Match Report: Winchester City 3 – 3 Basingstoke Town (City 5-4 on pens)

Winchester City 3 – 3 Basingstoke Town (Winchester City win 5 – 4 on pens)
Tuesday 5th December 2018 – Hampshire Cup
Attendance 125

I decided to go to bed for a couple of hours before getting upto watch the latest days play of the Ashes, before doing the Match-Report. Wish I hadn’t now as Root follows Woakes back to the dressing room.

On a cold but dry December evening and with a number of Basingstoke players missing from the starting line-up, Basingstoke Town took on Winchester City in the 3rd round of the Hampshire Senior Cup.

With Sam Argent cup-tied, Shane Hollamby rested, and with both Ben Wright and George Bennett suspended for their red cards at St Neots, the starting line-up was as follows;

In goal U21 goalkeeper Zabotti, with a backline of Wohlfiel, Demuria, the returning Dan Bayliss & Goater. In midfield Collier, Charlie Kennedy (Capt), U21 player Ross McKernan and McKnight, Upfront Smart & Bunting.

On the bench: Hunt, McAdden, Macaulay & Batchelor.

The game kicked off with little action in the first few minutes as the players got use to the slightly muddy pitch, but in the 5th minute Wohlfiel breaks down the right and a decent cross beats everyone and is put out for Stoke’s first corner. The corner finds Bunting free at the far post, whose header finds Smart just three yards out but is turn and shot is blocked and cleared by a Winchester defender.

11 minutes in and Basingstoke attack down their left with Bunting, assistant coach Jason Bristow, shouts “Get it in the box”, but his cross is blocked and goes out for a corner. The resulting corner beats everyone and goes out for a goal-kick.

17 mins after a few minutes of very little by either side, Basingstoke attack again, but the ball is put out for a throw-in. Nothing results from this.

The game is lacking any real quality as passes go astray by both sides, Then, on 27 mins Basingstoke take the lead as Wohlfiel’s pass over the top finds Smart whose cross find’s McKnight just 4yds out and he slots it home under pressure from a defender. Winchester 0 – 1 Basingstoke Town.

Two minutes later we attack again, but this is well cleared and Winchester break and win their 1t corner, but nothing results from it. Two minutes later Zabotti makes a fine save from a fierce shot by a Winchester forward.

After several minutes of general play In midfield, Smart goes down after a heavy challenge by a defender 10yds inside Winchester’s half, but the ref and linesman give nothing.

Winchester attack again, on 38 mins a decent cross down our left is met by a City header, which goes 4yds wide. City win a free-kick down our right. The decent cross is headed clear, but the ball comes back in the box and a fine shot is well saved by Zabotti at his left hand goalpost.

Stoke break again but Smart gets nothing after being clearly shoved in the back.

Then on 43mins Smart chases a lovely diagonal pass over the top, his cross on the volley is met by Bunting, but the ball is well-blocked and rolls harmlessly to the keeper.

Basingstoke attack again, but the ref blows for half-time.

No changes at half-time, and we are underway again, and Stoke quickly break down the left, but the cross is well-blocked, we switch the ball inside and McKernan’s shot is pretty weak and the keeper picks it up.

Stoke on 48 minutes attack again but McKnight’s shot from 30yds although well struck is straight at the keeper and he makes the save. We then win a free-kick just outside the box. Not sure who took the free-kick, but it puts City under pressure and a defender puts it out for a corner. The ball is cleared for the moment.

Then on 53 mins Stoke double their lead, as a Basingstoke attack bounces around in the City box, and McKnight finds his second goal, the corner of the net. Winchester City 0 – 2 Basingstoke Town.

Then on 55 minutes a heavy but fair challenge by Kennedy, results in the City team surrounding the ref demanding a red card. The ref takes his time and it’s just a yellow for Charlie Kennedy. The resulting free-kick finds a City forward whose shot is well saved by Zabotti again.

This attack seems to spur City on as they attack down our right and the cross is well punched clear by our keeper. City are back on it again and another dangerous looking attack ends up a with another save by Zabotti. It’s all City now and another cross into the box, is headed clear by Wohlfiel, who takes a boot to the face. The free-kick gives us a few seconds of rest-bite.

I’m now starting to wonder where our midfield has gone as we can’t get the ball out of our half.

Then on 64 mins a City forward cuts inside down our right-hand side and his shot flies into the far corner of the net, leaving our keeper no chance. Winchester City 1 – 2 Basingstoke Town.

City attack again and win a free-kick about 25yds out. The free-kick is bent round our wall and looks destined for the net, only for Zabotti to make a full-length dive in the air and parries the ball away, the follow-up scramble ends harmless as Zabotti dives on the ball. That was a world class save and keeps us ahead for the moment.

We can’t keep the ball once we get over the halfway line and it seems we don’t want this game. We then on 71 mins make our first change as Batchelor comes on for Collier.

72 minutes in and Bunting makes a heavy but fair challenge in front of our dugout, the ref correctly gives City just the throw. City are attacking again, and ball is hoofed away by Bayliss.

On 74 mins we finally get an attack, but the ball bounces around their box, but no-one wants to make a challenge and City easily clear.

City then win another free-kick down our right. The kick finds a City head and it’s all square 2 – 2.

Smart wins a corner down the right, but this is easily cleared and City break again

Just one team in it now and it isn’t Stoke. That’s confirmed as five minutes later City find another goal, as no-one seems to want mark or challenge anyone as they play the ball around us and the City forward finishes comfortably.

Stoke make their 2nd substitution as Macaulay comes on for Jordan Goater.

City are now running down the clock in our half and the ref tells everyone in the crowd near him, that’s there’s 3 minutes left.

Somehow, we are now in the 4th minute of added time and we break and win a corner down our right. The cross to the far post is met by a free header by Callum Bunting who finds the net and it’s 3 – 3. As City take the restart, the ref blows for full-time and we are off to penalties.

City’s first penalty is saved. As normal I turn my back on the goal for our penalties and I see Bunting’s kick fly past me and out of the ground. City hit the post with their second. This is followed by Smart’s attempt, which flies even higher past me and out the ground. City score and McKnight, makes it 1-1. City score again, but Bayliss I’m confirmed buries his penalty (2-2). City score again, but Kennedy ties it up. It’s now sudden death and City make it 4 -3, but Macaulay slots his home to make it 4-4. City yet again find the net and Demuria’s penalty is pushed over the bar and we lose 5-4 on penalties and our cup run as Hampshire Cup winners is over.

Final Thoughts as me and my companions trudge back to the car are, we disappeared again in midfield and once under pressure, we seem to wilt and drop deeper and deeper in our half.

Fairly shocking performance all-round tonight and we deserve to go out.

Not looking forward to what may happen at Hereford Saturday.

Match-Report by Martin French..