a goal-kick.
Then on 51 mins, a long ball into the Marlow penalty area, and Bradley Wilson appears to catch the Marlow keeper in an aerial challenge, who goes down, and whilst he receives treatment, Stoke are reduced to ten-men as Wilson is shown a straight red-card on the advice of the linesman.
If anything this breathes a bit of life into, as Conor Lynch breaks down the right, but from an acute angle his shot is not hit well, and it flies out for a throw-in on the left.
We continue to show little sign of getting back into the game, and more and more loose passing allows Marlow to look comfortable.
Then on 70 mins another unnecessary tackle on Haworth, who reacts and after some pushing and shoving and more antics by the Marlow keeper, the referee books both players.
More unnecessary gamesmanship as the rather mouthy Marlow is now lying in his own penalty area, and within seconds of the referee halting the game, the Marlow players file over to their bench to receive their orders. The keeper makes an amazing recovery and the game gets back underway.
We make our first change on 79 mins with D’Andre Brown replacing Ben Cook.
Still no signs of us drawing level, as we push players forward, which allows Marlow to break and yet more poor tackling has a Marlow forward one-on-one and it’s Strudley to the rescue as he blocks the shot out for a corner. We make our second change, as Lloyd Snell comes on.
Another poor pass out from the back, has the visitors attacking again, and Paul Strudley makes a fine diving save to his left, as Marlow squander another chance.
Strudley then repeats it a minute later pulling off another fine save.
We make our third and final change on 89 mins as McKoy Palmer replaces a rather disappointing performance from Daryl Wollers.
We move into a large amount of injury-time, more time-wasting does little but Marlow have two more clear-cut chances, one is spooned over the bar from 7yds, the other is yet again saved by Strudley.
The referee who has been pretty dreadful blows the final whistle and we have lost in what was a very drab match by both sides.
Final Score: Basingstoke Town 0 v 1 Marlow Fc
Smart (og) 31 mins
Back-to-back poor performances, that we were unable to get or deserve anything from this time. We never held onto the ball, and showed no real signs of breaking down a much-quicker team.
Strudley clearly Stoke’s man-of-the-match as he kept us in the game.
Seven days to turn it around as we travel to Hanwell Town next Saturday in our last league game before Christmas.