Match Data 2006/2007
Basingstoke Town 2
Shaun Wilkinson (Louis, 69)
Justyn McKay (Levis, 81)
The Hawks sunk to a season low at Basingstoke’s Camrose ground this afternoon, going down 2-1 to the league’s bottom side in a dismal match that saw James Taylor net twice against his former side. A bright start belayed the horror to come and the visitors gave debuts to Rushden and Diamonds loan signing Ben Sedgemore and yesterday’s acquisition from Weymouth, Shaun Wilkinson, then going ahead on the half hour when Richard Pacquette turned the ball past Basingstoke keeper Ashlee Jones.
Five minutes from the break the hosts were reduced to ten men when Joe Harris was controversially sent off for a late tackle on Justin Gregory, but with the second half odds stacked in their favour, the Hawks yielded the game to goals from Taylor in the 53rd and 89th minutes, giving Basingstoke their first home win of the season.
Sedgemore and Wilkinson took up residence in the centre of midfield, with Brett Poate and Tony Taggart either side. Luke Byles and Tom Jordan made up the heart of the defence, with Gregory on the left and Michael Warner on the right. At the front Rocky Baptiste returned from suspension alongside Richard Paquette.
With the Hawks having scored the least number of goals away from home of any team in the league, and Basingstoke the least at home, the match had 0-0 written all over it, but neither statistic prevented the sides from coming forward in the opening minutes.
Infact when Taylor hit the post just ten minutes in, it looked as though the bottom placed hosts might take an unlikely lead against their guests, but with the luck of the free kicks going their way, the promotion chasers took their share of the chances too.
When Sedgemore picked up the ball on the right wing, his cross picked out Baptiste for a knock down, but Joe Bruce’s sliding clearance denied Pacquette a well placed shot.
Matt Warner’s free kick was then head away by Jordan and the Hawks broke, leading to a free kick on the half way line that spun in the wind and dropped for Pacquette, who effortlessly guided the ball past Bruce on the edge of the box before struggling a slow motion shot into the bottom corner.
Taggart managed to turn inside his marker and send a shot straight at Jones after Wilkinson’s ball sent him away on the wing, but the game held up five minutes from the break when a surprising decision saw Joe Harris dismissed after a late tackle on Gregory. Then while Basingstoke manager Francis Vines’ berating of Gregory went unchecked, Jordan gained a yellow card for his own protests.
The hosts worked a couple of corners in the aftermath, and Matt Warner’s deliveries were made difficult to deal with in the whipping wind. Before the break Steve Dell was booked after the hardworking Gregory was sent flying again.
Basingstoke Town 0
Havant and Waterlooville 1
Both teams struggled in the wind at the start of the second half, but Matt Warner took marvellous advantage of it 53 minutes in when his breakaway run on the left ended with a cross that curled ahead of the Hawks defence and bent back neatly for Taylor to slam home a volley at the back post.
Shortly afterwards Wilkinson had a chance to restore the lead when Taggart crossed to him on the penalty spot, but the ball fell slightly behind and caught in his legs, with his awkward shot going over the bar.
Spurred on by the goal the hosts came forward again, and Justyn McKay’s looping overhead effort would have looked like a brilliant piece of opportunism if it hadn’t dropped wide of the Hawks’ goal.
But Basingstoke’s impetus waned and the game fizzled out with the Hawks taking the lion’s share of the possession, but not really seeming to know what to do with it. Manager Ian Baird opted to retire Wilkinson in the 69th minute and brought on Jefferson Louis instead, creating a familiar ‘last twenty’ 4-3-3 approach that never seems to benefit the side.
Poate’s free kick ten minutes from time curled nicely for Baptiste in the six yard box, but the striker scuffed his shot and the ball rolled gently to Jones.
Having already lashed out verbally at Gregory and the referee as the players came off at half time, the Basingstoke fans were further outraged in the 85th minute when Gregory went in late on Dell with a crunching tackle, but gained only a yellow card for an offence that looked no different to the one that saw Harris walk earlier.
Despite the incidents, the game had become a forgettable affair illustrated by a surprisingly awkward and lacklustre Hawks performance, but both sides looked good for a draw until Taylor’s 89th minute reprisal put all thoughts of complaint far from the minds of the hosts.
Cristian Levis’s breaking run ended with a tackle from Jordan as the substitute made his way into the Hawks’ box, but the ball spun lose for Taylor to latch onto and do what he does best, beat the keeper from close range before wheeling away to celebrate.