Isthmian South Central Division – Sunday 16th April 2023
Guernsey 2 v 3 Basingstoke Town Attendance 859
Where: Footes Lane Stadium, St Peter Port, Guernsey. GY1 2UL
Stoke Win Their Fifteenth Game on The Road This Season, Take The Title Chase To Last weekend of Season.
Dan Brownlie’s line-up for the last away league of the season was: 1. Paul Strudley, 2. Markus Johnson-Schuster, 3. Callum Winchcombe, 4. D’Andre Brown, 5. Scott Armsworth, 6. Billy Upton, 7. Bradley Wilson, 8. Simon Dunn (Capt), 9. Paul Hodges, 10. Brody Peart, 11. Ben Cook
On the bench: Stefan Brown, James Clark, Ben Mason, Nathan Smart & Sam Argent
Referee – Craig Barnett
Our final away league game off the season under a warming Channel Island sun and it’s Stoke on the front foot and after an initial attack in the second minute. We then move forward through Markus Johnson-Schuster, who finds Wilson who heads the ball back into the path of D’Andre Brown who wins the ball, then rides a tackle, and then takes a touch and let’s fly a left foot shot that flies past the keeper and in off the left-hand post. GOAL! Guernsey 0 – 1 Basingstoke Town (D Brown 4 mins)
The first of a number of heavy challenges on Stoke players are given as free-kicks, but nothing more as Stoke push forward.
Guernsey then attack down our right and are able to turn one of our defenders and sends over a cross, that deflects high up into the air, and straight to a Guernsey forward who heads home from a yard. Guernsey 1 – 1 Stoke
Guernsey then have the next couple of possession, but Stoke hold them away from our penalty area.
We then win a free-kick around 30 yards away, as Simon Dunn gets clattered. Brody Peart takes the kick, who beats the wall, but the Guernsey keeper is able to get to the bottom of the left-hand post and push the ball away.
Stoke have the next attack as on 23 mins we win another free-kick for a foul just outside the penalty area. It’s Peart again, who beats the ball, but again the Guernsey keeper is able to dive across and punch the ball out for a corner. Nothing come from the corner.
Stoke then deservedly retake the lead as a long crossfield ball from Simon Dunn, finds Wilson who heads the ball neatly into Paul Hodges path, who takes the ball past his defender then with an option to shoot from close range, slides the ball back across the goal to Wilson who slide-foots a shot through a couple of Guernsey defenders into the net GOAL! Guernsey 1 – 2 Basingstoke Town (Wilson 24 mins)
Guernsey then have a few minutes of play as they win some throw-ins and there long throw expert is back putting the ball deep into our penalty area, but we deal with them reasonable calm.
More good work from Hodges, as he wins the ball back in Guernsey’s half, and dribbles his way through three players before a fourth player fouls Hodges, who wins a free-kick. The free-kick is easily headed clear.
Stoke are pushing players forward, and this time it is Johnson-Schuster in a forward role who finds Wilson, who smashes a shot from just inside the penalty area that the keeper makes a fantastic save to push the ball over the bar. Nothing comes from the corner.
We move into the last two minutes of the half, and we should have doubled our lead, as a long ball over the top finds Dre who collects the ball then takes it into the penalty area towards the goal, then slides the ball across the face of the goal to Peart, who somehow hits a shot from a yard out that flies wide of the goal.
The referee plays two minutes of added-time and then blows for halftime.
Halftime – Guernsey 1 v 2 Basingstoke Town
The game gets back underway, and after an initial attack and wayward shot, we attack again and Dunn gets fouled once more. The kick taken between Cook and Hodges allows Hodges to take a shot, but it is dragged wide.
Stoke continue to press forward through Peart or Wilson down the left, but neither can create a real opening.
Then on 58 mins the ball is slid through to Wilson who is has a yard on his defender, but his shot is blocked away by the keeper.
We then make our first change, as Brody Peart who picked up a knock minutes earlier, is replaced by Stefan Brown.
A minute later we are unable to clear our lines and a through ball is unable to be cleared and finds their goal-scoring legend Ross Allen who has run onto the ball and knocks the ball wide of Paul Strudley in goal.
We attack once more and Cook neatly clips the ball on to Hodges who runs onto the ball, then turns in on his left and fires a shot that into the side-netting.
However minutes later we attack again as Dre finds Wilson, who chips the ball into the six-yard area, where hodges neatly just clips the ball over keeper into the net GOAL! Guernsey 2 – 3 Basingstoke Town (Hodges 70 mins)
Further good work by Hodges who again gets knocked over with the referee taking no action.
Guernsey then have a few minutes of play, but poor headers by their forwards does not force a save out of Strudley in goal.
We move in to the last five minutes of the game with vey little goalmouth action, and we make our second change on 87 minutes with Nathan Smart replacing Ben Cook.
Somehow the first and only yellow card of the game is shown to Paul Hodges for a late tackle.
Still nothing much to note, and we make our final change with James Clark replacing Bradley Wilson.
We are able to comfortably play out the five minutes of added time the referee has indicated, plus one for luck, before the blows the final whistle, and the good travelling contingent of Stoke fans celebrate with the players behind the goal.
Full-time Score: Guernsey 2 v 3 Basingstoke Town
Murray 15 mins, Allen 64 mins D. Brown 4 mins, Wilson 23 mins, Hodges 70 mins
Well another strong away performance gives us the three points that take the title to the final game next Saturday. Good all-round team performance, somewhat ruined by a referee who allowed numerous Guernsey fouls to go unpunished the whole game.
We head home back to Winklebury for our Tuesday night Hampshire Snr Cup Semi-final game of the season, Aldershot Town.
Match Report by Martin French..