Isthmian South Central Division – 27th December 2021
Basingstoke Town 4 v 3 Thatcham Town Attendance 740
Where: Winklebury Sports Complex, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
A late, late thunderbolt strike by McKoy Palmer pulls out a 4-3 win and sends Stoke fans home happy.
A number of changes from Tuesday night, left us with a starting line-up today of 1. Paul Strudley, 2. Daniel Williamson, 3. James Haworth, 4. Robert Sheridan, 5. Nathan Smart, 6. Anton Rodgers, 7. George Reid, 8. D’Andre Brown, 9. Stefan Brown, 10 Conor Lynch, 11. Simon Dunn (Capt),
On the bench: McKoy Palmer, Lloyd Snell, Jack French, Daryl Wollers & Jon Boardman
Referee – Charlie Bullock
With the rain easing the last game of 2021 got underway with Stoke attacking the car park end, and we win a free-kick about 30yds out. The kick is met by a header that forces a superb diving save out of their keeper, as he parries it away for a corner. Nothing comes from the corner-kick.
This seems to awaken the visitors, as they have the next few minutes and on 7 minutes they open the scoring, as their No.11 outpaces Nathan Smart down the left wing, and sends over a low cross that James Haworth only hooks clear to their striker Daniel Fosu, who although he mishits his shot, it still finds the corner of the net (Stoke 0 – 1 Thatcham Town).
The rain starts to fall once again as Thatcham continue to be the team on the front foot over the next few minutes, as we struggle to deal with their pace.
On 14 minutes we attack down the left through Haworth whose cross is met by Conor Lynch whose shot flies wide of the far post.
It is still Thatcham who look more up for the game, and a deflected cross forces a good catch out of Paul Strudley.
On 21 mins we again attack down the left, and the ball is met by Conor Lynch who slots it away, but the linesman has his flag up for offside, and the goal is ruled out.
A minute later Thatcham’s No.7 goes in the book for diving just on the edge of our penalty area.
George Reid appears to have picked up a knock and is replaced by McKoy Palmer (25 mins).
We then attack on 29 mins this time down the right, and as the ball is knocked over the far post, it is headed back down to a Stoke player about 15 yds out whose shot forces another fine safe out of the keeper.
Stoke continue to come back into the game and another save by their keeper rebounds away from the goalmouth.
On 35 mins we attack again and the keeper makes another save from the flick by Lynch, and there are shouts for a penalty as a Thatcham player appears to handle the ball, but yet again the linesman flag is up again and Thatcham hold onto their lead.
On 39 mins the visitors attack down the right and the cross is deflected out to a Thatcham forward whose curling shot is comfortably saved by Strudley.
Then on 42 mins Dan Williamson attacks down the right wing inside their half and is scythed down by their No.3 and the referee takes a few seconds before showing him a red card.
Then on the stroke of halftime, we win a penalty as a Thatcham player makes a reckless tackle inside the penalty area. Stefan Brown slots the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the GOAL ! Basingstoke Town 1 v 1 Thatcham Town (S Brown 45 mins Pen)
The referee plays an extra minute of injury-time, before he blows the halftime whistle.
Halftime – Basingstoke Town 1 v 1 Thatcham Town
No changes for Stoke as Thatcham get the second-half back underway, and as the rain once more reappears, Haworth attacks down the left and sends a cross along the edge of the penalty area and as D’Andre Brown takes a touch he is pulled down and the referee awards a free kick on the edge of the penalty. Anton Rodgers kick though flies harmlessly over the bar.
On 52 mins Nathan Smart goes into the book for a tackle on the halfway line.
On 53 mins, Simon Dunn slides the ball through to Stefan Brown who takes a touch then decides to shoot from 35yds, which rebounds of his defender back to him and Brown shoots again, but this shot is dragged wide.
On the hour we attack down the right wing and a shot by Lynch 10yds away is blocked away.
Another attack down the right by Williamson who slides the ball to Dunn, who finds Lynch, who cuts in on his left but drags his shot into the side-netting.
We need something to break our way, and this comes on 70 mins as a cross from the right somehow is missed by the defender hits Lynch on the chest, and as it bounces away, he is first on it and clips it past the keeper. GOAL !! Basingstoke Town 2 v 1 Thatcham Town (Lynch 70 mins)
Another attack down the right wing on 73 mins, and a shot is dropped by the keeper in front of Lynch who stabs it past the keeper, but once more the flag is up for offside.
We continue to press, but create very little over the next few minutes.
On 80 mins the ball falls to Dunn about 28yds out, and although he has time to shoot, he decides to slide the ball to one of two Stoke forwards, but only finds the Thatcham defender in the middle.
Then on 83 mins Thatcham break and Strudley in goal is unable to hold onto a long range shot and first on the rebound is Thatcham’s Daniel Fosu who puts it away (Stoke 2 – 2 Thatcham Town)
However, this game is far from over, as Stoke regain the lead on 87 mins, as what appears a miss-hit pass, is recovered by Lynch who slides the ball to Stefan, just inside the penalty area, who has the space to shoot, but then neatly slides the ball back to Lynch who smashes it into the bottom corner of the net. GOAL !!! Basingstoke Town 3 v 2 Thatcham Town (Lynch 87 mins)
We then make two changes as Lloyd Snell and Daryl Wollers replace James Haworth & Stefan Brown.
We appear to be holding the game as we move deep into added time, but then Thatcham win a corner in the 95th minute. Somehow they win a free-header at the far post and it somehow beats Strudley at the post and crosses the line. (Stoke 3 – 3 Thatcham Town).
Then from the restart, we break down the left through Palmer, he cuts in on his right and takes the ball into the penalty area and then lets a thunderbolt of a shot that flies past the helpless keeper into the roof of the net. GOAL !!!! Basingstoke Town 4 v 3 Thatcham Town (Palmer 96 mins)
The game gets back underway, and then a foul on a Stoke player on the touchline in front of the main stand, causes a melee of players to push and shove each. Once the free-kick is finally taken it is pushed down towards the corner flag and the referee finally blows the final whistle in the ninth minute of injury-time, and after the confrontation between the Thatcham keeper and fans behind the goal clears, the Stoke players celebrate in front of the covered terrace with the fans.
Final Score: Basingstoke Town 4 v 3 Thatcham Town
S. Brown 45 mins (Pen) Fosu 7 & 83 mins, Koroma 95 mins
Lynch 70 & 87 mins
Palmer 96 mins
Yet another heart-attack game, in front of the largest crowd of the season, and quite rightly won by a spectacular thunderbolt shot by McKoy Palmer deep into injury-time. Overall not a great performance, as we continue to struggle to see games out, but in the end three points keeps us in third place.
We return to Winklebury in seven days-time as we host Westfield in another Bank holiday Monday 3pm kick-off.