Southern Premier League – Monday 2nd April 2018
Basingstoke Town 4 – 3 Farnborough Town Attendance 358
As we entered the final month of what seemed at times a frustrating season with some highs and a few lows and under yet another grey wet miserable home match morning, the game got the final go ahead, as people enjoyed the Community Club Beer Festival in the tent outside the clubhouse.
Terry Brown yet again having to shuffle his squad after a season-ending injury to Shane Hollamby, went with the following line-up; In goal Colm McAdden, at the back Tom Leggett, Guri Demuria, Dan Bayliss & Jordan Goater. In midfield, Captain Charlie Kennedy, Jack McKnight, Sam Deadfield & George Bennett. Up front Sam Smart & Callum Bunting.
The bench consisted of Tim Wohlfiel, Jack martin, Michael Atkinson, harry Long and James Orvis.
With Stoke attacking the Clubhouse end in the first half, there was very little controlled passing in the first few minutes, as both teams got use to the wet pitch.
Then on 6 mins Stoke attack down the left, Sam Deadfield feeds Sam Smart who wins a corner after his cross his blocked. McKnight swings the corner and up his Callum Bunting with a free header and smashes it home. A no doubter there as Stoke lead 1- 0 after 7 mins.
After 9 mins good defensive work from Charlie Kennedy as he cuts out a swift one-two move by Farnborough, which leads to Smart breaking down the left, but the linesman has his flag up for offside.
Then a series of chances for Boro on 12 & 13 mins, the first being a rocket of a shot from 10yds out, which McAdden flings his body to the right and makes an outstanding save as he pushes the ball past the post. Then a further attack this time down our left us has our defence clamouring to block the ball, but the finish slips past the post.
Stoke are back on the attack on 16 mins, with Smart seemingly set to torment the Boro right-back, he feeds Goater whose delivery has the keeper palming the ball away to Bunting who hooks the ball back towards goal, but it’s off the post and cleared away.
A minute later we are mean’t to pay as Boro in corner down our right, Stoke are unable to deal with the kick and the ball is in the back of the net and Boro equalise.
Stoke come straight back on the attack but Bunting down the right is brought down and receives treatment from our physio. Whilst he’s off the pitch, McKnight swings another whipping cross in, it’s met by Deadfield, but it flashes 3yds wide of the post and out for a goal kick.
Then on 24 mins Boro win a free-kick out near the touchline about 35yds out. The kick is hit with pace and there’s no challenge and it’s a free header for the Boro player and he makes no mistake and Stoke now trail 2 – 1.
Basingstoke come straight back with Deadfield’s sweet pass to Smart, he beats the right back again, swings the ball in, it’s cleared to the right, the ball is put back in the penalty area, it ends up at the feet of Smart, whose shot is blocked straight to Bunting who looks offside, but he pokes it home and the ref gives the goal. Stoke are back level at 2 – 2.
It’s all Stoke now as Smart breaks again, this time he’s hacked down by the Boro defence. The cross yet again causes the Boro all sorts of trouble, but no one can get that final touch on it and it flies out for a goal-kick.
But Boro can’t stop us this time, as on 29 mins a defence-splitting pass by Kennedy finds Smart again, who cuts inside dummies the two defenders then virtually on the by-line hits a cross, come shot, the keeper at the near post initially makes the save, but it slips away from him and rolls over the line. Stoke now lead 3 – 2.
Four minutes later and we break again as Deadfield, who’s buzzing today sets Bunting free down the right, he decides to take the shot early and it flies wide, somehow the ball is still in play, as Smart retrieves it cuts inside and delivers another cross. Yet again all it needs is a touch, but it flashes out for a goal kick.
Stoke come straight back and Smart running Boro ragged, gets the ball he cuts inside passes to Bennett whose shot is blocked, it bounces away down to the right, McKnight retrieves it swings the ball back in Deadfield gets his head to the ball, makes good connection but it flies past the near post for another goal kick.
Farnborough are not finished as they win a free-kick about 40yds out, the kick is swung in, but Bunting is back defending and he’s up and heads the ball clear. Boro again attack on 39 mins, this time they break down our right, the shot comes in, but McAdden is down well and puts it out for a corner.
42 mins in and Stoke break down the right with Bunting his first cross is headed clear, his second cross bounces round the box, no Stoke player can get a clean touch on it and Boro are able to half clear, but Stoke with McKnight are back at it, this time his cross finds Bunting at the far post, but the ball is just to high for him and he can’t get a clean header on it and it runs out for a throw-in.
44 mins in and Deadfield finds Smart down the left again, the defender hacks down Smart and we win a free-kick five yards in from the touchline. McKnight delivers another quality cross, but Boro are able to half clear the ball, the ball is back in and finds Deadfield 10yds out but his shot on his right foot is dragged past the far post.
Then as we enter the first minute of added time, disaster strikes the team as a heavy 50/50 tackle by a Boro midfielder and Kennedy on the halfway-line, leaves Kennedy on the floor. This does not look good as Kennedy after treatment hobbles off to the touchline by the tunnel.
We play out the last 30 seconds of injury-time with 10 men as the ref blows his whistle.
Half-time; Basingstoke Town 3 – 2 Farnborough Town
Stoke replace Kennedy at the break by dual registration player James Orvis from Team Solent. The deal being done just before the transfer window ended for the season.
Anyway, we are back underway and after a brief attack by McKnight and Leggett down the right, which ends with a good block by the Boro defence, Boro are now back on the attack and a long ball over the top finds a Boro player in the clear, has McAdden comes out, the ball is clipped over him and into the middle of the goal. Boro back level 3 – 3.
Stoke come back at Farnborough yet once more and a neat passing movement from Smart, Deadfield and Bennett leads to a shot by Smart, but it is well blocked, and the ball is cleared.
Then on 60 mins Stoke break, Bunting is put through his shot is parried away by the keeper, but straight to Deadfield who takes one touch then fires into the goal. Stoke are back ahead 4 – 3.
Stoke attack again with a lovely pass from Deadfield to McKnight whose cross whistles past the goalmouth.
Terry Brown decides to make a double substitution as Atkinson & Wohlfiel replace Bennett & Goater.
This game is not quite end to end as the first half, but Farnborough break once more as their tricky little forward fires one from 25yds that beats McAdden but just flies over the bar.
On 77 mins Stoke create a further chance as Bunting is given ball he cuts inside then passes to Smart, his shot flies wide of the post.
On 81 mins Deadfield starts a lovely move between 3 or 4 Stoke players, it ends up on the edge of the box, he takes it past one defender and fires a rocket of a shot which smashes against the inside of the post and out for a goal kick. A minute later Deadfield & Smart are at it again as they link up again, this time Deadfield finds the space to shoot, but his shot flies 2yds over the bar.
Stoke attack once more as they start close to the game out, McKnight who has been solid today, does a neat one-two with Smart, but his cross fails to beat the first defender.
One last chance for Boro as we enter the second of three minutes added time, as Bayliss heads clear from a decent cross.
The ref has had enough as he blows the final whistle.
Final Score: Basingstoke 4 – 3 Farnborough
Overall Thoughts; Deadfield, Smart & Bunting were excellent upfront, possibly helped by a very poor Farnborough defence who has let in over 100 goals this season. The Farnborough keeper (sorry didn’t get his name) was a good-natured keeper and took the general banter (not rude) well. McKnight had another solid performance and the new loanee Orvis played well for his first game.
A very entertaining and much needed win as Stoke go on the road for the next two games.
Match Report by Martin French