Match Data 2004/2005
Basingstoke Town 3
Gareth Howells (Peyton, 46)
Geoff Pitcher (Howe, 7)
James Taylor (Poate, 78)
Holdsworth (pen, 16)
Havant and Waterlooville came within seconds of spoiling Basingstoke Town’s flawless home record tonight, but were denied a draw two minutes into injury time by a ranged shot from Jason Bristow that defeated sub keeper Emmet Peyton.
Neville Roach gave the hosts an early lead at the Camrose, cancelled out in the 16th minute when Dean Holdsworth fired home his second penalty in two games. Dave Town put the visitors ahead in the 35th minute, but Basingstoke drew level again from a Cristian Levis free kick just two minutes later. Both sides battled through a tense and well-matched second half before Basingstoke’s winner at the death.
Hawks ambitions took a blow as early as the seventh minute when Geoff Pitcher was forced limping off the pitch after a collision. Bobby Howe replaced him to start a midfield partnership with Neil Champion while manager Dave Leworthy kept Dean Blake and Jason Chewins on the wings. The quartet was sandwiched by the same three man front and rear lines that finished at Thurrock at the weekend.
Matters got even worse two minutes after that when Neville Roach was allowed free reign in the Hawks defence to pick up a low cross from the left and smash a shot past Gareth Howells.
A bullish challenge from Neville Stamp in the 15th minute though allowed the Hawks to quickly equalise. James Taylor fed Howe as he dashed into the box and as the midfielder looked to shoot Stamp took his legs from under him with a reckless charge. Calm and collected, Dean Holdsworth dispatched the spot kick to end Basingstoke’s four home match run of clean sheets.
Chewins tested goalkeeper Scott Tarr again moments later after Taylor crossed a long free kick from Neil Sharp, but despite spilling the ball, Tarr had time to recover. It didn’t stop there though as the Hawks enjoyed a long period of pressure brought about through swift passing and clever wing play.
Tarr was caught well off his line in the 26th minute, and was forced to rush toward Holdsworth in a bid to stop the striker releasing a shot. Dean carefully angled a chip over the oncoming keeper and watched as the ball steadily rolled toward an open goal. As it touched the line though Bristow skidded in, and amid cries that the ball had crossed, hooked it away.
It wasn’t long though before the Hawks took the lead through a superbly executed corner. Blake lofted the ball across the goal to Taylor standing behind the far post, and his gentle angled header fell perfectly for Town to volley a shot through two defenders and in from eight yards.
The lead lasted a scant two minutes though. Basingstoke’s pace and accuracy were easily justifying their position in the table’s top three, with rapid switches from wing to wing allowing them to use every inch of available space. It was from a free kick though that their second goal came, a thunderbolt of a shot from Cristian Levis that screamed past the edge of the Hawks wall and out of reach of Howells’s dive.
The game was a physical affair. Not bad natured, but punctuated with hard tackles that kept players on both sides down for lengthy periods. Having already lost Pitcher, the Hawks would also lose Howells at half time after a 42nd minute collision with Roach. This gave recent attachment Emmet Peyton his first team debut, although ten minutes in he himself was down for a considerable length of time after another heavy Basingstoke challenge. That though didn’t stop him making a dramatic double save just past the hour to deny Roach.
The game continued at speed with the hosts gradually edging ahead in terms of possession. Lightning quick to attack, they were held at bay by an admirable performance from the Hawks back three. The visitors meanwhile looked to other options to retake the lead, but long range efforts from Champion and Chewins both came to nothing. Howe did better by forcing a save when he picked up a through ball only to see Tarr spill again, but no white shirts were forward far enough to capitalise.
The match looked drawn as injury time approached, neither side able to put the icing on enthusiastic performances. The number of chances at both ends kept the eventual outcome a guessing game, but no one would have risked money on Basingstoke eventually snatching it in the 92nd minute. The hosts were continuing to switch wings with frightening rapidity, and always central to the action was Sergio Torres who picked up one such cross and laid it back to Bristow who had all the space he needed to launch a low shot that skimmed across the box and in before Peyton could reach it.