BY NICK WILSON
Saturday sees a return home for Basingstoke in the first weekend home match since Banbury were beaten 3-1 over a month ago. Biggleswade Town are the visitors tomorrow, in what is also the first match back at the Camrose since the announcement that we will be staying for the remainder of the season.
It is a match between the sides currently placed 15th and 16th in the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier, with Basingstoke one place above their opponents. The clubs are separated just by goal difference, although Biggleswade have played one match fewer.
Basingstoke will be looking to kick on from their last two matches. Last weekend saw a late Ben Wright penalty snatch a point at Kings Langley after a dominant performance, the first away point in six league matches, before the midweek Bigfreebet Cup tie saw unbeaten Division 1 East leaders Moneyfields comprehensively beaten by a scoreline of 4-1. Biggleswade however are looking to arrest a poor run of form, eight defeats in ten league matches and no wins since the last day of September.
Last season saw Basingstoke claim four points from the Waders as a goalless draw in Bedfordshire was followed by a 2-1 win at home. Ashleigh Artwell and Aaron Jarvis on target at the Camrose. Basingstoke will be hoping their goal threat is enough to secure the three points, having scored twice as many goals as Biggleswade this season in the league, despite the close proximity of the teams in the table.
Sam Deadfield, Dan Bayliss and Artwell remain sidelined but Marcus Johnson-Schuster and Jack McKnight are available after making their returns in midweek from suspension and injury respectively. Callum Bunting is also pushing for a start after a second League Cup hat-trick in as many games.
BY MACAULAY DALEY
Basingstoke continued their excellent home form with a comfortable 2-0 win over Biggleswade Town in the Southern Premier League.
‘Stoke haven’t lost at The Camrose in any competition for three months and goals from Sam Smart and Callum Bunting ensured that run continued.
The home side dominated throughout the match and the game started at a frantic pace. Both Ben Wright and Bunting forced Liam Gooch into three saves within the first ten minutes.
However, in the 11th minute the ‘keeper went from hero to zero with an absolute howler. Looking as if he would easily collect a header back to him from his defender, he dropped the ball and it was gobbled up by Smart, who gleefully rolled the ball into an empty net.
The lead was nearly doubled moments later with Sam Argent releasing Wright who was forced wide by Gooch, but neither he nor Smart could convert the ball as Biggleswade got plenty of players back.
Wright had the opportunity to double the lead on the stroke of half-time, but his shot from inside the area was blocked by Tyler Walker, following good work on the right from Smart.
It took just seven minutes into the second half for Basingstoke to double their lead. Smart’s flick found Bunting who, with his back to goal, took a touch before volleying into the bottom right hand corner.
Biggleswade had just one shot on target in the match and it fell to their brightest player, Greg Kazinobi, but his long-range effort was gathered with ease by Colm McAdden.
Gooch was almost embarrassed for a second time when he spilled Wright’s strike from the edge of the area, but recovered well to stop Bunting doubling his tally as he closed in.
The away stopper was called into action again shortly after, again denying Bunting, as his fierce effort was tipped over the crossbar.
Sam Deadfield made his return from injury as a late substitute and nearly added gloss to the victory, but he dragged his shot wide of the left-hand post.
Basingstoke Team: Colm McAdden; Marcus Johnson-Schuster, Shane Hollamby, Guri Demuria, George Bennett (Tim Wolhfiel); Dan Collier, Charlie Kennedy; Sam Smart, Ben Wright (Sam Deadfield), Sam Argent; Callum Bunting. Subs not used: Giordano Zabotti, Leslie Sackey, Jordan Goater.
Biggleswade Team: Liam Gooch; Tyler Walker, Reece Fielding, Gavin Hoyte, Lucas Perry; Connor Hall, Robbie Parker, Greg Kaziboni (Shane Hill), Liam Brooks, Nathan Hicks (Jordan Patrick); Jack Bowen (Tony Burnett). Subs not used: