Match report by Nick Wilson.
Basingstoke eased their way into the 2nd qualifying round of the FA Cup at the expense of Wessex League Premier side Bemerton. The visitors, who had already survived two rounds to make it this far, never offered much threat and Alex Tokarczyk was a virtual spectator for much of the game.
Basingstoke started on the front foot, looking to bounce back from a defeat on Monday to Frome and forced the game’s first corner after just a couple of minutes. It was from this corner that the opening goal eventually came. Matt Partridge thundered a header against a post and the ball was only half cleared to George Bennett. Bennett weaved his way between two Bemerton defenders on the left before poking the ball across the face of goal. A deflection took it onto the post but Partridge was on hand to slam home from close range and give Basingstoke the perfect start.
Basingstoke kept control from that point and, although Bemerton tried to keep possession, they were unable to threaten while doing so. Basingstoke’s second goal arrived via he head of George Hallahan after a quarter of an hour. Good hold up play from Aaron Jarvis allowed him to release Marcus Johnson-Schuster on the right hand side. Johnson-Schuster managed to dig out a cross to the far post where Hallahan was waiting to bury a header from close range.
Basingstoke had a cushion now and looked comfortable. Aaron Jarvis was unfortunate not to score when first his low shot was saved by Max Frampton, before he turned a low cross just over the bar. The continued pressure eventually told as Hallahan doubled his tally for the afternoon on 36 minutes. Collecting the ball in the left hand channel, he shifted it onto his right foot and powered a low strike from 25 yards that skipped up off the turf to beat Frampton. Basingstoke went into the half time break with the three goal cushion, the only downside being an early injury to left Tamille Roach who looked to injure his hamstring chasing a ball down.
Half Time: 3-0
The second half followed the same pattern as the first, Basingstoke well in control. Two goals were disallowed, firstly a sweet volley by Robert Atkinson before George Hallahan neatly slotted into the corner. Both players were left disappointed with the assistant’s flag raised. Hallahan did eventually complete his hat trick when he brought down a long ball on the left and drove inside before firing the ball low past Frampton to make it four.
The game began to fizzle out in the last 10 minutes, with the game comfortably won for Basingstoke and both sides struggling to control the ball in torrential conditions. The only chance for Bemerton fell to central defender Costello who forced a fine reaction save from Tokarcyzk following a corner. The Basingstoke keeper reacting brilliantly to tip the goal bound header onto the bar. Basingstoke saw out the rest of the game in relative ease to secure their place in the next round.