Match Report: Guernsey 4 v Basingstoke Town Sunday 23rd January 2022

Isthmian South Central Division – Sunday 23rd January 2022
Guernsey 4 v 4 Basingstoke Town Attendance 773
Where: Footes Lane Stadium, Footes Lane, St Peter Port, Guernsey. GY1 2UL
Defensive errors cost two points in four all draw in Guernsey

Dan Brownlie’s line-up today was 1. Paul Strudley, 2. Dan Williamson, 3. James Haworth, 4. Robert Sheridan, 5. Nathan Smart, 6. Anton Rodgers, 7. Simon Dunn (Capt), 8. Ben Cook, 9. Stefan Brown, 10. Conor Lynch, 11. Bradley Wilson
On the bench: McKoy Palmer, George Reid, Jack French, Daryl Wollers & Joel Halliday
Referee – Michael Hayden

Basingstoke kicked off on what was a grey and dreary day and were the team initially on the front foot in the first few minutes as Ben Cook & Simon Dunn looked to control the midfield. It had been noted that Guernsey’s keeper had sustained a leg injury during pre-game warm-ups and was unable to kick the ball without any pain, which mean’t he would mainly throw the ball out to his back four.
Despite this we fail to put any pressure on him, but a few minutes later we break down our right and Wilson takes on two defenders as he enters the penalty area and goes down but the referee waves away the claims for a penalty.

However, after having most of the early play, we go behind when a cross from the right byline, reaches Dan Williamson who in an attempt to clear the ball hits the ball straight to a Guernsey player who then mishits his shot, but it falls to another Guernsey forward who taps it home. Guernsey 1- 0 Basingstoke
From the restart we attack again through a good interception by Cook who then flicks it out to Bradley Wilson who has moved from the right to the left wing. He takes on and beats his defender and sends a low cross that beats the first defender but it is put out for a corner by the next defender. The corner kick is headed clear.

Then on 21 minutes, a neat move once again, as Williamson finds Brown in midfield, who touches it to Simon Dunn, who sends a pass for Wilson to run and bring it down in one motion and as he takes the ball into the box, he has his legs taken away from him by their right back. The referee points to the penalty spot. Stefan Brown steps us and confidently puts it past the keeper on his left and we are all back rightfully level. GOAL ! Guernsey 1 v 1 Basingstoke Town (S Brown 20 mins)

It is Cook again on 23 minutes as he takes the ball off the Guernsey midfielder and takes two touches then sends the ball to Lynch who chases down the right and sends a low cross into the heart of the goalmouth, but the keeper is first to it as he dives awkwardly on the ball. Again we allow them to clear the ball upfield with no pressure.
Then just before the half-hour, it is that man Cook again who receives the ball from Dunn and he takes in ten yards before sending a pass over Guernsey’s defence that Brown is able to clip the ball back to Wilson, who takes a touch then sends a curling shot that has the keeper beaten, but somehow a defender heads it over the bar and out for a corner, Again nothing comes from the corner.

Then on 28 minutes a long clearance by Paul Strudley is met by Brown who heads it on to a running Lynch who takes two touches then hits a low right foot shot that the keeper gets his hand to but can’t stop it as it hits the far right-hand post and slowly rolls over the line GOAL !! Guernsey 1 v 2 Basingstoke Town (Lynch 28 mins)

Then on 32 minutes a late sliding tackle on Strudley results in the Guernsey forward getting injured and the referee appears to let the late tackle on our keeper go unpunished.
Then on 36 minutes more simple work from Cook who releases a pass from the outside of his right foot inside the left back to Wilson who sends a first time cross over that their big No.5 heads out for a corner. The kick taken as usual by Anton Rodgers again is headed clear, but back to Rodgers who takes a wild half-volley swing and the ball flies fifty yards over all the players and out for a throw-in to Guernsey on the far side of the pitch.
Guernsey have an attack but this time we are able to clear the ball as it is pushed into our penalty area.

We continue to be the team on top and we head into the final couple of minutes of the half, and we double our lead, when Rodgers finds Wilson who initially loses the ball then retrieves it and then loses it in a tackle just outside the box, but Cook deftly flicks the ball to Dunn who slides a neat pass to Brown, who takes one touch then turns and hits the ball into the far corner of the net. GOAL !!! Guernsey 1 v 3 Basingstoke Town (S Brown 43 mins)
Then just before the halftime whistle a nasty tackle by a Guernsey player on Williamson results in him receiving the first card of the day, and just a yellow!
The referee blow for halftime, with Stoke well in control and again looking good on the road.

Halftime – Guernsey 1 v 3 Basingstoke Town
Guernsey get the second-half underway, and Stoke are first on it as Williamson goes on one of his runs down the right, beating one defender before he gets tackled by two further Guernsey defenders.
Guernsey then have the next few minutes play and we are able to hook a dangerous cross clear.
Then on 51 minutes the second Guernsey player goes in the book, after what looks a nasty tackle on Lynch. Rodgers takes the free-kick 25 yards out and sends a dipping kick over the wall, and forces the keep to make a full-length dive as he tips the ball onto the bar and over for a corner. Again nothing comes from the corner.

Then Guernsey pull a goal back as a pass from a Guernsey defender finds their leading striker Ross Allen between Smart & Williamson, who takes a touch then slides it easily past Strudley. Guernsey 2 – 3 Basingstoke
Then another tackle on Dunn has him hobbling on the sideline, but he is able to return for the moment.
It is Cook, who wins the ball again and finds Williamson running down the wing, but his cross is headed out for a corner. The cross is headed back out to Rodgers who takes an even wilder swing at the ball again, and the ball flies 20 yards high and wide over the bar, when he has time to take it down and put in a proper cross. A few fans behind the goal voice their complaints.

Then on minutes 59 mins Strudley come to our rescue, as we initially clear the ball but back to a Guernsey player who sends a cross into the heart of the goal, where a wide-open forward smashes a header that Strudley dives and somehow pushes it up in the air, and  retrieves the ball a second later.

Stoke receive their first yellow card as Simon Dunn goes in the book (62 mins)
A wayward shot by Guernsey is the only action in the next few minutes, before another booking for a Guernsey player who pulls down Hayward in front of the dugouts.

More controversy a few minutes later as we attack and the ball is fed to Conor Lynch who goes down from a tackle. The referee puts his whistle to his mouth makes a clear intention to whistle for a penalty then a full second later blows for a free-kick the other way and then decides to book Lynch.

We make our first change on 72 mins, as Simon Dunn is unable to continue and is replaced by McKoy Palmer.
Then on 74 mins, Cook wins the ball and sends a pass out to Wilson along the touchline who takes 15 yards before sliding it to Brown who then neatly slides the ball across to a wide-open Lynch at the back of the goal, and he makes no mistake in tapping it home. GOAL !!!! Guernsey 2 v 4 Basingstoke Town (Lynch 74 mins)

Guernsey who have had a clear height advantage the whole game are now sending crosses into our penalty area every chance they get and it reaps rewards, as one cross half headed clear by Williamson, falls to a Guernsey player who takes a touch then hits a left foot shot that seems to take a deflection of a Stoke player which sends Strudley the wrong way and although he gets a leg to it, it rebounds to Guernsey’s Ross Allen who taps it home. Guernsey 3 – 4 Basingstoke.

Apart from the crosses into our penalty area, they now have a player who is able to throw the ball all of forty yards from a throw-in. This also starts to put more pressure on our back four. One such throw is neatly caught By Strudley in the goal, but the pressure is starting to slow as appear to drop ten yards deeper.

Another noticeable thing is that they about 8 Guernsey ball girls situated around the pitch, who hands a new ball to a player everytime the ball goes out of play, which therefore means no 30 seconds delays to allow times to set-up for the throw-in.
I note that another Le Tissier (Glenn) makes an appearance on the pitch, just before Conor Lynch is replaced by Daryl Wollers.

Within what seems seconds from the restart, the long throw-man (Jamie Dodds), throws the ball 45 yards, where Wollers is up and can only flick it on to the far post, where Le Tissier taps it home from what seems a yard. Guernsey 4 – 4 Basingstoke.

Then on 88 minutes from another long kick by Strudley the ball is sent through to Palmer who is able ride the tackle from a Guernsey defender, and takes the ball inside the penalty area, but as the keeper comes out, Palmer shoots and it hits the keeper and he is able to retrieve it.

Guernsey have another attack but Strudley is able to scoop up the ball as the Guernsey forward is unable to control it.

We are now heading into injury-time and it is Palmer who takes the ball down the right wing and sends over a cross to a wide-open Wilson who from five yards out smashes it high over the bar, and our chance goes missing. Note the ball may still be travelling in the air.

Deep into injury-time a further chance for both teams as a cross is punched clear by Strudley and the follow-up shot rolls wide.

Then we knock the ball forward to Brown who flicks it onto a running Wilson who takes a touch then hits a low-foot shot that somehow the keeper flicks his left leg out and pushes it out for a corner. Nothing comes from the corner.

The referee has seen enough and blows for fulltime.

Full-time Score: Guernsey 4 v 4 Basingstoke Town
Mahon 18 mins                              S Brown 20 mins (pen) & 43 mins, Lynch 28 & 74 mins
Allen 54 & 77 mins
Le Tissier 86 mins

Match Thought’s
How we can score four goals, have two clear goals leads on two occasions then fail to win the games. Defensive errors a lack of being unable to calmly defend when under any form of pressure. A clear lack of heading power at both ends of the pitch means we are constantly vulnerable to crosses into the heart of our goalmouth. Not sure if we have any plans from our corners either.
On the good side was a superb performance from Ben Cook who for long periods of the game won everything in midfield and helped set-up two goals, plus an equally impressive performance from Stefan Brown with two goals and two assists.
With Scott Armsworth now gone and unless Shaun Dallimore is fit to start, then clear replacements are required at the back.
Up Next:
Well apart from two of us still out on Guernsey, doing some sight-seeing the fans who made the trip and the players headed back home to England with seven days to rest before our next encounter with a team at the bottom. This time Staines Town at Winklebury.
Match Report by Martin French..