Southern League Division One South 24th October 2020
Basingstoke Town 2 v 3 AFC Totton Attendance 400
Where: Winklebury Sports Complex, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Battling Stoke go down in showpiece return, in the wind and rain to league leaders AFC Totton
Manager Dan Brownlie’s first line-up back, had a couple of changes from last week as both Daryl Wollers and Simon Dunn, picked up slight knocks last week and are replaced by Shaun Dallimore and McKoy Palmer and the starting line-up was 1. Julian Schwarzer, 2. James Smith, 3. Adam Everiss, 4. Lewis Hayden (Capt), 5. Scott Armsworth, 6. Shaun Dallimore, 7. George Reid, 8. Ben Cook, 9. McKoy Palmer, 10. Bradley Wilson, 11. Dylan Ive
On the bench: Simon Dunn, Daryl Wollers, Harrison Cliff, George Hallahan and Paul Strudley
A capacity crowd for Basingstoke’s first game back in the Town gets underway under heavy rain and wind, with us attacking the car-park end of the ground.
On 4 minutes, we have our first attack, which ends when a Totton defender heads clear a couple of yards away from the goal-line.
It is still your Stoke side who are edging the game, and it’s Bradley Wilson with the next attack, but his shot is not hit with any real power and the keeper saves comfortably.
The strong winds are clearly affecting the play as neither team can create anything of note over the next few minutes.
Then on 12 minutes, it is Stoke on the attack again, as Bradley Wilson finds space to shoot, but the ball is cleared off the line by a Totton defender.
With the Btg chanting “Dan Brownlie’s Barmy Army”, the visitors have their first real attack of note, as a dangerous cross from the left wing is headed clear by Shaun Dallimore.
It’s a goal, or so it seems for a few seconds, before the referee notices the linesman flagging for offside. The referee consults with linesman and he gives the free-kick to Totton. The attack had seen Wilson’s shot blocked, which then rebounded to him a second later which he sent into the net, but it was all to no avail.
Stoke are forced into a change, as Lewis Hayden limps off and is replaced by Harrison Cliff.
The wind picks up again and it’s Totton who break the deadlock on 26 mins, when a ball over James Smith’s head finds a Totton winger, who splits the keeper and back four with a cross, and a Totton forward slides the ball home at the far post (0-1).
The goal seems to have knocked us as we seem unable to create any attack of note, which isn’t helped by Totton’s No.6 who is constantly being allowed to grab Stoke players in full view of the referee.
The visitors are coming more into the game, but the wind and the rain is clearly affecting the quality of the game.
Then on 42 mins, Totton from another attack double their lead, as another attack inside the left-hand side of the box leads to a shot and a superb save by Julian Schwarzer who pushes the ball clear to the edge of the box, but a Totton player is first to it and he smashes it into the roof of the net (0-2).
Half-time has us trailing by the two goals and a lot to improve in the second-half.
The game gets back underway with us attacking the covered terrace end, and Wilson’s run and then cross flies over the bar.
There is a call for a handball by a Totton player in the box, which is unsurprisingly waved away by the referee.
George Reid is now being given the ball time and time again, but despite his efforts, we can only win back-to-back corners, which are cleared quite easily.
The game is starting to get scrappy, and neither team has any shot of note for the next five minutes, which the visitors seem more than happy with.
Dan Brownlie on 61 mins, decides to change it up and brings on striker George Hallahan for Dylan Ive.
It is still Reidy who is our main source of attack, and he earns a free-kick on the edge of the penalty box after the Totton defender brings him down and goes in the book for the tackle.
The free-kick is poor and is cleared.
A couple of poor crosses by Stoke players does not help our fightback, and then Totton break and have another shot that is saved comfortably by Schwarzer.
We then give the ball straight to a Totton forward directly in front of goal about 25 yds out, but his shot is pretty woeful and it flies 6yds wide.
We make our third and final change as Simon Dunn replaces McKoy Palmer.
Totton create another attack, but we break from this and we pull a goal back after we break down the left wing and Wilson cuts across, come shot that takes a deflection off a Totton defender and flies past the helpless keeper and into the far corner of the net. GOAL! Basingstoke Town 1 – 2 AFC Totton (72 mins)
Well that didn’t last long as less than 90 seconds later Totton go straight down the other end and we fail to shut them down and a quality finish flies into the corner of the net (1-3).
George Hallahan although who has not had an opportunity to shoot, is showing a much-needed presence in the middle of our forward line.
Reidy then gets hacked down again on the halfway line and another Totton player goes in the book.
Totton are now taking all the opportunities to waste time, and the referee does us no favours, when it takes almost two minutes to take a free-kick about ten yards outside the box, after the referee moves the ball back all of three feet.
We are now in injury-time and there is an incident in our half, as Totton’s physio and substitute enters the field of play as a Totton player is down injured. The referee shows two more yellow cards to Totton.
We then win another free-kick about 35 yards out. The kick is taken and it falls towards Reidy who gets a touch on it and the ball drops to Ben Cook who hits a half-volley from five yards that smashes into the back of the net. GOAL! Basingstoke Town 2 – 3 AFC Totton (95 mins)
The referee blows the final whistle straight from the restart.
Final Score: Basingstoke Town 2 – 3 AFC Totton
Today, despite a lot of possession we failed to put any real pressure on their keeper, whilst Totton took the few chances that they created. The game was for large parts fairly scrappy due to the weather conditions as well.
Well we have a quick chance to get back to winning ways, as we host Mangotsfield Utd this Tuesday (27th), kick-off 7.45pm. Mangotsfield sit bottom of the able with no points from five games.
This is also likely to be a sell-out, so please buy your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Match Report by Martin French..