Isthmian South Central Division – Saturday 1st April 2023
Walton & Hersham 5 v 1 Basingstoke Town Attendance 1,651
Where: Elmbridge Xcel Sports Hub, Waterside Drive, Walton-on-Thames. KT12 2JP
Stoke Outclassed Slip To Second Place
Dan Brownlie’s line-up today was: 1. Paul Strudley, 2. Markus Johnson-Schuster, 3. Callum Winchcombe, 4. James Clark), 5. Billy Upton, 6. Scott Armsworth, 7. Bradley Wilson, 8. Simon Dunn (Capt), 9. Paul Hodges, 10. Ben Cook, 11. George Reid
On the bench: Brody Peart, D’Andre Brown, Nathan Smart, Sam Argent & Mark Scott
Referee – Will Briers
This most important game of the season, the battle for the league title got underway, with the news that Michael Atkinson has picked up a pre-game injury and is replaced by James Clark.
Stoke have a long range shot as Walton have the better of the possession in the first ten minutes.
Paul Strudley makes a fine save from a shot just outside the box, as he palms the ball out for a corner, Nothing comes from the corner.
It’s still a midfield battle as we move to the twentieth minute.
Walton then attack again and find the net and we go one behind. W&H 1 – 0 Stoke
Stoke are still trying to get a foot into the game as we move past the half-hour mark.
The Walton keeper then makes a fine save from Paul Hodges.
Strudley is then forced into another fine save, pushing the shot out for another corner.
A Walton player goes in the book for a heavy tackle on George Reid, who takes a minute to recover.
Wilson then has a shot from around twenty-five yards, but again it’s straight at the keeper.
Walton then win back-to-back corners as we head into added-time, which we defend.
Walton then break once more and they find the net once more and we fall two behind. W&H 2 – 0 Stoke
The game restarts and the referee then blows the halftime whistle.
Halftime – Walton & Hersham 2 v 0 Basingstoke Town
The second-half gets underway with Stoke having a lot to do to get back into the game, but within minutes we receive another blow as Simon Dunn has to go off and is replaced by Brody Peart (51 mins).
We then attack down and pass the ball around through Hodges Wilson and Reid, and the ball is fed back to Reid, who finds the net with a left foot shot. GOAL! W&H 2 – 1 Basingstoke Town (Reid 52 mins)
We then break again down the right through Reid, but his cross is blocked, but falls to Markus Johnson-Schuster, who sends across over, but a Walton defender knocks it out for a corner. The corner is headed away to Wilson on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot is poor and flies out for a goal-kick.
Walton then break down the right, slide the ball inside to a Walton striker who drags his shot wide.
Stoke continue to try and get back into the game and nice ball from Winchcombe finds Wilson, but his cross is blocked out for a corner. The corner is however poor and Walton clear.
We then win another corner, and this time it’s a short corner, which when sent over finds Reid, who heads over.
Bradley Wilson then goes in the book for a tackle on the middle of the pitch.
Walton come back into the game and Strudley makes another save.
Another smooth Walton move forces some good defensive work by Armsworth and then Upton.
We win two more corners but Walton defend them well.
Walton then double their lead as they find the net once more. W&H 3-1 Stoke
A tackle a minute later sees Upton go in the book, and within seconds, he is shown a second yellow and he is off (74 mins).
Reid has a shot, but it’s dragged wide.
Walton with the man advantage push forward and with just under ten minutes a later a tackle by a Stoke defender sees the referee award Walton a penalty. The penalty is converted W&H 4 – 1 Stoke
Walton have time for another goal with three minutes to go. W&H 5 – 1 Stoke
We make our final change with George Reid being replaced by Nathan Smart.
The game is over and the referee plays a couple of minutes of added-time then blows the full-time whistle.
Full-time Match Score: Walton & Hersham 5 v 1 Basingstoke Town
Simon 22 mins, Gough 45 mins, Kelly 73 mins Reid 52 mins,
Mills 82 mins pen, Adeyemi 87 mins
Simply beaten by a better team on the day and unless someone can do us a favour, we are heading to the playoffs. The fifteen minute period in the second-half was the only part of the game we looked the better team. More injury concerns with Dunn & Atkinson, plus Upton will likely miss the Southall game.
We have our Tuesday night Hampshire Snr Cup Quarter-final game at AFC Portchester, before we head home for our Good Friday afternoon match against Southall.
Match Report by Martin French..