Basingstoke progress to the second qualifying round of the FA Cup in front of a packed Winklebury Ground.
Dan Brownlie made a number of changes to his starting line up following our bank-holiday Monday win away at Thatcham Town. It was one of those changes in form of James Haworth that nearly saw ‘Stoke off to the perfect start when his back post header crashed against the upright after just six minutes.
A blistering start from your Basingstoke side saw wave after wave of attack and applying constant pressure. Simon Dunn’s effort on the volley forced a good save from the visiting keeper, and Brad Wilson and Ben Cook also had good chances in the opening moments. The entire set piece repertoire must have been executed with a series of corners awarded and one of those well worked routine forced a scramble inside the box but we were unable to get a shot away.
On 24 minutes in Brad Wilson was put through and found himself with almost too much time but his well struck shot went over the bar.
FINALLY after 44 minutes of great attacking play Basingstoke got their just rewards when Conor Lynch found himself in the top left hand corner and after some neat footwork, struck the ball perfectly into the bottom corner to put ‘Stoke 1-0 going into half time.
1-0 Half Time
Bridgwater started brightly with the ball clipping off the crossbar and falling into the six yard box but the ball was scrambled away by the ‘Stoke defence.
Just five minutes later, ‘Stoke doubled their advantage with the move of the game. A beautifully weighted reverse pass by D’andre Brown found the feet of Conor Lynch whose inch perfect touch allowed him to bury the ball into the right hand corner to the delight of our fans behind the goal!
54 minute’s Basingstoke got away with a real moment when Mike Duffy of Bridgwater found a yard and his driven shot drilled off the post, across the goal line and narrowly went wide.
on 57’ minutes Bridgwater were reduced to ten men as the man who had just struck the up right inexplicably came crashing into Shaun Dallimore with his elbow and was sent his marching orders by the referee.
Simon Dunn was brought down in the Bridgwater penalty area, but Conor Lynch’s penalty effort sailed over the bar – from here Bridgwater rallied and started to build a little momentum. A deep free kick was awarded to our visitors and pumped long, Nick Woodrow found himself in space following a knockdown and finished past Paul Strudley.
Sub Adam Everiss nearly got onto the score sheet when Brad Wilson’s delightful cross from wide right met the head of ‘Evo’ but it went narrowly wide.
Basingstoke continued to apply pressure and maintained their concentration throughout and the impressive D’andre Brown opened his account with a sublime finish into the top corner of the net just inside the box to make it 3-1. Aiden Lewis and Daryl Wollers replaced Captain Simon Dunn and Dan Williamson to add a little freshness for the final moments.
Then in injury time, Conor Lynch finished off a fine hat-trick when a long ball wasn’t cleared by their keeper and Conor Lynch lobbed him from 25 yards into the roof of the empty goal – stunning finish!
Basingstoke 4-1 Bridgwater.
We caught up with Dan Brownlie after today’s impressive win.
“I thought we were superb for the first 20 minutes. A really impressive performance that saw us camped in their half but we lacked that clinical edge that we normally have in such abundance. There were moments where it felt like it was going to be ‘one of those days’ but we kept doing the right things and in a great moment before the end of the first half – we got our rewards.”
“Shaun Dallimore was fantastic today, he ate up everything they threw at us. And then at the other end, Conor was relentless. But today was a true squad performance, everyone put in a shift today – it was a great team win. We worked on quite a few things that paid off this week, it was good to see the progression of what we’re looking to do and that’s down to the boys willingness to put it into action. It’s been a great day and I’ve no doubt there will be plenty of people celebrating that win.”
The FA Cup draw will take place on Monday and is normally announced around 1pm.