The Peacocks ground out another point against a useful Basingstoke side in a game which is unlikely to live long in the memory. Town seemed unusually subdued going forward while the visitors had that extra bit of spark and probably count themselves unlucky not to claim the win after twice hitting the woodwork.
With manager Leigh Robinson absent on his wedding weekend, Michael Meaker and Rob Dray took charge and named an unchanged team from the Tiverton win on Bank Holiday Monday. In front of another 500+ crowd, the game got off to a slow start with the only incident of note happening when Matt Wright flicked on a long Nuno Felix throw for Ryan Brett to drill wide at the Invest Southwest End. Dan Sullivan also turned to fire in a shot which Basingstoke keeper Colm McAdden gathered safely before the visitors signalled their ability by nearly taking the lead just past the quarter hour mark. The lively Sam Smart dashed down the right and although Lloyd Irish parried his cross, the ball fell for George Bennett to crash a strike off the underside of the crossbar from outside the box
A cross from James Orvis was headed narrowly wide by Ben Wright as Basingstoke began to gain the upper hand, with Irish then foiling Zidan Akers who was found in space on the left side of the box , Shane White blocking Smart’s follow-up. Overall though chances were not exactly plentiful, with the Peacocks’ best pot at goal coming six minutes before the interval via Chamberlain’s strike which was held at the post by McAdden. Sam Deadfield curled a shot over the bar at the opposite end to conclude the first half action.
The second half got underway with Pierce Mitchell cutting in from the right but his strike went straight to McAdden. After Deadfield had headed wide from Smart’s cross, McAdden was in the right place again, not having to move to clutch Brett’s effort from 12 yards. The threat from Basingstoke was always there though, a burst of pace from Akers giving him an opportunity which he dragged wide of the target. Keith Emmerson whose display was otherwise immaculate then put Irish in a spot of bother with a weak back pass, the Town keeper clearing as Smart bore down.
Although the Peacocks were showing more attackwise in the second period it wasn’t really happening in front of goal. A jink from Sullivan gave Brett an opening but his shot cleared the bar while Andrew Neal ‘s first touch after replacing Chamberlain was a shot which lacked the power to test McAdden. The failure to take chances nearly cost Town midway through the half when a Basingstoke corner wasn’t cleared and Deadfield rifled in a strike which was turned away by Irish. From the resulting corner Matt Buse headed off the line from Akers before sub Callum Bunting teed up Deadfield for a shot from the edge of the box which thankfully found the bar rather than the net.
Penalty appeals after Wright was seemingly pulled down were ignored as the hosts applied some late pressure but were unable to create a clear chance while Basingstoke were in the same boat, Smart lashing well over the top before his cross saw a late header drift wide as proceedings floated to a docile end.
Match: Taunton Town v Basingstoke Town
Date: September 1, 2018
Competition: Evo Stik League | Southern Premier
Venue: Viridor Stadium
Kick Off: 3.00pm
Match Sponsor: AMF Home and Garden Restoration
Match Ball Sponsor: Franklin Painting and Property Maintenance
Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Nuno Felix (Josh Nelmes 56), Ben Adelsbury, Keith Emmerson, Shane White, Ollie Chamberlain (Andrew Neal 64), Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (captain) (Craig Veal 74), Dan Sullivan, Matt Buse. Unused subs: Tom Stone, Brett Trowbridge
Basingstoke: Colm McAdden, Dean Stow, James Orvis, George Bennett (Dan Collier 79), Shane Hollamby, Harry Philby, Sam Smart, Charlie Kennedy (captain), Ben Wright (Callum Bunting 63), Sam Deadfield, Zidan Akers (Jack McKnight 74). Unused subs: Dan Bayliss, Liam Hunt
Referee: Robert Cockle (Bristol)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Simon Turner (Bristol)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Samuel Williams (Bristol)