Bet Victor Division One South 19th October 2019
Basingstoke Town 4 – 2 Melksham Town (The Town) Attendance 279
Where: The Simplyhealth Stadium, Hillier’s Way, Winchester.
A double by Stow seals second league win in a six-goal thriller.
Dan Brownlie with a number of players missing through injury went with a starting line-up of; 1. Chris Rackley, 2. Alfie Saunders 3. Adam Everiss, 4. Ben Cook, 5. Dean Stow (Capt), 6.Scott Armsworth, 7. Claudio Herbert, 8. D’Andre Brown, 9. Mikey Davis, 10. Jordan Edwards, 11. Riccardo Andrady,
On the bench; Aiden Harris, Reece Rusher, Rhys Williams and Arnold Linturn
Basingstoke attacking the open end are on the front foot in the first few minutes but are unable to create a shot on goal, and Melksham break on 4 mins and the forward has a chance to shoot, but his control is poor and passes it out to the winger on the left, who cuts inside and fires a shot five yards wide of the far post.
Andrady is already starting to cause problems on the right and a shot from Herbert is blocked out for a corner. This corner is initially cleared, but we put in straight back in the box and we force another corner. This time a Stoke player had a free-header, but he heads it over the bar.
Then on 9 mins we force yet another corner down the right. Everiss swings it in and it causes havoc and after an initial block the ball falls to Mikey Davis who smashes a low shot into the back of the net. GOAL! Basingstoke Town 1 – 0 Melksham Town.
It’s Stoke who are back on it and are looking to take advantage of the early pressure.
Then on 16 mins we force yet another corner after good work Claudio Herbert. The cross comes in and it finds Scott Armsworth at the far post who nods it home. GOAL!! Basingstoke Town 2 – 0 Melksham Town.
The smallish crowd are loving this start and it’s Andrady who has the next shot on 18 mins, but the keeper gets both hands on it.
The two-goal lead is cut in half though on 19 mins, when a corner is headed clear by Everiss to a player 30 yds out who puts the ball back in the penalty box and after an initial block it falls to Melksham’s Joe Romanski who finds the back of the net from 18yds. Basingstoke Town now lead 2-1
A heavy tackle by a Stoke player on 22 mins in the middle of the park, which I might be wrong as it seems to go unpunished.
On 24 mins it’s Stoke with another half chance, but Edwards and Herbert fail to decide which one wants to take a shot on goal.
We are all back square as another attack from Melksham is not cleared and it’s forward Jack Ball who turns and flicks it home. Basingstoke 2-2 Melksham.
On the half-hour midfielder D’Andre Brown has picked up an ankle injury and he is replaced by Reece Rusher.
From the restart we break and as we edge close to their penalty area, the referee gives us a free-kick, which the away team are not happy about. It’s Dean Stow back taking free-kicks and his shot beats the wall, the keeper dives to his right and gets a hand on it, but it’s strong for him and it finds the far corner of the net. GOAL!!! Basingstoke Town 3 – 2 Melksham Town.
We win another free-kick two minutes later, which suits Rushers left foot more. There are cries for a penalty as the kick hits a Melksham player in the penalty box, the ball falls to a defender on the line who hits it against his own hand and then clear, but the referee waves it away.
On 38 mins it’s Melksham with an attack, but the shot is pulled wide of the far left hand post.
On 40 mins we break with pace behind Herbert and Andrady, but both attempts at crosses are cleared by Melksham’s centre-back pairing.
On 45 mins, the fans breathe a sigh of relief as a cross comes in from the left wing and a Melksham forward somehow misses the ball from what was a tap-in.
It’s half-time and Stoke hold that 3-2 lead.
The half-time celebration sees as Stoke Life Member Jim Gould is handed a shirt from the Supporters Club to celebrate his 80th birthday. It’s also announced that long-time fan Mickey Stevens reaches the milestone of 60 years today.
The game gets back underway and it’s Stoke who have the first chance on 49 mins as Edwards finds space to shoot, but his shot from 22 yds is straight at the keeper.
The game hasn’t kicked into life yet and this isn’t helped by shouts for the referee to take action after some heavy tackling by the visitors. The referee has no choice with a second and third challenge and two Melksham players find themselves in the referee’s notebook.
Then just past the hour we create another attack as Andrady breaks and rounds the advancing keeper outside the box, but a defender has got back and pulls Riccardo down. More shouts for a red card as the game is delayed whilst the keeper receives treatment. The defender is shown a yellow and the free-kick is put wide by Dean Stow.
The game continues to be stop and start affair and yet another tackle in the middle of the pitch sees the referee have no alternative but to book the Melksham No.3 again and the second yellow is followed by the red card and he traipses of the pitch, to the usual ‘Cheerio, Cheerio’ chants from behind the goal.
If anything the one man disadvantage seems to reignite the visitors as they have the next few minutes in our half of the pitch, but blocks by Alfie Saunders and Scott Armsworth alleviate the pressure.
We are now in the final ten minutes and we force a free-kick down the right hand side about 30yds out. The kick finds a Stoke head, which then looks to take a slight deflection for a corner, but the ref and linesman point for a goal-kick.
On 85 mins we make our second change with Arnold Linturn replacing Jordan Edwards.
We are having trouble holding onto the ball once we break cross midfield and it’s Melksham who are back on it, and they break into our penalty area, only for Stow to make a sliding tackle, just as the Melksham forward prepares to shoot.
It’s now a tense finish as we know there will be plenty of added time, following the red card and injuries that received treatment.
Then on 95 mins the ball is put over the top and Andrady just beats the advancing keeper to the ball, who goes straight through Riccardo who is down injured. The referee in all the commotion has pointed to the spot and it’s Dean Stow who has the ball, whilst Andrady receives treatment.
Riccardo is able to recover, and Stow steps up and smashes the ball past the Melksham keeper into the roof of the net. GOAL!!!! Basingstoke Town 4 – 2 Melksham Town.
This takes the heart out of the visitors and the remaining few minutes are played out quietly and the referee blows the final whistle on another Stoke victory.
Final Score: Basingstoke Town 4 – 2 Melksham Town
The win sees Basingstoke move up four places to 15th in the league.
The second-half does not live upto the first-half goal spree, but 3 points are all that matters as we face Melksham in Wiltshire next Saturday in the FA Trophy.
Match Report by Martin French..