Match Report by Nick Wilson.
Basingstoke claimed their first point of the season with a hard fought draw away to Stratford Town on Saturday. Terry Brown made 4 changes from the previous match and set his team up to play 4-4-2.
The first chances of the game went to Stratford who had a couple of long range attempts before Basingstoke’s Matt Partridge slid in to connect with a Tamile Roache cross, only to be denied by Niall Cooper in the Stratford goal. Stratford drew first blood after fifteen minutes through Guy Clark, stabbing home from close range after a free kick fell to Richard Gregory. Gregory’s shot was deflected to the Stratford defender in space who finished from 6 yards out. The away side were much improved from their midweek defeat at Merthyr, keeping the ball better and looking threatening, particularly down the left where Roache and Ashley Artwell were constant thorns in the side of the Stratford defence. Basingstoke were given a golden chance to equalise on the stroke of half time when they were given a penalty for a foul in a crowded penalty area. George Bennett stepped up but saw his penalty well saved by Niall Cooper, diving to his right to push the kick away.
Half Time: 1-0
Both sides were unchanged to start the second half and Basingstoke found their equaliser ten minutes in. A deep cross was dropped by Cooper and Matt Partridge squared to George Hallahan who finished coolly. The equaliser gave Basingstoke a big lift and they began to put Stratford under pressure in search of a second goal. Hallahan saw a stinging volley brilliantly saved by Cooper and Aaron Jarvis couldn’t get a clean enough contact after doing well to bring down a dropping ball. Partridge and Bennett started to control the midfield and Artwell continued to threaten, using his pace to take on Stratford full back Warren Brooks. Stratford replied through substitute Edwin Ahenkorah, diverting a scuffed shot over the bar and as the game approached its conclusion, Kieren Westwood curled a shot wide. Basingstoke kept going and had one last chance with a free kick after Sam Deadfield was fouled outside the area. Deadfield took it but curled the ball just over the bar and the referees whistle ensured the two sides shared the spoils.