Bet Victor Division One South – Saturday 7th March 2020
Basingstoke Town 1 v 1 Willand Rovers Attendance 237
Where: The Simplyhealth Stadium, Hillier Way, Winchester. S023 7SR
Stoke second-half comeback earns a draw, but could have been all three points.
Manager Dan Brownlie’s starting line-up with Harrison Cliff absent and Ben Wright still not fit; 1. Aaron Watkins, 2. Claudio Herbert, 3. Adam Everiss, 4. Ryan Suckling, 5. Josh Edwards 6. Scott Armsworth, 7. Ben Cook, 8. Harrison Cliff, 9. George Hallahan, 10. Connor Lynch, 11. Simon Dunn
On the bench: Riccardo Andrady, Mikey Davis, D’Andre Brown, Aaron Parfitt & Huw Holliman.
On a very heavy pitch, including a number of patches of sand on the pitch, the game got underway and Stoke with an usual formation with Herbert starting at right back, attack the open end in the first half.
On 4mins it is the visitors who have the first attack as a Rovers forward turns on the edge of the penalty area and tries a left foot shot, that flies wide of the far post.
Basingstoke have to make their first change of the game as Simon Dunn has picked up another knock and is unable to continue and D’Andre Brown replaces him.
On 15mins we see the pace in new signing Connor Lynch as he breaks away from his marker, but the ball gets stuck under his feet as the keeper comes out, however he then turns inside and gets a shot away that a Rovers defender hacks away three yards off the line, however from the clearance Willand switch the ball from the right to the left wing, and we seem to be open as the Rovers winger puts a cross that Aaron Watkins is able to claim in the air.
From another Stoke advance, we go a goal behind, as Rovers pick up the ball and send the ball over the top down the right wing, and Willand’s Craig Veal is first on it and takes one touch before slotting it past Watkins into the net as he comes to shut the angle down (Stoke 0-1 Willand).
On 28mins after a number of heavy tackles, we break into their penalty area, but the shot from Lynch, hits the side-netting.
On 32mins, the visitors win a corner down the left. The kick to the far post is met by a Rovers centre-back who although wide open is unable to control his header and it flies out comfortably for a goal-kick.
The pitch now cutting up badly seems to stop any positive moves by either side.
Then on 42mins, we win a free-kick down the touchline on the right. The kick deep into the heart of the goalmouth is initially headed away, but comes straight back in and then a deflected shot, falls to Lynch who slots it away from an acute angle. However, the linesman’s flag is up for offside and we still trail.
A minute later we are back on it as George Hallahan finds Claudio Herbert who now seems to be playing left wing, as he takes it 15yds and sends over a cross, that flies past the face of the goal, with no Stoke player close to it.
Another attack deep into injury-time finishes with Ryan Suckling’s header flying across the goal and out for a goal-kick.
The referee blows the halftime whistle with us trailing by the solitary goal.
The second-half gets underway, with us attacking the clubhouse end and a noticeable wind behind us, and Stoke are the team on front-foot, but each time we seem to break, the pitch is not helping our quick passing movements.
Then on 50mins, it’s the debut goal for Connor Lynch, who breaks the offside trap and races away and slots the ball past the oncoming keeper from 23yds out. GOAL! Basingstoke Town 1 – 1 Willand Rovers
A well-deserved equalizer as we are the team showing all the promise, and it’s Stoke through Harrison Cliff and Herbert who are winning the midfield battle and are taking the game to Rovers.
Lynch, then breaks the offside trap as he breaks clear again on the right, but this time his shot beats the keeper flies just wide of the far post.
On 67mins Willand have their first noticeable attack, that ends with a shot from 25yds that flies wide of the near post.
Stoke continue to come forward, but are unable to create anything inside the penalty area.
The game is now drifting into the last ten minutes, but with us only the team looking like we can break the deadlock.
It’s time for our second change as Mikey Davis replaces George Hallahan (83mins).
A few tackles are going in from both sides as we drift into injury-time, but then Stoke win a freekick down the right just outside the penalty area. With no Dean Stow, Ben Wright, it is Adam Everiss to take it. The shot although well hit flies just wide of the far post.
It is even-stevens as the points are shared as the referee has had enough and blows the final whistle.
Final Score: Basingstoke Town 1 v 1 Willand Rovers
Well no time for a rest, as Tuesday evening (pitch dependant), we host the return match of Thatcham Town.
Today’s Golden Goal winner was Steve Taylor with 21 minutes.
Match Report by Martin French..