Blue Square Bet South
Basingstoke Town 2 Boreham Wood 3
by John Mead
Standing water before kick-off increased during the constant driving rain that accompanied the match, leaving the playing surface resembling a paddy field at the final whistle. Yet to their credit both teams took a sensible approach allowing the game to be played out and some of the attempted passing football was a credit to the standard in this Division.
The game in keeping with the conditions ebbed and flowed with Wood enjoying the majority of the offensive play from the off. Charlie Moone shot over the bar from a Greg Morgan cross, before Morgan himself went close with a free kick which skimmed past the far post.
Basingstoke Town crafted a fine move after ten minutes when good approach play from Jordace Holder-Spooner allowed Shaun McAuley a curling effort that hit the right hand post.
Wood took the lead for the first time in four games after sixteen minutes. Morgan’s left sided corner was cleared out to Luke Garrard wide on the right. He delivered a superb curling cross that Charlie O’Loughlin heroically stooped to head home across Ashley Bayes in a crowded penalty area.
Thalassitis adapted well to the conditions and was a handful going forward all afternoon. He blistered past two defenders setting up Moone who volleyed over the bar when well placed. Town mustered a shot at James Russell through McAuley before Callum Reynolds headed over the bar as Wood finished the half the stronger. Morgan struck another telling delivery from a free kick which was diverted just wide of a post by a defender before Cliff Akurang went agonisingly close with a near post header from another Wood corner that was repelled by a fine stop from Bayes.
The Town team talk at the interval manifested a swift response. Wes Daly delivered a floating ball from the right that evaded the head of Reynolds before being cleared as far as Stuart Lake, who drove home beyond James Russell less than two minutes after the restart.
The response was meritable with Wood immediately finding another gear. Akurang did well down the right providing for Thalassitis whose shot on the turn went just wide, before a finely crafted equaliser after forty-nine minutes. Moone turned superbly in midfield rolling a ball into the path of Thalassitis who outpaced two defenders before coolly firing home under the advancing Bayes.
The conditions were by now making football difficult and it was left to the man who played on through the rain to add a second to his tally after seventy-four minutes. A long ball forward was headed backwards by a defender leaving a chase on between Bayes and Thalassitis who produced a composed header lobbing the somewhat stranded ‘keeper.
Russell then saved from Holder-Spooner before Bayes was on hand to deny Morgan after Wood broke with purpose. Holder-Spooner went close from a right sided corner with Russell’s fingertips directing the direct effort over the crossbar. The rest of the game was reduced to a lottery by the conditions. Delano Sam-Yorke fired over for the home side, Moone was then off target for Wood, before a looping cross from the right by McAuley was headed home by David Ray in stoppage time, with Russell glued to the spot, literally.
The win pleased Ian Allinson. “We created enough in the first half to have taken a more commanding lead into the second half and more importantly we responded magnificently when going behind immediately after the break. The luxury of being two goals up put us in the driving seat and we adapted to the conditions well. We have two massive games coming up now against two sides with everything to play for. We need to transport our rediscovered confidence down at Eastbourne Borough this Tuesday. We ourselves still have everything to play for.”
Team: Russell, Garrard, Jones, Moone, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Morgan, Isaac, Thalassitis, Akurang, Montgomery.
Subs (Not used): Pires, Hastings, Doolan, Sterling-Parker, Knight.
Bookings: Morgan, Garrard.
Goals: Basingstoke Town: Lake 47, Ray 90+2. Boreham Wood: O’Loughlin 16, Thalassitis 49, 74.
Man of the Match: Michael Thalassitis.