BY NICK WILSON
Basingstoke did just enough to see themselves through to the quarter finals of the Hampshire Senior Cup, despite not playing their best game against Wessex League Premier side, Cowes Sports.
Basingstoke set up with an experimental side and adopted a 3-4-3 formation, with Michael Atkinson and George Bennett as wing backs and Rob Atkinson in the centre of midfield. Harrison Shade also came into the side for his second appearance of the season.
It was a positive start for Basingstoke who looked to utilise the pace of Aaron Redford and George Hallahan to get in behind the Cowes defence. Aaron Redford was particularly dangerous early on and won his side a penalty after just seven minutes. His spot kick was saved but Aaron Jarvis was first to the rebound and slammed it home from a tight angle, despite a deflection, to give Basingstoke an early lead.
Basingstoke struggled to create more in the first half, often trying long balls in behind but not managing to find their target. At the other end Cowes had a couple of great chances to equalise but a free header was weakly directed right at Kieran Greene before Jason Malcolmson flashed a shot inches wide of the post.
HALF TIME: 1-0
Basingstoke came out and were marginally better in the second half and if it wasn’t for some wayward finishing, could have had a couple more goals. Aaron Redford and George Hallahan both hadchances but shot off target while at the other end, an awkward clearance from Joe Gater in the penalty area almost caused problems but the ball was eventually cleared away.
Jalen Gravesande came on for his debut and showed well in the last half an hour at right back, looking to get forward and make things happen for the hosts.
In the end though neither side could find the net again and Basingstoke held on to their slim advantage to book a place in the quarter finals for the second consecutive year.
FULL TIME: 1-0
Basingstoke team: Greene; Hastings, Gater, Shade; M Atkinson, R Atkinson, Whittingham, Bennett; Hallahan, Jarvis, Redford. Subs: McKernan, Jones, Batchelor, Gravesande, Black.
Cowes team: Hatt; Ince, Insley, Bryan, Malcolmson; McArthur, Dye, Wykes, Treagus, Malin; Browne. Subs: Heard, Bunday, Vyse