On a glorious sunny day it was the academys first competitive game of 2018 and it was mid-December since the team tasted league action in what has been a very frustrating period.
Basford started the game really well and it was a positive start in the opening minutes with a high pressing game. Basford kept the ball well in the early stages without really threatening the opposition goal.
The first chance fell to Loughborough on 7 minutes and it took an excellent save from George Sansom to keep the score at 0-0. This certainly sparked the home side into acation and after a flowing move the ball was switched to the right side of the pitch to Harry Wakefield who produced a magnificen left footed cross to the far post for Courey Jalland to majestically head home at the far post. 1-0 to the hosts on 10 minutes.
This gave the home side confidence and it was that man Wakefield who produced a great strike on 17 minutes that the Loughborugh GK did well to turn it over the bar for a Basford corner. It was then the turn of the excellent Nyall Hylton, who after some great pressing almost scored after blocking a pass from the Loughborough keeper..
Basford now had the upper hand and were playing some excellent football that included some really good combination play in the final third. Looking solid at the back with assured performances from both Charlie Gipps and Connor Butler it seemed only a matter of time before Basford would score again. Butler was playing some fantastic diagonal balls throughout the game an it was Butlers free kick on 36 minutes that found Wakefield in the box who looped the header into the far post. 2-0 Basford.
Basford were pressing hard and on 38 minutes another Butler diagnoal sent Shipton down the left and after some great combination play with Wakefield resulted in a great strike from the edge of the area that the GK could only parry, but unfortunately the rebound was slid wide by the hard working Daws. Basford continued to press for a third before half-time and headed chances from corners on 44-Wakefield and 45-Butler went wide with good efforts.
Credit to Loughborough who started the second half really well and Basford were on the back foot in the opening minutes. Loughborough almost reduced the deficit courtesy of a free kick on the edge of the box that was saved well by Sansom. Basford almost extended their lead on 50 minutes after some superb play on the laft involving Shipton and Blake whose cross found Wakefield who headed over the bar from 6 yards. Basford then had another great chance on 53 minutes as Kyeron Daws raced clear only to drag his shot wide 1 v 1 with the on rushing GK.
The first change on 55 saw Yorke replaced by Mancinelli in midfield. Basford were working well to extend their lead and another good cross from Jalland found Gipps unmarked in the box and he volleyed high over the bar. Chances were coming thick and fast as Loughborough left gaps at the back as they pressed to try and get back into the game and on 61 minutes Jalland and Wakefield combined for the latter to fire wide and 5 minutes later that man Daws was again sent through 1v1 and unfortunately fired wide again. Wakefield then created an opportunity for himself but his low shot rolled past the far post. On 65 minutes Cooke and Bamford were replaced by Gayle and Ndong.
The final change came on 75 when Jalland was replaced by Donelan. Basford's final chance fell again to Daws after a great pass by Donelan but his effort went straight at the Loughborough GK. Loughborough rallied well and on 80 minutes the Loughborough striker went through 1v1 but luckily he dragged his effort wide and let Basford off the hook. Loughborough did have one final chance in the 89th minute after a corner was met with force and Gaylr produced a great header off the line to keep the scoreline 2-0.
A very good team performance and although there were lots of good performances the stars of the day were Hylton, Wakefield, Butler and Gipps. Well done boys and a great start to 2018.
Team line up-Sansom, Bamford, (Gayle-65) Cooke, (Ndong-65) Jalland, (Donelan-75) Gipps, Butler, Shipton, Yorke, (Mancinelli-55) Wakefield, Daws, Hylton.
Updated 18:44 - 14 Feb 2018 by Neil McGowan