Match Report: Basingstoke Town 1 – 3 Merthyr Town Tuesday 3rd October 2023

Southern League Premier South Division – Tuesday 3rd October 2023
Basingstoke Town 1 v 3 Merthyr Town Attendance 574
Where: Winklebury Sports, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Dan Brownlie’s line-up came with a new formation for this evening’s league match: 1. Paul Strudley, 2. Markus Johnson-Schuster, 3. Callum Winchcombe, 4. Nathan Smart, 5. Scott Armsworth, 6. William Upton, 7. Bradley Wilson, 8. Michael Atkinson (Capt), 9. Dan Rowe, 10. James Clark, 11. Luis Le Paih
On the bench: Morrison Hashii, Kai Hobbs, Paul Hodges, D’Andre Brown & Mark Scott
Referee – Jake Hillier

This evening’s game got underway with Stoke attacking the terraced end, and we had an initial attack and free-kick down on the right, but Merthyr are able to clear.
It’s still to Stoke who are pushing forward, but the final pass, just fails to reach our attacking player and Merthyr are able to clear.

A Merthyr attack brings a comfortable save out of Paul Strudley in goal. The next attack of note was on twenty-five minutes, as the ball rebounded to Bradley Wilson, whose first-time shot, had the keeper beaten, but slid just past the far right-hand post.
Merthyr have some more possession forcing another save out of Strudley in goal.

Then just past the half-hour, we close the Merthyr defence down, and their keeper makes a hash of a clearance and the ball rebounds back of Wilson towards the goal, where he is able to run on and knock the ball home from close range GOAL! Basingstoke Town 1 – 0 Merthyr Town (Wilson 32 mins)

This goal seems to unsettle their defence and creates a couple more harried passes, and we push forward and a cross finds James Clark, who taps the ball home at the far post, but the linesman has his flag up for offside, and the goal is disallowed.

We are now in an extended amount of added-time and despite us pushing forward we are unable to force a save out of their keeper, and the keeper blows the halftime whistle.

Halftime – Basingstoke Town 1 v 0 Merthyr Town
The second-half gets underway with both sides struggling to get going again, as we hit the fifty-fifth minute mark.
Stoke have a neat passing move, involving four Stoke players, and Luis Le Paih is fed the ball down the left, and as he enters the penalty area, he takes a shot, that unfortunately flies high and wide of the near post.
Another attack a few minutes has the ball in the Merthyr penalty area, but the visitors are able to clear.

Merthyr then push forward down the left, and one of their players let’s a long-range effort go, and it beats Strudley at the bottom left-hand corner of the net. Basingstoke 1-1 Merthyr

This seems to have urged the visitors back in the game and they start to win more possession in the middle of the pitch.
Merthyr then win a corner on the right after one of their players seems to have time to break into the penalty area and his shot is deflected onto the top of the crossbar and out for a corner. The corner is initially blocked away but the Merthyr player with the ball is given to much space and he curls a ball into the far corner of the net and out of the stretch of Strudley in goal. Basingstoke 1-2 Merthyr.

It’s time for our first change as Paul Hodges replaces James Clark (78 mins).
Stoke are trying to react and get back into the game, but Merthyr’s backline is holding well.

We then have another through Wilson on the left who sends the ball across to Hodges, who appears to flick the ball towards goal, which the keeper is forced to palm away and in the following melee, calls for a penalty are waved away, and Hodges goes in the referee’s book.

Another Stoke attack has us win a free-kick just outside the penalty area, which when taken by Hodges is blocked away by Merthyr’s defence.
We make our second change with just two minutes remaining of normal time, with Morrison Hashii replacing Callum Winchcombe.

Now deep into added-time a long ball into the edge of penalty area has three Stoke players challenging one Merthyr player in the air, and the ball falls to another Merthyr forward following up the play, and his shot puts the game out of doubt and his finish leaves Strudley no chance. Basingstoke 1-3 Merthyr.

The referee plays another two minutes of added-time, before blowing the full-time whistle.

Full-time Score : Basingstoke Town 1 v 3 Merthyr Town
Wilson 32 mins,                                      Handley 67 mins, Thomas 75 mins, Rees 95 mins

Match Thought’s
The initial first-half dominance gave us just a one-goal lead, and after the long-range equaliser, the visitors looked the more likely to win, despite the odd couple of chances we created and failed to take. Merthyr did finish well, which was the difference between the teams.
Unfortunately some unnecessary, unsavoury behaviour by some of the Merthyr players after their final two goals, soured their win, but they left Winklebury with all three points and our losing run is extended to three games.
Clearly one or two of our players are pivotal to our success on the pitch and we need them back playing.
Up Next:
We move away from the league to host Kidlington in the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy this Saturday, with the need to get back to winning ways and to have a decent run in this cup competition.

Match Report by Martin French..



  1. Played well first half, but gave up too much space in the second. Those extra games played, may well see us drop down league now.