Bet Victor South Division One South 5th October 2019
Basingstoke Town 3 – 2 Highworth Town (The Worthians) Attendance 281
Where: The Simplyhealth Stadium, Hillier’s Way, Winchester.
A true game of two halves sees Stoke’s first league win of the season.
Dan Brownlie with a number of player options, decided to start with; 1.Chris Rackley, 2. Dean Stow (Capt) 3. Alfie Saunders, 4. Ben Cook, 5. Reuben Collins, 6. Scott Armsworth, 7. Claudio Herbert, 8. Harrison Cliff 9. Ben Wright, 10. Zach Robinson, 11. Adam Everiss,
On the bench; Aiden Harris, Riccardo Andrady, Reece Rusher, Jordan Edwards and Ryan Suckling
With the season now hitting October, those warm sunny days were today replaced by a mild cloudy sky with your Basingstoke side kicking off defending the clubhouse end and it’s the visitors who win the first corner on 2 minutes, which is comfortably defended.
The game remains in our half for the next few minutes and the Worthians win another corner on 7 minutes. This time a short corner is not covered, and the ball is slipped to an open attacker just inside the penalty area who has time to hit a shot that Rackley initially saves, but the ball rolls underneath his body and is rolling towards the line until Alfie Saunders kicks it clear.
More attacks by Highworth finally brings their reward as on 13 mins, as an open forward from another corner, slots home comfortably and we trail 0-1.
It’s still Highworth on the attack over the next ten minutes, which includes a chip over the top to the Highworth No.9 who breaks clear, but as the ball bounces up he clips the ball over the oncoming keeper but also over the bar. That should have been two nil.
Stoke’s have their first real attack of note on 25 mins, as we break and the ball is slotted inside to Herbert whose shot is blocked, the ball falls to Wright whose follow-up shot is pushed out for a corner. Nothing comes from the corner.
It’s still more Highworth on the attack, but we have two more attacks on 33 and 39 mins. The first we break from midfield and the ball is switched from the right to the left, where an advancing Adam Everiss, takes one touch but sends his shot just wide of the right-hand post. The next attack is another break this time from our own penalty area, as Saunders find Claudio Herbert who completes a quick one-two pass with Robinson and continues to the visitors byline, where he sends the ball across to Wright whose quick flick is pushed out by the keeper for a corner at the near post. It’s Wright again who retrieves the ball from the corner, but his cross is blocked and the visitor’s breakaway.
Then on 44 mins, Highworth double their lead as the ball is slid to another open forward who smashes it past Chris Rackley into the net.
The referee blows the halftime whistle and the home crowd are far from happy with the first half performance.
As part of the halftime chat conversations around why Riccardo Andrady has not started today and a friendly side-kick states ‘We aren’t going to score three goals in the second-half’. Thank god his prediction is wrong.
The second-half gets underway and it’s still the visitors on the attack, and Rackley makes two saves, the first a dive down to his right, that goes out for a corner and then 3 minutes later (55), another break down our right, and the Worthian forward cuts inside and his shot is parried away.
We are still struggling to get a foothold in the game, but we win a free-kick about 30yds out. The kick is met by Reuben Collins who heads the ball over the bar.
We make our first change on 59 mins as the expectant Riccardo Andrady enters the field of play replacing Adam Everiss.
Andrady makes an instant difference as he breaks down the right and sends in a cross that is half cleared and Wright’s follow-up shot is blocked to Herbert whose shot is also blocked and the visitors are able to hoof it clear.
On 66 mins another Andrady break down the right sends in another cross that is again half cleared to Wright whose left foot shot flies wide of the left hand post.
This is a better showing from Stoke now, as we start to press in midfield and further attacks are however easily repelled by the Highworth defence.
Then on 74 mins we get a goal back out of nowhere, as a cross from the right-hand byline is caught by the Highworth keeper who then falls into his own defender and Ben Wright. The keeper drops the ball and it rolls back into his own net. The referee looks at the linesman and after a few seconds awards the goal. GOAL! Basingstoke Town 1 – 2 Highworth Town.
On 83 mins they break and Rackley makes a sliding dive at the feet of a Highworth forward is able to block his shot and we are able to clear.
On 86 mins we pull level after another attack down the right from Andrady whose cross is cleared straight to Harrison Cliff who stops the ball and then smashes a low left-footed shot past the crowded goalmouth and into the net. GOAL!! Basingstoke Town 2 – 2 Highworth Town.
We then have another chance on 88 mins, as good work from Andrady and Herbert who swings in a cross that Dean Stow heads wide.
YES!! On 90 minutes, we have our third goal, as a long throw from the left hand touchline is not dealt with and it somehow falls to the feet of Zach Robinson who turns and slots it past the keeper. GOAL!!! Basingstoke Town 3 – 2 Highworth Town.
Highworth look broken, but the referee seems to want to play an awful lot of extra time and on 94 mins, Highworth have a chance to level from a free-kick just outside the box. The cross is met by their No.5 who heads it just over the bar from 6yds.
We then make our second substitution on 95 mins, with goalscorer Zach Robinson being replaced by the first minutes of midfielder Jordan Edwards season.
The game is now in the 7th minute of injury-time and despite all the calls from the crowd the referee still shows no sign of blowing the final whistle.
Then as we break down the right and try to hold the ball by the corner flag, a clearance by a Highworth defender is the final kick of the game and the ref blows the final whistle.
The Stoke players come behind the goal to celebrate with a jubilant and noisy BTG, on what is an amazing comeback and it is confirmed that we are off the bottom of the table.
Final Score: Basingstoke Town 3 – 2 Highworth Town
Match Report by Martin French..