3 vs 0
Evo-Stick South Premier Division South Saturday 16th February 2019
Basingstoke Town 3 – 0 Kings Langley (The Kings) Attendance 365
Let’s be clear an on-loan signing, a dual-registration player, apparently mean nothing, so expectations for fans of what the line-up would be each week are absolutely pointless.
The line-up was: Tom McGill, 2. James Orvis, 3. Rob Gerrard, 4. Dean Stow, 5. Kraig Noel-McLeod, 6.Michael Atkinson, 7.Sam Smart, 8. Dan Collier, 9. Sam Argent, 10. Sam Deadfield (Capt), 11. Harry Pearse.
On the bench; 12. A. Harris, 14. Hunt 15. Granger, 16. J. Downes 17. Z. Akers
The game kicked off with Basingstoke attacking the Town End in the first half, and the first attack of note was on four minutes as we but the ball into the edge of the penalty area and Deadfield feeds Argent who with a first-time shot puts the ball two-yards wide of the far post.
On 8 mins we again attack down the right with Smart and the well-hit cross evades everyone in the box.
On 11 mins we attack again and force a corner down the right. The cross is hit perfectly with pace in the air and Gerrard is just beaten to the ball by a Kings defender and they are able to scramble the ball clear.
On 16 mins more good work down the left as Gerrard breaks down the left he feeds Argent, who slides the ball to Pearse, who sends in another low cross, but again there is no Stoke player in the box and Kings Langley are able to clear.
On 18 mins a ball over the top to Argent who is brought down by the Kings right-back, who goes in the book. The free-kick about 25yds out is taken by Dean Stow, which hit the walls and flies out for a corner on the Victor Meldrew side of the pitch.
The corner is taken short to Pearse, who turns and is able to beat his defender on the by-line and sends a cross over that takes a deflection and flies up in the air and across the goalmouth to where Argent is waiting and from 2yds, simply nods it into the net. GOAL! Basingstoke Town 1 – 0 Kings Langley.
Until now Kings Langley have shown very little of any attacking threat, but a nice one-two move allows them to create a chance about 20 yds out, but the shot is ballooned over the bar.
Two further attacks of note by Kings Langley occur, after another move down the right, Gerrard makes a timely interception, but the ball runs to another Kings Langley player who puts a low hard cross that our new centre-back for today Kraig Noel-McLeod, is able to block a shot and clears downfield. The other attack after good defensive work from a cross, falls to a Kings player on the edge of the box, but again his shot flies wide.
Basingstoke are still the team mainly in control, but a cross by Gerrard and another by Smart are easily defended on 31 & 32 mins.
Then another great save by McGill on 39 mins, as a through ball splits our defence, and a Kings Langley breaks free, but as he enters the penalty area, Gerrard makes a tackle just as the forward shoots, and McGill who comes out to close down the attack, spreads himself well and the shot rebounds of his legs and we clear upfield.
What seems a lost cause by the ball upfield is chased down by Dan Collier, who runs around the defender who is shielding the ball and holds the ball up just inside the touchline, he the slips the ball back to Deadfield, who slides it inside to Argent who notes the run of Pearse and then back heels it to him and just as the defender and goalkeeper converge on Harry, he slots it past ‘Big Dave’ and into the net. GOAL! Basingstoke Town 2 – 0 Kings Langley.
The referee has a second conversation with the Kings Langley No.4 after a tackle on the halfway line, but again decides to leave his cards in his pocket.
However, the referee decides to book the big Rene Howe on 43 mins after a late tackle on Gerrard.
The ref plays two minutes of injury-time before blowing the halftime whistle and Stoke head into the break with a two-nil lead.
The second-half gets underway with us attacking the clubhouse end, and we have the first attack on 48 mins as Deadfield feeds the ball to Pearse down the left, he takes two touches then cuts inside and past his defender and hits a rasping right-foot shot that the Kings keeper dives and has to push away across the goalmouth and they are able to clear.
On 50 mins we create another chance and that could have been three, as a further good passing movement involving Smart, Pearse and Deadfield allows the space for Deadfield to shoot, his shot has the keeper beaten, but grazes off the bottom of the far post and is cleared away.
Chances are coming thick and fast now, and it’s Kings Langley’s turn, who have the chance to pull one back, after winning the ball in their own half, they break with speed and a quick one-two move then allows the Langley No.6 in on goal, as he goes past our defence, but then clips a shot over McGill, but also a yards wide of the goal.
This is just a respite as Stoke are back on it again with Smart down the right, he beats his defender and fires another cross that is half-cleared to Pearse, whose shot is then blocked on the edge of the 6yd box.
On 57 mins and Harry Pearse has a chance, but puts his shot wide of the far post.
On 61 mins and good work by Stow, as they break down our right the winger out paces Orvis and sends a low cross, but Stow is able to make a sliding block and puts it out for a corner. The corner is one by Noel-McLeod who brings the ball clear form the corner.
Then it’s Dean Stow on the attacking front a minute later, after we win another free-kick this time about 23yds out. The kick swung in by Sam Deadfield, finds a leaping Stow, who heads the ball crashing against the bar and over for a goal-kick.
Then on 65 mins the ref possibly makes his only wrong decision of the day, as McGill who is forced to clear the ball from a pass back, is taken out by Rene Howe. It should be a second yellow, but is possibly saved by the fact that McGill is up quite quickly.
Then on 67 mins the Kings No.4 does finally go in the book after a tackle from behind on Argent.
Nothing happens from the free-kick.
On 69 mins another cross by Pearse down the left just eludes Gerrard’s head at the far post.
Then on 70 mins another half-chance for Kings Langley, as they break but McGill is out to clear, but his kick is poor and falls to a Kings player who slips it to his teammate to the right he then takes two touches and then tries to chip McGill, who back peddles to the goal and is just able to jump and catch the ball.
Basingstoke make their first change on 77 mins, as Harry Pearse takes a rest as the return of Jahson Downes to the club enters the field of play. It is noted there are one or two cheers, but it’s also noted over the next few minutes that a number of Stoke fans are unhappy with this substitution and decide to leave the ground.
The game appears to drift for a few minutes as a few heavy tackles go in, but the ref takes no action.
Then on 83mins we make the game safe, as yet another good passing move, allows Smart the time to cut in on his weaker foot takes one touch, before his left-foot shot is too good for the keeper as he hits the bottom corner of the net. GOAL! Basingstoke Town 3 – 0 Kings Langley.
The game is now slowing and neither team are creating anything in either penalty area.
Yet another booking for a Kings Langley player as it’s the turn of No.6 to go in the book.
We now enter injury-time and Noel-McLeod goes on a run with the ball, but he runs out of space down the left.
On 93 mins we make our second substitution as Deadfield is replaced by Zidan Akers, who left his shirt in the clubhouse?
That’s it as the referee blows the final whistle and Stoke have another three points in the bag.
Final Score: Basingstoke Town 3 – 0 Kings Langley
Final thought’s – Yet another good all-round team performance as Stoke have won 3 of the last four league games.
I’ve said this before, but when Harry Pearse plays it allows Deadfield more freedom in the middle and both were excellent today.
Good performances by Smart (on the scoresheet again) and Gerrard who looks good going forwards as well as at the back.
Argent, Collier and Stow all put in good shifts today.
The one-game debut of Kraig Noel-McLeod at the back was impressive and kept Rene Howe under control the whole game. Will he be at Chesham Utd on Tuesday night, is 50,000 dollar question?
The defence looked solid today and again McGill made two superb saves to earn another clean sheet.
Well we are back on the road for the next two matches, starting with Chesham Utd on Tuesday, then the tough match-up at Salisbury on Saturday.
Match Report by Martin French..