Match Data 2004/2005
Havant & Waterlooville 5
Shaun Wilkinson (Howe, 74)
Gavin Holligan (Town, 57)
Brett Poate (Blake, 82)
Jason Bristow (Parrington, 70)
Jamie McClurg (Sumner, 57)
Neville Roach (Stephens, 77)
Ian Baird said in the News tonight that his pre-match talk lasted just two minutes at Westleigh Park yesterday. His very public disgust with the Hawks performance at Weymouth on Saturday said everything the new manager wanted to say, and his side responded in spades. Not that it looked like that would be the case as the game got underway.
Several changes to the side from Saturday meant that Gavin Holligan started after his influential second half display, and Jason Chewins returned from injury and also to his favoured left back position. With Neil Sharp still injured a very vocal Jamie Campbell started in defence alongside Tom Jordan, and proverbial black sheep Shaun Wilkinson started an impressive comeback that has already started to melt the frosty reception most fans have shown him.
Holligan spun a shot wide of the post in the opening minute, but it was from their first attack that Basingstoke quickly took the lead. Errors down the spine of the Hawks side allowed Neville Roach to stroll through the defence with ease, and roll a careful shot past oncoming Gareth Howells.
One down with less than two minutes on the clock the assembled support heaved a collective sigh, but it didn’t take long for the Hawks to assert a chokehold on the game. Pethick tried with a 30 yarder spilled by Scott Tarr after the restart, and he followed with a cross for Brett Poate who dropped a neat header toward the back post that Tarr could only flap wide.
A superb midfield ball forward from Wilkinson sent Holligan away, and his run took him wide for a square ball back across the goal to where Michael Gordon blasted an effort over an open goal.
But the team were pulling together, passing of a calibre not witnessed for seasons allowed the Hawks not only to keep possession, but outplay their opponents with noticeable class. 23 minutes in Gordon’s characteristic footwork took him past two defenders before he slot the ball through to Poate for a brilliant curve ball that beat Tarr and spiralled into the goal.
Basingstoke rose to the challenge and started to close down the Hawks at every turn. Space on the pitch was at a premium as the passing from the hosts got trickier and trickier, but the possession remained and 32 minutes in Holdsworth’s well timed pass lead to a magnificent Holligan shot that slammed home and sent the striker’s elated figure skidding across the wet pitch in joy.
Havant and Waterlooville 2
Basingstoke Town 1
While the visitors sought to present problems when they could, the on fire Hawks came back for the second half and controlled the game almost completely. Campbell’s barking in defence kept the midfield well aware and Jordan’s tackling prevented the usually rampant form of Sergio Torres from managing anything. Chewins and Pethick strode up and down the wing with the authority of two seasoned professionals while Poate and Champion in the midfield put on performances that would have seemed impossible after recent weeks. Gordon tied defenders in knots over and over and Wilkinson showed passion, energy and precision that brought back memories of his two excellent loan spells with the Hawks in years gone by.
Holligan fired over when fed by Holdsworth as the half got underway and Jordan cut short a forward run from Roach. A string of one touch passes saw the ball flick from Chewins to Holdsworth, to Poate and then Holligan for a driven shot that Tarr could only again scramble round the post. David Ray did manage to test Howells on the hour with a chance 25 yard effort that was pushed over the bar, but the barrage that was to follow destroyed the visitors completely.
It started when Poate’s short corner was knocked down by Jordan and flicked in by Holdsworth. The offside flag went up, but the Hawks took possession again from the free kick and Holdsworth was there again, looking for an angle before substitute Dave Town raced in to lift the ball off his feet and wallop it past Tarr. 3-1.
Minutes later Gordon ran at the defence with the ball and his step overs took him through yet again for a square ball to Holdsworth, arriving on the edge of the six yard box. A swift side footed effort and the ball slipped under Tarr for another excellent goal. 4-1.
It was another inch perfect through ball from Holdsworth that set up the fifth, his anticipation to release at exactly the right moment as Poate ran through to pick up and send a shot into Tarr. The keeper got a hand to the ball but couldn’t secure it and it dropped wide for the oncoming Poate to reclaim and prod into an open goal. 5-1.
It was astonishing stuff. Not long afterwards Holdsworth beat Tarr but Liam Parrington managed to clear the ball away as it head for the net. Basingstoke made some attempt to get back into the game with weak chances for Argentinean duo Torres and Cristian Levis in the final ten minutes, but by then the match was well over. When the whistle blew the Hawks had every reason to celebrate their first league victory in almost two months, with the incredible promise of so much more to come.