Individual errors prove costly
By Ken Brazier
Basingstoke Town 2 Enfield Town 1
Town’s miserable run in the FA Trophy (one 3rd qualifying round appearance in 13 years) continued at a sodden Basingstoke Town on Saturday.
There were two changes from the Haringey match starting line-up; Ryan Blackman came in for Sam Chaney following the completion of his suspension, while Dan Rumens’ one-match ban meant a start for Rian McLean. Following a ceremony to mark the end of the First World War a hundred years ago, Town began with the wind behind them in the first half, with the rain varying from light to heavy throughout.
A fourth minute effort from Sam Smart, Basingstoke’s outstanding performer on the day, had Joe Wright at full stretch. Shortly afterwards a run down the left by the same player ended with another save by Wright after the youngster’s ball into the box was deflected and had then hit Remi Sutton to cause a moment of concern.
Town took the lead in style when a good cross from Aaron Greene was converted by Lewis Taaffe’s well-directed header past home keeper Colm McAdden’s left hand. In response, Ben Wright fed Sam Argent for the Dragons, but his effort was deflected over the top. After the hosts had wasted a free kick from a promising central position, Wright had to be alert again when Smart’s angled drive produced a good tip over the bar from Town’s number one. As the rain eased slightly, Sam Youngs’ effort from distance had sailed way over, but Town were enjoying some good spells of possession, admittedly without creating too much in the way of clear cut chances.
On 35 minutes a fine cross from Greene was deflected significantly by a home defender and McAdden produced a flying save to replicate Wright’s earlier acrobatics. After 38 minutes, Billy Bricknell had the ball in the net but from a clearly offside position. A corner from Ben Wright was nodded onto the roof of the Enfield net by Charlie Kennedy, and then Joe Wright was quickly off his line to thwart Sam Deadfield. As the half drew to a close, there were no signs of the twists to come.
Half-time: Basingstoke Town 0 Enfield Town 1
A Matt Johnson drive was saved by McAdden as the second period got underway before, after 53 minutes a low cross from Taaffe landed at the feet of Bricknell, but as he tried to dig it out from slightly behind him, the chance was gone. Sam Smart had switched wings at half time, and continued to put in a man-of-the-match performance. Just beyond the hour mark he had an audacious attempt with the outside of his right foot which had Wright scrambling while, at the opposite end, Bricknell cut inside for a shot which was well blocked.
In the 65th minute, Argent skewed an effort wide, before disaster struck from a Town perspective a minute later. Smart’s angled cross cum-shot appeared to be safely gathered low down by Wright, but somehow the ball squirmed out of his grasp and over the line. Visibly buoyed by this opening back into the game from the most unexpected of sources, ‘stoke set about building some momentum. But there was still very little in it; sub Mickey Parcell bore down on goal but his first touch was heavy and McAdden was able to slide the ball out at a crucial moment.
At this point a replay looked safely in the bag, until in added time an unfortunate loose pass from Johnson allowed Smart to run through and weave his way into a shooting position, from where he made no mistake. It could have been even worse for the visitors when, from another breakaway, Smart accelerated away from Sam Hatton but Wright was on hand to avert the danger.
This defeat was a particularly bitter pill to swallow as, after missing a handful of presentable chances, the two goal damage was largely self-inflicted without even a replay to show for the effort put in. Town have a chance to get back into the saddle quickly with the visit of Worthing on Tuesday.
Basingstoke Town: Colm McAdden, Dean Stow, Robert Gerrard, Charlie Kennedy, Shane Hollamby, Dan Bayliss, Sam Smart, Jack McKnight, Sam Argent, Sam Deadfield, Ben Wright (George Bennett 81). Unused subs: Harry Philby, Dan Collier, Zidane Akers, Cameron Kennedy. Booked: Charlie Kennedy.
Enfield Town: Joe Wright, Sam Hatton, Remi Sutton, Matt Johnson, Taofiq Olomowewe, Rian McLean, Lewis Taaffe, Ryan Blackman, Billy Bricknell (Liam Hope 88), Sam Youngs (Sam Chaney 82), Aaron Greene (Mickey Parcell 76). Unused subs: Bilal Sayoud, Brandon Adams. Booked: Taaffe.