Manager Phil Babb named an unchanged team for the third consecutive game as United looked to continue their 100% start to the fledgling Vanarama Conference South season at the Soccer AM Stadium, otherwise known as The Camrose.
‘Keeper Calum Kitscha was called into action as early as the first minute to parry a shot from one of no less than seven former Hayes & Yeading (and Hayes FC) players in the shape of Manny Williams, who was playing in a midfield role against one of his many former clubs.
Play settled down with little action in the main areas until the 10th minute, when a good ball in from Gary MacDonald found Dan Wishart in space, his throughball was taken on my Frankie Merrifield – however, his shot was blocked well by Stuart Moore in the Basingstoke goal. Merrifield was also in the action seven minutes later when he latched onto a throughball from Adam Everitt, but his final shot was over the bar, not troubling the ‘keeper.
The match started to settle down in the same fashion as the first two games, but with the resolute Basingstoke defence in place, opportunities were not forthcoming.
It was then against the run of play that Basingstoke took the lead. A corner was put in to the crowded area by Tom Bird, and with Calum Kitscha being forcibly held away from the ball, an unmarked Manny Williams was on hand to head in at the far post. United’s protests were firmly waved away, and the goal stood.
Basingstoke then continued with the pressure, with Liam Enver-Marum hitting a powerful shot against the base of the post, straight to a fortunate Simon Dunn who made no mistake in putting the ball into the net for Basingstoke’s second goal in the 42nd minute. The score remained unchanged at half-time.
The second half started with United looking to get themselves back in to the match, but again it was Basingstoke that came closest to scoring – Enver-Marum again managed to get clear of the United rear-guard, but could only hit his shot at Kitscha who parried the ball away to safety.
Phil Babb then brought debutant Joe Anyinsah on for his United debut, replacing Pat Cox. However, the game continued in the same fashion, with the better chances coming from the home side. The 65th minute saw a good cross from Bird cause trouble in the United box, with Matt Ruby managing to force the ball out of play.
Rhys Murrell-Williamson was then brought in to the fray by United, and then the best spell of the game for United started. Bird was finally given a challenge, with a true winger with pace to test him, and several good moves came as a result, most notably towards the end of the match when he beat Bird to the line, put in an excellent cross, only for Anyinsah to blaze the ball over.
Despite frequent delays for blatant time wasting, the referee decreed that there should only be 3 minutes of added time, and possibly the best chance of the game came right at the end of that period - Murrell–Williamson again beat Bird down the right, crossing in to the centre, where Anyinsah missed his kick, and ‘emergency striker’ Dean Inman blasted the ball high and wide.
Report by Andy Corbett.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Matt Ruby.