BY NICK WILSON
A much changed Basingstoke side was defeated in the final of the O’Neill’s Invitational Cup by hosts Farnborough on Sunday afternoon at Rushmoor Community Stadium.
Basingstoke made ten changes in all from Saturday’s semi final win over Fleet, with only goalkeeper Collum McAdden keeping his place in the team and the new look side struggled against a strong home team. Farnborough were on top early on with experienced striker Jamie Cureton squandering two chances, first seeing McAdden saving a mishit volley before lobbing a second effort over the bar.
Farnborough continued to press and Cureton caused plenty of problems with his movement off the ball. It was Cureton who gave his side the lead halfway through the first half after Perry Coles robbed Kyle Williams at the byline before cutting back for the veteran forward to finish simply from eight yards. Cureton looked in the mood and after forcing McAdden into an excellent two handed save, punished Basingstoke’s lack of care in possession and Coles played him in behind, he rounded McAdden and struck the ball into the empty net to double his tally on 30 minutes.
Basingstoke created their best chance of the match as half time approached, Jordan Goater appearing late to meet a cross at the far post but he was unfortunate to see it bounce back off the woodwork.
HALF TIME: 2-0
It was a disastrous start to the second half as Farnborough quickly made it three. Nic Ciardini floated a left wing corner to the far post and Jack Smith rose well to head beyond McAdden and extend the lead. With Basingstoke struggling to create chances, Ciardini got on the scoresheet himself as a right wing cross squirmed all the way through to him on the left side of the box and he prodded home from close range to make it 4-0 with 25 minutes still to play.
Basingstoke did manage to muster a response as substitutes Zack Scott and Ross Kearnan both had shots but Scott saw his attempt blocked while Kearnan sent the ball over the bar from distance. Soon afterwards it was 5-0 as two Farnborough substitutes combined. Ethan Allen’s header bounced through to Ainsley Everett who just beat McAdden to the ball and managed to hook it over the goalkeeper on 75 minutes before Jack Smith took advantage of a quick corner to head home the sixth with ten minutes to go.
Basingstoke tried in vain to score a late consolation goal but Kieron Rodgers volleyed over and Sam Smart couldn’t meet a low cross inside the six yard area as Basingstoke had to settle for runners up.
FULL TIME: 6-0
Basingstoke team: Collum McAdden; Ben Bady, Jordan Aghatise, Kyle Williams, Leon Yeoman; Will Shaw, Elija Seymour, Jordan Goater; Carlos, Sam Smart, James Grainger. Subs: Zack Scott, Ross Kearnan, Kieron Rodgers.
Farnborough team: Luke Cairney; Jack Smith, Josh Huggins, CJ Fearn; Jack Barton, Keith Emmerson, Kieron Forbes, Nic Ciardini; Perry Coles, Jamie Cureton. Subs: Patrick Ruzicka, Laste Dombaxe, JOhn Oyenuga, Ainsley Everett, Aiden Upward, Ethan Allen, Riccardo Andradry, Danny Patterson.