Bet Victor South Division One South 6th October 2020
Basingstoke Town 2 v 1 Sholing Attendance 248
Where: The Simplyhealth Stadium, Hillier Way, Winchester.
Stoke move upto second-place as a George Reid double and strong defensive play is enough to secure three more points and first home win.
Manager Dan Brownlie’s first home match line-up saw changes at the top, as George Hallahan fails fitness test and Ben Jefford starts at left back; 1. Julian Schwarzer, 2. James Smith, 3. Ben Jefford, 4. Lewis Hayden (Capt), 5. Scott Armsworth, 6. Daryl Wollers 7. George Reid, 8. Ben Cook, 9. Bradley Wilson, 10. McKoy Palmer, 11. Dylan Ive
On the bench: Adam Everiss, Lloyd Snell, Harrison Cliff, George Hallahan and Paul Strudley
It was expected that Sholing would be our toughest match-up of the season so far, and this became even more apparent as the height and general size of the Sholing players was noticed as they came out just before the game got underway.
The game kicked-off with Basingstoke attacking the clubhouse end and the first note of action was when Daryl Wollers made a timely tackle to halt a Sholing attack in the 4th minute.
On 7 mins, Stokes first proper attack was when the ball was fed out to McKoy Palmer, who drove into the right-hand side of the penalty area and unleased a pile-driver that unfortunately flew a couple of feet wide of the near post and caught the netting at the back of the goal.
Two minutes later a nice defensive tackle by Ben Jefford puts the ball out for a Sholing corner down the right. We clear from the corner and after a couple of passes, the ball is pushed through to Dylan Ive to chase, but the keeper using the wet surface slides out and recovers the ball.
Sholing have the next attack, but a Julian Schwarzer low-down save puts a stop to that chance.
Both sides defences appear to be holding off and clear shots on goal as we move towards the 20 minute mark.
Then on 25 minutes, ex-Stoke midfielder Claudio Herbert races away and forces a save from Schwarzer. Julian quickly throws the ball out and Stoke break back over the halfway line and the ball is slid through to Dylan Ive, who takes the ball ten yards and just inside the left-hand side of the penalty box, takes a touch inside and shoots.
His shot is however blocked but into the path of George Reid who knocks it past the keeper into the net GOAL! Basingstoke Town 1 – 0 Sholing
It is Sholing who then have the next few minutes of play as cross after cross is sent into the penalty area, which includes a header that slides past the far post and another that is fortunately headed over the bar from a corner.
Further interceptions by both Scott Armsworth and Lewis Hayden prevent further attacks on our goal.
Then on 36 mins, Bradley Wilson goes in the book for sticking a leg-out to stop the ball from a free-kick. This then sees an almost two-minute discussion, hissy fit by the Sholing keeper because he is told to go back to where the free-kick was mean’t to be taken. This was one of the first signs of the referee favouring the away side, as the keeper should have simply gone in the book.
A couple more crosses from Sholing are well defended again by this vastly better back four than last season, and we head into the halftime break with Stoke holding a slender 1-0 advantage.
The second-half gets underway five minutes late with no changes by Dan Brownlie.
It is Stoke who are first on the attack as we break from Ben Jefford’s tackle and he finds Wilson who slides it to Palmer, who then continues the passing movement as he slips the ball to Reid just inside the penalty area, he takes one touch and then shoots on his right foot and the keeper is able to make a save down low to his right.
It’s another nice attack from Stoke, as we look for that second goal, as James Smith makes a lovely tackle and takes it down the wing before sliding the ball to Wilson, who takes it all the way down to the byline, before sending a cross over to the far post, where heads back into the penalty area, but Sholing clear comfortably.
Stoke attack again as Wollers breaks up a Sholing attack and sends Wilson away down the left. He finds Palmer who cuts inside and shoots, but the ball deflects away towards the right-hand touchline, where we recover the ball and then slides the ball to George Reid, who cuts inside, takes two more touches then curls a stunning shot that the keeper has no chance with, as it finds the corner of the net GOAL! Basingstoke Town 2 – 0 Sholing
This is no more than we deserve as Stoke have been on it since the restart.
An hour gone, and Sholing are trying to get back into the game, but a lovely tackle by Hayden who then sends the ball down the left where Wilson collects the ball, he finds Palmer inside, who has a chance to shoot, but takes it out on his left foot and Sholing knock it out for a corner.
The ball is initially cleared, but is retrieved by Palmer who slides the ball to Reid who takes the ball into the box and smashes a shot that the keeper does well to push over the bar.
It’s still all Stoke as we win two more corners, one being a cross from Wilson, that hits a Sholing defender and slides out just past the near post with the keeper nowhere.
From this corner, the ball falls to Ben Cook on the edge of the box and his shot is blocked away, the ball then finds Wollers on the edge of the box, but he tries to hit the ball on the half-volley, and the ball somehow bounces though to Wilson, who tries a bicycle kick, but does not make the right connection and the ball falls straight to the keeper.
Then on 66 mins, it is Schwarzer who comes to Stoke’s rescue who makes a lovely blocked save, the ball comes back into the six-yard box and another block by Armsworth gives Sholing a corner which we comfortably clear.
Two fifty-fifty tackles are given to Sholing by the referee, and then it’s Stoke who make their first change with Dylan Ive being replaced Harrison Cliff. Whilst this change is taking place, our physio Gideon is on the pitch tending to Ben Jefford who has to be replaced as well and Adam Everiss is on in his replacement.
Some lovely play by Everiss who wins the ball and sends Wilson away, who sends in a dangerous low cross that is kicked clear, but only back to Everiss who takes his turn in taking it down the left before sending in another low cross, that Sholing are able to clear at the second attempt.
Then with 18 minutes to go, a Sholing forward breaks free, but Schwarzer is out and makes the save.
Another set of fifty-fifty challenges all fall towards Sholing, and the home crowd voice their concerns.
Sholing are now on all-out attack and wave after wave of Sholing attacks are repelled by Schwarzer and the back four.
Then on 82 mins, another questionable free-kick given to Sholing down the right, sees them pull one back, as a cross from the right hand side finds the net at the far post (2-1).
We make our third and final change on 85 mins, as Lloyd Snell replaces McKoy Palmer.
We then have a couple of small breaks through Everiss and Wollers winning midfield challenges, but neither attacks can put anything of note on the Sholing goal.
Now entering injury-time, and Sholing waste two attacks by over hitting a free-kick and a through ball that Schwarzer dives on. The referee does not seem to want to call time on the game, but another wasted Sholing attack on 95 mins is the last action of the game, and your Stoke team have battled for another victory and to keep their unbeaten run going.
Final Score: Basingstoke Town 2 – 1 Sholing
A really solid performance against a much taller Sholing side, it was noticeable how we matched them in defence and midfield, something that simply didn’t happen last season. Two goals for Reidy and more glimpses of our pace and commitment, plus hard work on the training pitch.
Well, those travelling fans get your wallets back out, as we head back on the road and up the Forest of Dean mountainside, as we visit Cinderford Town this coming Saturday.
Match Report by Martin French..