Basingstoke vs. Hitchin

Basingstoke 1 - 1 Hitchin
22 Apr 2017 - 15:00The Ark Cancer Charity Stadium ?RG22 6EZ

Match Preview

Match Report

BY NICK WILSON

Basingstoke close out the 2016/17 league season with a home match at the Ark Cancer Charity Stadium against a side hoping to earn promotion in Hitchin Town. Hitchin have already mathematically secured a playoff place for the end of the season for the second year in a row and will be hoping to improve on last year where they were beaten in the semi finals by eventual winners Hungerford Town. Saturday’s visitors currently lie in fourth place, with 85 points from 45 games, five points clear of sixth place Banbury. Basingstoke, meanwhile, secured a top half finish with the 1-1 draw at Dorchester on Easter Monday and a victory at the weekend could see them finish the season in 11th place. 

The previous match between the two sides took place at Hitchin’s Top Field in September and resulted in a 1-0 defeat for Basingstoke due to a late goal from Brett Donnelly as Basingstoke suffered a tough start to the season. It will be the first time we’ve hosted the Canaries in a league match for thirteen years, since a surprise 3-2 defeat in April 2004.

Basingstoke enter the game on a run of five matches unbeaten, with three wins and two draws. Hitchin, meanwhile, have failed to register a victory in their last five Southern League Premier matches, drawing four times against Leamington, Dorchester Town, Banbury United and Biggleswade Town while tasting defeat against champions Chippenham Town. Basingstoke will be looking to continue that run and end Hitchin’s hopes of a home tie in the semi finals of the playoffs.

Joe Gater will return to contention after serving the second and final match of his suspension from being sent off at Redditch while Mark Hastings is still out as he looks to regain fitness following a bout of illness. 

BY NICK WILSON

Basingstoke and Hitchin closed out the season by sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw in front of the largest crowd of the season, in what could possibly be the last match played at Basingstoke’s Camrose ground. 
 
Momentum ebbed and flowed in an entertaining first half, Hitchin’s best chance came from a Ben Walster free kick. With the hosts set up to defend a cross, Walster sneaked a shot towards the near post, but Alex Tokarczyk got across to keep it out while Liam Brooks fired a hopeful effort just over the bar from range. For Basingstoke, Nana Owusu stung the palms of Michael Johnson while Aaron Redford was desperately unlucky to see a sharp volley on the turn hit a post and bounce across the line. Matt Partridge also had a volleyed effort from twelve yards but his effort was cleared off the line and Aaron Jarvis hesitated when through on goal, allowing Johnson to come up with a save.
 
The breakthrough finally came five minutes before half time for the hosts through top scorer Aaron Jarvis. Receiving the ball with his back to goal, Jarvis took it on his chest before swivelling to volley a shot into the net, despite a strong hand from Johnson for his 17th goal of the season. At the half drew to an end, Redford tried his luck again but his low strike bounced just wide.
 
HALF TIME: 1-0
 
Hitchin snatched an equaliser on 58 minutes. A cross was played in from deep on the right and Matt Lench got up well to loop a header over the Basingstoke keeper and into the far corner. After that both sides looked too go on and win the game, Jarvis headed wide from close range before a clever pass from Redford freed him to square towards Ash Artwell but the winger was inches away from turning in the low cross.
 
Jay Dowie had a great chance for the Canaries as a cross found it’s way through to him on the edge of the box but Joe Gater came up with a crucial block to keep the game level.There was drama late on as Artwell appeared to have been fouled on the edge of the box, but the referee waved away the furious penalty appeals as the game ended level.
 
FULL TIME: 1-1