Isthmian South Central Division – 27th November 2021
Bedfont Sports 1 v 4 Basingstoke Town Attendance 151
Where: Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground, Hatton Road, Bedfont TW14 9QT
Stoke in commanding performance stun Bedfont 4-1
The return of Nathan Smart & Stefan Brown from injury gave the starting line-up today as: 1. Paul Strudley, 2. Daniel Williamson, 3. James Haworth, 4. D’Andre Brown, 5. Nathan Smart, 6. Daryl Wollers, 7. Bradley Wilson, 8. Anton Rodgers, 9. Stefan Brown, 10 Ben Cook (Capt), 11. McKoy Palmer
On the bench: Jack French, Lloyd Snell, Aiden Lewis, Joe Western & Jon Boardman
Referee – Peter Conn
With a strong cold wind and the wind-chill factor leaving fans shivering as the game got underway again with more Stoke fans than the home support, and it was Stoke pushing forward from the outset and after a cross from McKoy Palmer that is initially cleared, we again find Palmer whose cross is knocked out for the corner down the left. Anton Rodgers corner is knocked straight-up in the air and the Sports keeper takes everyone out near the ball, as he comes and catches the ball.
On six minutes the ball is slid through to Stefan Brown who retrieves the ball down the right wing, he takes a touch and sends in a left-foot cross that is hooked away.
More pressure on the Bedfont back four as from a free-kick just inside their half, a neat passing move finds Palmer again, but his cross is comfortably cleared.
Then on 10 minutes, a Bedfont clearance finds a forward and with the bounce of the ball on the 3G surface, favouring him he takes a touch then sends a shot from 25yds that Strudley comfortably saves.
We are straight back on the attack, and another inch splitting pass allows Bradley Wilson to break clear and the keeper comes halfway then stops then comes again, which allows Wilson to reach the ball first, and slide it past the keeper into the net. GOAL ! Bedfont Sports 0 v 1 Basingstoke Town (Wilson 11 mins)
On 15 mins we are still encamped in their half with Rodgers and Cook running the middle of the pitch, it is Rodgers who finds Palmer once again down the left. His cross is only blocked away to Stefan 3yds out, whose quick turn and flick is blocked back to him, and then another poke of the ball is stopped by the keeper.
Another attack two minutes later has Dan Williamson breaking into their half, but as he takes the ball inside the penalty area, and looks to shoot, the Sports defender makes a timely tackle.
Then on 21 minutes we double our lead, as the Bedfont back four is sliced open again, as this time Ben Cook is put through and without thinking he hits a low right-foot shot past the keeper from around 8 yds out. GOAL !! Bedfont Sports 0 v 2 Basingstoke Town (Cook 21 mins)
There is a two-minute delay before the game restarts as Bedfont’s No.4 is injured and is replaced.
The next attack again is set-up by D’Andre Brown who wins a tackle and slides it to Rodgers who again finds Palmer down the left wing. This time Palmer’s cross is deflected back to Cook just outside the area, whose touch and then half-volley shot has the keeper beaten but the ball slides inches wide of the left-hand post.
Another pass finds Williamson breaking down the right, but his cross close to the byline is cleared back towards the halfway line, where we retrieve it and attack once more, but over-passing it allows the homeside to clear.
However, as soon as it is cleared, we push forward again, and this time the pass is to Wilson, who takes it inside the left-hand corner of the penalty area, dummies his defender and as he continues towards the goal he ends up on the floor, and the referee in a good position behind the whole move, has no hesitation in awarding a penalty in the belief that the Bedfont defender has clipped Wilson. Whether there was aclip or not, it is Stefan Brown who steps up and sends the keeper the wrong way as his shot finds the bottom left-hand corner of the net. GOAL !!! Bedfont Sports 0 v 3 Basingstoke Town (S Brown 33 min Pen)
Even the most die-hard Stoke fans can’t believe this performance.
Then on 36 mins a beautiful 50yd crossfield pass from right to left, finds Palmer who again attacks down the left, he stops and starts, then turns his defender, only for the cross to be weak and easily cleared.
Bedfont out of nowhere pull a goal back, as a poor pass by Rodgers straight to a Bedfont forward who takes the ball 15yds before planting the ball past Strudley on goal. (1-3).
The last action of the half sees Palmer yet once more take the ball down the left, he stops and finds Haworth who surges forward deep into the Bedfont final third, but his cross is blocked away once more and a few seconds later the referee blows for halftime
Halftime Bedfont Sports 1 v 3 Basingstoke Town
The game gets back underway with no Stoke changes, and it’s Stoke back on it and a neat pass by Stefan sends Palmer away again, but his touch allows the ball to run to the keeper who thumps it out for a Stoke throw-in.
It is still Stoke commanding the game as Nathan Smart & Daryl Wollers win every challenge at the back, and it’s from this control that finds Haworth advancing again, and he finds Cook in the centre of the park, who takes a touch then slides the ball through for Wilson to race onto, and takes one touch then hits a right-foot shot from just inside the area, that beats the keeper once again as it finds the far left hand corner of the goal. GOAL !!!! Bedfont Sports 1 v 4 Basingstoke Town (Wilson 51 mins)
On 56 mins Bedfont have their attack of note, as they break into our half down the left, but as he cuts inside and hits a shot that flies away with the wind 10yds wide of the far post.
On the hour more good work from Wollers who again wins his tackle against his forward and finds Cook, who in turn finds Palmer, but a timely intervention stops that attack.
Still nothing of any note as Bedfont struggle to deal with the swirling wind.
On 66 mins we make our first change with Stefan Brown being rested for Tuesday night, and is replaced by Lloyd Snell.
Bedfont start to come into the game and have the next few minutes of play which includes a shot from 30yds that is troubling no-one but the ball-boy who is going to have to retrieve the ball from the ground next door, and a cross that Smart is able to hook clear.
On 72 mins we receive our first caution of the day, as James Haworth goes in the book as he brings down his attacker 40yds away from goal.
Stoke create the next neat move as Williamson and D’Andre combine neatly down the right touchline that seems to beat three Bedfont players, but another defender comes across and put it out for a Stoke corner down the right. Again the Rodgers cross, is half cleared to a Stoke player who the slides his pass to Nathan Smart who hits a curling shot towards the goal, but the keeper makes a comfortable save.
On 75 mins Sports force a save out of Strudley with a shot from 30yds.
We make our second change as Jack French replaces captain and goal-scorer Ben Cook who hands the armband to Nathan Smart.
The next few minutes has not being able to hold onto the ball in their half, and Bedfont use this to push forward, but again all they can muster is two shots from distance that again fly nowhere close to the goal.
We seem to be settling on controlling the ball in our own half as we pass it around, and Bedfont are unable to retrieve the ball, until we push forward into their half.
On 83 mins Lloyd Snell is sent clear down the right, but he mishits his shot and the keeper saves it easily.
Our third and final change has Joe Western replacing McKoy Palmer.
In the first minute of injury-time from a Stoke goal-kick, they have a free-header that sends one of their forwards away and as Wollers looks to make a tackle the forward hits a shot that hits the outside of the left-hand post and flies out for a goal-kick.
We are now in five minutes of extra-time, before the referee blows the full-time whistle and Stoke are comfortable winners.
Final Score: Bedfont Sports 1 v 4 Basingstoke Town
Flatman 41 mins Wilson 11 & 51 mins, Cook 21 mins
S Brown 33 mins (Pen)
One of the most commanding and controlling performances for an hour I have seen for some time from a Stoke side. Neat finishes by Wilson & Cook backed up by a slick penalty finish by Stefan Brown, only points to half of what we proved on the pitch today.
More of the performance today will be in my Staines Town match preview.
The games keep coming quick and fast as we head to bottom-placed Staines Town this Tuesday evening (30th).
Match Report by Martin French..