Basingstoke Town Colts Knights vs Andover Town Youth 12’s Blue

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The Blues arrived at the home of the league leader’s in good spirits after having an enforced lay off due to poor whether recently. It meant that at kick off the Blues were two games behind there rivals, on the face of it Basingstoke looked comfortable at the top with an eight point lead from Town. With recent results against West Berks Warriors and Tadley Calleva, winning 12:0 and 2.0 respectively, Town were aware they had to bring their A game.

The play started on a pudding of a pitch, with the ball hanging up in the grass and mud, the Blues with their now customary lightning starts powered forward. The management team paid respect to the opposition with a three, four, one formation. The midfield were asked to put a shift in from the whistle, it was clear from that moment that Town were going to battle for every ball. Callum Woods and Jack Herdman, were imposing themselves on the game and their opponents and pulling the strings. The two wingers of Leo Ferro and Matt Smith, were moving the Basingstoke defence around and getting back when needed. Up front, today asked to do the dirty side of a forward Brandyn Reeves, ran and moved and looked to hold up the ball and play in others. Strikers being strikers prefer to score goals, he did a job for the team today. The defence of Max Bissett, Josh Williams and Ollie Pitts were pushing up and making things look straight forward, this stability helped today’s Keeper Aiden Lowe, who is our goto stopper when Daniel Butt isn’t available.

Aiden has performed this role previously with great results, he showed the team again today why he is relied on for this position. With the pitch in poor condition, especially around the goal mouths, Basingstoke had one of only a handful of shots on target. The ball bounced awkwardly in front of him and slid in. Mistakes happen and we all make them, what he did next showed what the lad is made of, he went on to pull off some great saves and even tried to bring down a power line with a goal kick. Everyone of the team seemed to grow after that and Aiden’s example typified the desire and bottle today.

As the half rolled on Town continued to push their opponents in every area, they should have been in front by half time, but it wasn’t to be. At the break, it was still 1:0 to Basingstoke, with Town running them ragged. The management team due to the strength and depth of the squad have been treating every game as two games, first half team and second half team (not a reflection on ability). The challenge for the second half side is to out score the first half boys, the changes that were made, on came Callum Lowe, Cayden Brooker, Cai Jones and James Sygrove. Darren Reeves swapped formation to Three, Three, Two, the two strikers had instructions, with Cayden dropping deeper to create play and link up and Callum to use his pace to get at the defence. Cai, was tasked with getting down the line on the left and supplying the ammo for the forwards, James knew he had to use his dead ball ability and his defensive awareness to slot into the defence seamlessly.

The second half started well and Town continued as they left off, the pressure told as Cai Jones made the effort tell with a superb goal, pouncing within the box to equalise. Callum Lowe then ran onto a through ball and slotted the ball home to put Town a head with a cool finish. Cayden was putting in great effort and creating space and chances for others, he got the rewards for that effort with a goal that showed his striker instinct is improving every game. Callum Lowe then again running at the defence and rounding the keeper to get his second in about 10 minutes, looking like the player of last season. The whole team were in full attach now, driving runs from Cai and Josh kept the pressure constant. Cayden finished the scoring off with great poise as he controlled the ball in the area and picked his spot under pressure, Cayden is now the top scorer this season, to think he only started plying upfront mid way through the season, great example of confidence, skill and training works every time. We have had eleven different scorers this term, Brandyn Reeves is just behind with eight Callum Lowe (big Cal) and Callum Woods (little Cal) on seven goals. The golden boot is up for grabs!

The match was over and Basingstoke having had some convincing wins this term, looked like they haven’t had too deal with kind of intensity and desire showed by the Town today. The second half team were aware that the effort the first half team gave them the opportunity’s to complete the victory today, a total team performance from every player today. Max Bissett was Sportsman today with another masterful display and Captain for the day Callum Woods got Man of the match, All action display and will never give up, ever. The Blue’s can now see that they can win this league this season and realise back to back promotions, but to do this they will have to display the skill, desire, effort and as Aiden showed today the bottle to put yourself in a position to achieve and to over come any set backs. Anything is possible! JP

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