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Match Report - Basingstoke Town v Salisbury FC

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Basingstoke Town 0 Salisbury FC 2

Evo-stik South Premier South

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

By Alec Hayter

Eeeenterestink, very eeenterestink (best said in a foreign accent – try it!), and of course the comment arises because I'm looking at the league table following the 2-0 victory at the Camrose. No further explanation necessary, as points in the bag are great, but games to be played probably as relevant as the Whites go into second spot, having played two more games than Weymouth and Metropolitan Police of the chasing pack. I’ll happily take the points position – for now at least!

The win at Basingstoke was, like any win, very important, and massive in the scheme of things, and following the Dragons' superb result at Weymouth three days earlier became more so as the home side had been buoyed by their Dorset success. In the first 20 minutes the lively Sam Smart, probably their best player on the evening, cut in before seeing his finish from just outside the box blocked by Elliot Wheeler, and later, a cross from the Basingstoke left found Harry Pearse in front of goal whose effort was deflected high.

A minute or so later however, Salisbury first showed serious intent when Lewis Benson got down the right and pulled the ball back to Luke Hopper, but his attempt hardly troubled home keeper Tom McGill. Almost immediately afterwards Jack Sparkes tried his luck from the edge of the box but again McGill had an easy task. Sparkes tried again, this time tricking a defender before seeing the woodwork keep the ball out.

Something was building and on 24 minutes Bouwe Bosma had a shot blocked, the ball coming out to Tom Whelan who returned it with interest low into the corner after side-stepping a defender, to make it 1-0 to the Whites.

WHELANTom Whelan's first goal celebration - becoming a very good habit! - Copyright Michael Berkeley

Some seven minutes later Salisbury had a penalty shout for handball by Dean Stow, but had referee Jonathan Creswick blown it may have been a harsh decision, whilst at the other end the official was ideally placed to wave away another penalty appeal after a coming together between Smart and Claudio Herbert.

On 33 minutes Argent had the ball in the net but the assistant's flag ruled out the effort. As Town pushed for an equaliser before the break Stow hit a speculative 35 yarder straight at Jake Hallett, so at the interval the Whites held a slender lead, although, in truth, they had looked fairly comfortable during the first 45 minutes.

That comfort could have been increased straight after the break however when Hopper was through the defence but could only shoot weakly at McGill when he perhaps should have done better, but Salisbury continued their spell of pressure and on 50 minutes Whelan found Sommerton who, on the overlap, squared the ball to Hopper who somehow managed to find the upright when only 5 yards out.

The home side had half chances through Pearse and Argent before, just when thoughts of unrewarded pressure were surfacing, Salisbury's Aaron Dawson got a very valuable second goal on 66 minutes, having received the ball from a Hopper header before squeezing a left foot finish in through a forest of players.

GOALAaron Dawson strikes, and it's in the net for Whites' second. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

The Whites were now once more relatively in the comfort zone, but to their credit, the Dragons were in no mood to give up. On 76 minutes substitute Zidan Akers caused Hallett little bother with his right foot effort from the edge of the box but three minutes later the keeper was tested more severely by Pearse, and as we entered the usually dreadful period in Salisbury games Pearse again saw a fierce effort blocked by the Whites' defence, and they were thus able to see out the game without any last minute drama.

A good and important three points therefore, and four taken from two successive away games in very different conditions. On Saturday it was Hendon's 3G surface, but at Basingstoke it was real grass, and surprisingly plenty of it, given the weather-beating it had taken the previous few days. On Saturday the surface was quick, and on Tuesday it was less so and fairly heavy, but the Whites came through both tests and achieved a fair return.

On Saturday, there is yet another different test against Farnborough who, after only losing one game in the last ten and getting three clean sheets in their last three, have risen from their previous relatively desperate state to ninth in the league. The Whites will be hoping to complete the double over their Hampshire opponents, but will need the vocal support of their twelfth man to help them do so. Please get along to the Ray Mac on Saturday!

Teams

Basingstoke Town: McGill, Orvis, Gerrard, Stow, Kennedy (Akers 72), Wakely

(Bayliss 9), Smart, Duncan, Argent, Deadfield, Pearse.

Subs not used: Harris, Hunt, Granger.

Salisbury FC: Hallett, Herbert, Sommerton, Whelan, Wheeler, Morgan, Benson, Dawson (Mdlalose 82), Hopper (Skeen-Hamilton 77), Bosma (Mullings 86), Sparkes.

Subs not used: Fitchett, Rayfield.

Attendance: 473                   Referee: J Creswick .