By Nick Wilson
Basingstoke comfortably saw off Ryman Premier League side Staines Town by a scoreline of four goals to one, securing their passage into the second qualifying round of the FA Trophy.
Staines kept possession while looking to build from the back in the opening stages and Basingstoke tried to exploit their opponents high defensive line with some quick balls in behind. The result though was a game of few chances in the early exchanges although Aaron Jarvis was inches away from getting a touch on a Sam Deadfield corner just six minutes in but the next time Basingstoke threatened, Staines weren’t so lucky. A storming run down the left from Rob Atkinson left the defender in space on the left hand side of the box and he squared to Richie Whittingham who smashed the ball home, via a deflection and a touch from goalkeeper Jack Turner, to give Basingstoke the lead.
The goal opened things up a little bit and Whittingham again tested Turner, when his long range effort was pushed away by the Staines man. Staines managed to create a few chances too, Adrian Clifton dragged a shot wide when well placed and Max Worsfold somehow lifted a chance over the bar with the goal gaping. At the other end Basingstoke punished Staines for those missed chances with a second goal on 39 minutes. Whittingham turned provider this time as his curling free kick was met with a thumping header from David Ray which was too powerful for Turner to keep out. Basingstoke headed into the break with the two goal cushion after Staines failed to take advantage of Alex Tokarczyk failing to claim a high ball on the edge of his area.
Half Time: 0-2
Basingstoke looked to kill the game off early in the second half with Whittingham and Deadfield both going close from outside the box before Aaron Redford killed the tie with an excellent third goal. Charlie Kennedy won the ball in the Staines half and timed his pass perfectly, finding Redford on the right who took one touch then unleashed a powerful strike from the edge of the box, leaving Turner with no chance as it flew into the top corner.
Staines kept working and still managed to trouble Basingstoke, the visitors were fortunate when a close range header dropped straight into the arms of the grateful Tokarczyk. At the other end though, Aaron Jarvis added his name to score sheet, finishing simply after Ray had crashed a far post header against the bar.
From then on Basingstoke were content to soak up Staines’ attacks and hit them on the break, George Hallahan coming on to do just that. Hallahan was unfortunate not to score when first he was denied when one on one with Turner before a heavy touch hampered a second attempt to run through. Jonathan Hippolyte went close for Staines before the Swans did eventually get one back, Mo Bettemer heading across Tokarczyk from a right wing corner. That was as good as it got for the hosts though as Basingstoke kept control to set up a second qualifying round tie at Dorchester Town.