Match Report: Merstham 1 v 5 Basingstoke Town Saturday 12th November 2022

Isthmian South Central Division – Saturday 12th November 2022
Merstham 1 v 5 Basingstoke Town Attendance 266
Where: worldflow Stadium, Weldon Way, Merstham. RH13
Stoke Hit Five With Clinical Second-Half Finishing At Merstham
Dan Brownlie’s line-up for today: 1. Mark Scott, 2. Ben Mason, 3. Callum Winchcombe, 4. Aiden Lewis, 5. Scott Armsworth, 6. Billy Upton, 7. George Reid, 8. Simon Dunn (Capt), 9. Ezio Touray, 10. James Clark, 11. Bradley Wilson
On the bench: Stefan Brown, Marcio Neves, Louis Wilson, Anton Rodgers & Nathan Smart
Referee – Johnathon Wilks

On a bright and sunny November and with yet more enforced changes, the game got underway with Stoke attacking away from the clubhouse end, with the sun straight in their eyes, and the first attack of note was on six minutes, when the ball was slid through to Ezio, who broke clear and a left-foot shot that Merstham’s huge keeper made a full-length dive to his left and was able to push the ball away and with no Stoke player nearby, they were able to clear.

Minutes later we attacked again and nice play from George Reid allows Ezio to break but he takes one touch too many allowing their keeper come out and smother Ezio’s shot.

In minutes nine to eleven, Merstham used both wings to attack us, but good defensive plays in our own half, allowed us to keep them at bay.
Reid once again broke down the right and forced a corner down the right, but the kick was straight to the keeper.
A superb run and cross down the right by Ben Mason brought out a diving save from the keeper again.

Then Merstham force a full-length save out of Mark Scott who pushes it out for a corner. The corner kick comes over and is headed straight up in the air by a Stoke defender and the ball is then knocked home, when the ball hits the ground and Stoke trail 1-0.

Merstham continue to push forward but good work by Aiden Lewis interrupts them twice in midfield.
Some strange refereeing decisions over the next few minutes.

Then nice work from George Reid, who breaks into the penalty area, and although he could have gone down, slides the ball to Clark who fires a shot that forces another fine save out of their keeper.

Then in the 36th minute we break down the left through Wilson and he takes the ball into the deep into the penalty area and he gets hacked down and the referee point so the spot. It’s James Clark to take it and he sends it comfortably past the keeper into the left-hand of the net. GOAL ! Merstham 1 – 1 Basingstoke Town (James Clark pen 36 mins)

Attacks from both sides over the next few minutes, are thwarted by the defences.
The referee plays two added minutes then blows the halftime whistle.

Halftime – Merstham 1 v 1 Basingstoke Town
With the sun now set behind the trees, the game got back underway and our first attack on 48 minutes gives us the lead and a ball pushed through to Wilson on the left, then slides the ball to Ezio who finds Reid clean through and he rounds the keeper then knocks it home from an acute angle. GOAL !! Merstham 1 – 2 Basingstoke Town (George Reid 48 mins)

Merstham are from done and nice play moves by them switching the ball down the flanks forces some desperate clearances in our own penalty area over the next few minutes and they continue to have us pinned in our third of the pitch for several minutes.

We then break clear just before the hour and a shot from Wilson forces a good save out of their keeper. We then make our first change with Marcio Neves replacing Aiden Lewis.

Merstham continue to push forward and force a fine save out of Scott in goal, and another desperate hacked clearance, as Merstham prove why they are bottom as their finishing is awful.

Then with all the attacking the Merstham are doing, they are left open at the back a nice through ball to Wilson takes the ball twenty yards into their half then as he enters the penalty area, slides an inch perfect pass to Reid, who hits a left-foot shot that curls past the keeper leaving him motionless as the ball hits the far left hand post and rolls in and Stoke have increased their lead. GOAL !!! Merstham 1 – 3 Basingstoke Town (George Reid 70 mins)

Merstham are still not done, as they waste two more chances, one hitting the bar and another shot that is dragged wide from close range.

We make our second change with Stefan Brown replacing Sam Argent.
The game moving into the last 15 minutes is starting to change as we look to break via Wilson on the left, and it is Bradley’s chance to take full advantage as he breaks clear and slides the ball past the keeper from 25 yards out and into the net. GOAL !!!! Merstham 1 – 4 Basingstoke Town (Bradley Wilson 76 mins)

Merstham have one more dangerous attack but this is ended by a good save by Scott in goal.

Moving into the last ten minutes and we are now having wave after wave of attacks and a couple of shots on goal, either hit the keeper or fly just over the bar.

Then on 82 minutes, it’s Wilson who has had an inspired second-half yet once more takes the ball into the homesides penalty area and slides the ball across from the by-line, and it is Brown who gets to the cross first as he flicks a left-foot shot into the net. GOAL !!!!! Merstham 1 – 5 Basingstoke Town (Stefan Brown 82 mins)

Stoke then make their final change bringing on young Louis Wilson signed from the academy to replace Ezio Touray (84 mins).

Merstham have time to waste one more chance from another corner, before we break and Wilson touches the ball past the keeper 30 yards out from his goal, but Brad then treads on the ball allowing a defender to get back as he then slides the ball to Brown who hits a shot that hits the defender and they are able to clear.

We are now deep into injury time and the referee has seen enough and blows the final whistle, which sends the large Stoke travelling fanbase around the ground into raptures of applause for a superb second-half performance.

Full-time Score: Merstham 1 v 5 Basingstoke Town
Goode 20                                       Clark 36 min (Pen), Reid 48 & 70 mins,
Wilson 76 mins, S.Brown 82 mins

Match Thought’s
Stoke started slowly against a team that if they had a goalscorer would surely not be bottom of this league, and it took a penalty to beat the huge Merstham keeper. George Reid once again was a clear man-of-the match for his whole 90 minute performance, but Wilson given more space in the second-half was key to a lot of our second-half attacks and goals.
Note must go to our defence who seemed under pressure for large parts of the game and were able to defend numerous corners throughout the game, and crucial blocks at times kept the homeside at bay

Scoring five goals away from home anytime is good and we move up into sixth place, with the hope we can get some midfielders back fit for next week.

Up Next:
We face another team in the bottom few places of the table as we host Tooting & Mitcham Utd next Saturday (19th) kick-off 3pm.

Match Report by Martin French..