Tooting & Mitcham Match Report

Basingstoke Town 3-2 Tooting & Mitcham United

Match report by Nick Wilson

A depleted Basingstoke side took on Tooting and Mitcham with all four central defenders unavailable and top scorer Conor Lynch also sidelined. 40-year-old Jon Boardman was drafted in on Friday, partnering winger Brad Wilson in a makeshift centre-back partnership while teenager Lloyd Snell was introduced within ten minutes when remaining striker Stefan Brown suffered an injury of his own. Despite being shorthanded, Town pulled out a hugely creditable 3-2 win that Dan Brownlie put down as one of the best of his tenure.

Basingstoke were already ahead when Snell replaced Brown, captain Simon Dunn bursting into the box and calmly slotting home after just 32 seconds to lift a crowd of over 650 at the Winklebury Sport Complex. The visitors were patient in their attempts to get back into the game, monopolising possession in the first half while the hosts sat back to protect their lead. Mark Waters went close as he crashed a shot against the underside of the bar from range with Paul Strudley rooted to his line, but Snell was a menace at the other end, twice forcing saves from away keeper McKenzie Foley. Tooting did finally equalise just before half-time however as Dontai Stewart arrived at the far post to finish Shakeel Morris’ curling cross.

The home side were more positive in the second half though and after McKoy Palmer flicked a header at Foley, Wilson split the defence with a skidding pass that pacy winger George Reid chased down before clipping a shot across Foley and into the corner of the net. The second lead of the game only lasted ten minutes though as Stewart turned provided for the away side, his inswinging free kick headed home by defender Dean Hamlin to tie the game at two apiece. There was more to come though and after Aiden Lewis sent a dipping volley over the Tooting crossbar, Wilson added his name to the scoresheet with a well-taken penalty following a disputed handball decision from referee Tom Baines as Town took their third lead of the game.

Having dropped two points in stoppage time on Tuesday night against Uxbridge, Brownlie bemoaned his side’s lack of game management and his words appeared to have an impact as Basingstoke saw out the last 20 minutes calmly to claim a seventh win from ten league games and move themselves up to third in the table.