BY NICK WILSON
After three league games away from home Basingstoke are back at the Camrose tomorrow to take on Redditch United. The Midlands side make the trip south after a good start to the season which sees them currently lying in 5th place, with 19 points from their 9 games so far. Basingstoke, meanwhile, are 14th with 12 points from 10 games after a tough run of games away from home put an end to a promising winning run.
The home side will be hoping home comforts are enough to bring about a return to winning ways while Redditch need a reaction after a surprising 4-1 defeat at home to fellow playoff positioned side Slough in midweek. Basingstoke go into the game hoping to build on an impressive performance on Tuesday night, despite having all three points cruelly snatched from them late on in a 3-2 defeat on the Dorset coast at Weymouth.
Previous form this season would indicate a goal filled afternoon could be ahead as teams have combined to score 21 goals in total in the last 5 matches at the Camrose while Saturday’s match pits two of the league’s best striking partnerships against each other. Sam Smart and Ben Wright have combined for 15 league goals, matched by only two other pairs in the Southern League Premier Division. One of those other pairs happens to be Redditch duo Dior Angus (9) and Spencer Weir-Daley (6). The two teams have combined for 44 goals in their 19 matches so far.
Last season Redditch snatched the points in Hampshire with a 1-0 victory just before Christmas while Matt Partridge and Aaron Jarvis were on target in the return match at the TRICO Stadium. Redditch will be without Vinny Mukendi and Kevin Monteiro while McKauley Manning is a doubt. For Basingstoke, new signing Callum Bunting will be available while Ashleigh Artwell will be hoping for a starting place after stepping up his recovery from injury with an impressive cameo from the bench in midweek at Weymouth.
BY MACAULAY DALEY
Basingstoke ended a run of three straight league defeats, with a convincing 3-0 win over Redditch United.
Ben Wright’s penalty, a screamer from Marcus Johnson-Schuster and a debut strike from Callum Bunting saw ‘Stoke move up to 11th.
The away side started the brighter and striker Dior Angus forced Colm McAddam into an early save before Spencer Weir-Daley headed over from close range.
The game was temporarily halted when referee Iain Parsons suffered a hamstring injury and with no fourth official present, the search began for a replacement.
With a member of the crowd taking to the field, the game restarted after a 15-minute delay and ‘Stoke created their first chance, but Wright’s touch from Sam Deadfield’s pass was gathered by Redditch ‘keeper Ethan Ross.
The best chance of the first-half came in time added on with Jack McKnight failing to convert Sam Smart’s cross from inside the six-yard area.
As the second-half started, Basingstoke were beginning to show their dominance, especially from set-pieces with Dan Bayliss going close twice in the space of five minutes, before Shane Hollamby hit the inside of the post with a header.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Smart’s lung bursting run was halted illegally by Gui Mailancol inside the area. Wright sent the ‘keeper the wrong way from the resulting penalty, taking his tally to eight for the season – level with Smart.
The lead was doubled just three minutes later thanks to a truly magnificent strike from captain Johnson-Schuster. The skipper picked the ball up 25 yards from goal, before unleashing an unstoppable drive into the top left corner of the net.
The score line was completed with six minutes remaining and it was a debut to remember for Bunting. On for Wright, he met Smart’s low cross before firing over Ross as Basingstoke won their fourth home league game in a row.
FULL TIME: 3-0
Basingstoke team: Colm McAdden; Marcus Johnson-Schuster (c), Shane Hollamby, Dan Bayliss, George Bennett; Michael Atkinson, Charlie Kennedy, Sam Deadfield; Sam Smart (Ashleigh Artwell), Ben Wright (Callum Bunting), Jack McKnigh. Subs not used: Tim Wohlfiel, Guri Demuria, Dan Collier.
Redditch team: Ethan Ross; Lewis Wright, Orrin Pendley, Gui Mailancol, Nathan Fox; Spencer Weir-Daley (Kyle Belmonte), McKauley Manning, Danny Jackman, Pauly Apostolopoulos (Zaqib Hussain); Andi Thanoj (Arjun Jung), Dior Angus. Subs not used: Elikem Amenku, Gowan Stares.