Match Report: Willand Rovers 4 – 1 Basingstoke Town Saturday 16th November 2019

Bet Victor Division One South – 16th November 2019
Willand Rovers 4 v 1 Basingstoke Town Attendance 78
Where: Stan Robinson Stadium, Silver Street, Willand, Devon. EX15 2RG

Stoke sink to 18th after poor performance against a well drilled Willand side.
Dan Brownlie’s line-up today was; 1. Chris Rackley, 2. Dean Stow (Capt) 3. Adam Everiss, 5. Scott Armsworth, 6. Ryan Suckling, 7. Jordan Edwards, 8. Ben Cook, 9. Claudio Herbert, 10. Harrison Cliff, 11. Reece Rusher, 19. Ben Wright,
On the bench; Aiden Harris, Mikey Davis, Riccardo Andrady, Kalum Cousins and D’Andre Brown

On a pleasant sunny November day, the player’s coach accompanied by many supporters journeyed down to the little village of Willand. The ground although neat, fails in so many ways to meet ground grading, for this level of football but somehow has some dispensation to continue in the division this season.

However, on the pitch that clearly hadn’t been cut for two weeks, we attacked the open back garden or allotment end and were straight on the attack in the first minute as we swept the ball across from the left to Harrison Cliff on the right, who took the ball 10yds before unleashing a low shot from 28yds which the keeper held well at the foot of the near post.
A minute later we forced back-to-back corner’s but both were easily cleared.

Willand have their first attack on 6 mins as they break forcing a good safe out of Rackley who turns the ball away for a corner. We clear the ball well and break back upfield, but the cross by Reece Rusher only finds a Willand defender who comfortably heads clear.

Then on 12 mins we go behind as they outplay us down the right and as the forwards enters the penalty area he fires a shot that Rackley can only push the ball into the path of experienced non-league footballer Dean Stamp, who taps home the ball from 8yds into a wide open goal. Rovers 1-0 Stoke.

We are back on it a minute later as Stow feeds Cook who breaks and then finds Herbert. Herbert then slides the ball to Wright on the edge of the left-hand penalty area, who turns his defender and hits a curling shot that the keeper makes a full-length dive, pushing the ball out for a corner at the far post. Rushers corner is initially hit back to him and he is able to send in another cross that again is headed out for another corner. Again the corner is easily cleared and they break downfield.

On 19mins Ben Wright then chases down a pass down the right hand touchline and despite having two defenders on him he holds onto the ball awaiting help from the midfield players that just doesn’t materialise and Rovers clear.
Another Stoke attack and cross, and another defensive free header a minute later.
We then win a free-kick 40yds out and Dean Stow’s free-kick is met by the head of Scott Armsworth, but it has no real pace and slides out across the goal for a goal-kick.

Then on 26 mins, Willand then switch the ball from the right-hand touchline deep in their own half to the left touchline. There is a clear two-on-one, and they break with pace and the left back easily overlaps Stow at right back and enters our penalty area, he is able to turn inside and although his initial shot is blocked back to him, he then slides the ball inside to Stamp who hits the ball past Rackley and despite the ball appearing to be kicked-off the line, the linesman flags for the goal, as the ball has clearly crossed the line. Rovers 2-0 Stoke.

Our next Stoke attack (30mins), is broken up and they break downfield and an initial shot on the edge of the box is saved by Rackley out for a corner. We head the ball clear to the edge of the box from the corner where another shot is blocked to the halfway-line. However, Rovers are back attacking again and a tackle on the edge of the box is awarded a free-kick to the home side by the referee. The kick is however hit straight at the wall and we clear.

Two more attacks, two more poor crosses which are met by the keeper who swallows these up easily.
There is some pushing and shoving by a few players, as the older Willand players start to influence the game. The referee books one player from each side.

The game is getting scrappy and despite good work from Claudio Herbert down the right he cuts inside but is unable to get a shot away as Rovers block the ball in numbers. The keeper has spent the whole half verbally organising Rovers back four and at times the referee, as we play 3 mins of added time before the blows the halftime whistle.

The second-half gets underway with no changes by us, as we attack the clubhouse and parked car end, and have a clear chance straight away, as a back pass to the keeper who gets his foot caught in the long grass passes it straight to Jordan Edwards, who takes a touch then hits one that doesn’t trouble the keeper as it flies over the bar into the high netting, that protects the fans and the cars parked a yard from the perimeter fence.

On 51 mins we then have shouts for a penalty as Rusher is put through, but the keeper as dived and made contact with the ball only as Rusher goes down.

Willand then win another free-kick on the edge of our box, but like the first-half attempt it’s wasted as it is hit straight at the wall.

On 57 mins, we then again fail to take a golden opportunity as we attack and send the ball across to Rusher who heads the ball back across the goalmouth to Edwards who has time, but hits a first time left footed shot then slices 15yds wide of the goal from 5yds out.

Willand then have the next attack and Rackley then makes a good save at the right hand post. He is however beaten by the next shot a minute later but it hits the bottom of the post and goes for a goal-kick.

They then break from our next attack and we are wide open down the left and they bring the ball inside close to the byline and the ball finds Stamp again and another wide open tap in from 6yds. That’s Stamp’s hat-trick and with one goal all season, now has four.
It’s 4-0 a few minutes later as they break again and a shot flashes past Rackley.

We then seem to make our first change as Harrison cliff is replaced by Riccardo Andrady.
Andrady, down the right seems to bring some life into the game, but his first cross fails to beat the first defender.

Then on 76mins from an attack by us in their penalty area, the referee stops the game and comes across, stating “You know what you did to the Willand defender” and then takes a few seconds and after advice from a couple of our fans behind the goal, then awards a penalty. Ben Wright makes no mistake as he slams it past the keeper into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. GOAL! Willand Rovers 4 – 1 Basingstoke Town

We then make our second substitution as new academy signing Kalum Cousins joins the fray.
Within two minutes of his first start he is fed the ball and he races 15yds with the ball and hits a decent shot but it’s straight at the keeper.

The next few minutes see very little action, before we make our last substation with Aiden Harris, replacing Reece Rusher I believe.
We are now in added time and despite plenty of possession the game is dead and buried and the referee blows his final whistle.

Final Score: Willand Rovers 4 – 1 Basingstoke Town

Up next is next Saturday’s home match against Bristol Manor Farm and a lot of work by Dan to get the team ready for the game.

Match Report by Martin French..