Match Preview – by Nick Wilson
Basingstoke conclude the 2016/17 season next Tuesday with a Hampshire Senior Cup final at Southampton’s St. Mary’s Stadium with the youngsters of Premier League side AFC Bournemouth standing between them and a trophy to end the season with. The Dorset club, eligible for the competition due to their proximity to Hampshire and formerly being a part of the county, are hoping to win the competition for a fourth time and just the second since 1959 while Basingstoke are bidding to become the sixth team to collect the trophy seven times. The match will be a repeat of the 1989 final which Bournemouth won 2-1.
Like Basingstoke, Bournemouth began their campaign in the second round of the competition, beating Wessex League Premier side 2-0 and moving on to a meeting with a team in the same league in Bashley. A 4-0 victory saw them into the quarter finals where Gosport Borough were handily dispatched 6-0 and a tight semi final against Hartley Wintney eventually saw them through to the final by virtue of a single goal under new manager Mark Molesley.
Basingstoke are looking to extend a Hampshire Cup run that has seen just one defeat in 90 minutes since the 2012-13 season and will want to continue a run that saw them through the last six league matches of the season unbeaten. Bournemouth go into the game sitting top of the South East division of the Central League and are riding the crest of a wave following a formidable run of form that has seen five consecutive wins with 14 goals scored to just one conceded by a defence that is also yet to concede a goal in the Hampshire Cup this season.
The match will present a stern test for Terry Brown’s young side who will be eager to show what they are capable of against a Premier League academy team and end the season with a trophy!
BY NICK WILSON
Basingstoke Town FC are the 2016/17 Hampshire Saturday Senior Cup Champions via a 6-7 win on penalties!
In the season finale at St Mary’s Stadium, Basingstoke took on AFC Bournemouth and despite the game going to a penalty shootout, triumphed in front of a crowd of just over 1,500 to take home the 2016/17 Hampshire Senior Cup.
Terry Brown set out his side in preparation to spend much of the game without the ball and Basingstoke did a good job of keeping the Premier League youngsters at bay in the first half. Bournemouth looked comfortable and confident on the ball from back to front, keeping it on the ground and looking to build from the back with tempo. It was a different challenge to the ones Basingstoke were accustomed to facing week to week in the league but they handled it well, keeping their shape and not allowing Bournemouth anything more than a few long range efforts. Midfielder Jake McCarthy went closest with a strike that clipped the top of the crossbar.
At the other end Basingstoke looked very dangerous on the counter and created plenty of chances in what was an excellent first half performance. The was in the Bournemouth net as early as the first minute as Callum Stanton fumbled a high cross behind the line but was saved by the assistant ruling the ball had gone out of play before curling back in.
Basingstoke settled into their gameplan and looked a threat out wide, George Bennett curling in a dangerous cross towards Aaron Jarvis before a second cross from the wing back found Marcus Johnson-Schuster at the far post. His volley came crashing down off the crossbar and Ashleigh Artwell couldn’t keep the rebound down.
The momentum was with Basingstoke as Nana Owusu forced an excellent save from Stanton with a long range curler while Matt Partridge headed over at the near post from Bennett’s corner. Johnson-Schuster almost burst through inside the Bournemouth box and Artwell was unfortunate not to score as the ball fell to him inside the box. On the stroke of half time though, Basingstoke had the ball in the net again but the celebrations were cut short by the assistant’s raised flag. Owusu drove a free kick from the corner of the box through the six yard area and Rob Atkinson slid in to poke home, only to see the flag as he wheeled away to celebrate and it was all square at the break.
HALF TIME: 0-0
Bournemouth looked to change the flow of the game by bringing Joe Quigley on up front to offer a more physical presence and for the majority of the second half they continued to hold possession while restricting Basingstoke to fewer chances. Bournemouth had an early free kick from the edge of the box blocked by the Basingstoke wall and Quigley fired narrowly wide from 18 yards as Bournemouth enjoyed their best period of the match.
Basingstoke again came on strongly as time ticked away, Bailey Cargill producing a timely challenge on Jarvis as the striker escaped inside the penalty area and Stanton also saving from the striker when he elected to go alone, despite substitute Sam Deadfield screaming for the ball to be squared. Deadfield himself shot just over moments later.
As stoppage time approached, Basingstoke fans and players were left appealing to the referee in vain for what they felt were two huge chances to win the game. Firstly, a left wing cross appeared to be handled at the far post by a Cherries defender before Stanton fumbled another Owusu effort, seemingly over the line. The referee however remained unconvinced and ignored both shouts as the match ended 0-0 and headed to a penalty shootout.
FULL TIME: 0-0
Basingstoke went first in the shootout, Aaron Redford dispatching the ball confidently to get things rolling. Alex Tokarczyk produced an excellent save to deny Jack Simpson while George Bennett also saw his potential match winner saved. Into sudden death and the teams kept matching each other until the fifteenth and sixteenth penalties. Charlie Kennedy clipped his into the corner before Antonio Diaz found Tokarczyk in the way again as the stopper got down to keep his penalty out and win the trophy for Basingstoke for a seventh time.
FINAL SCORE: 0-0 (6-7)