Shaw Lane Too Much For Bare Bones Basford Defence
Two more players were added to United’s ever expanding injury list, as United were defeated 5-0 at Shaw Lane Aquaforce on Tuesday night.
Martin Carruthers was without the services of right back Billy Bennett and centre half Rob McCormick, who both started in Saturday’s 3-1 FA Trophy win over Grantham Town, therefore youngster was Robbie McNicholas drafted in for his first appearance of the season, whilst Rhys Myers made his return to the starting line-up, after a recent absence due to illness.
After playing a substitutes role on Saturday through illness, Cory Grantham made a return to the starting eleven, replacing Ben Hutchinson, who dropped to the bench despite having a massive impact on Saturday’s FA Trophy win.
Kimani Smith also featured amongst the substitutes, after impressing in the Academy side’s recent FA Youth Cup win over FC Halifax Town.
It wasn’t the luckiest of starts for United. Already being short on defenders, an early injury to Deon Meikle saw him leave the game after just five minutes of play and replaced by Gino Kelleher, with McNicholas slotting into Meikle’s left back position and Ashley Grayson having to drop into the defence to cover on the right.
United were able to soak up some early home pressure in the opening 20 minutes and despite being the defence being caught on the break a couple times, they were able to deal with each attack without any real danger being caused to Saul Deeney’s goal. They came closest on 18 minutes, when a dangerous-looking shot was deflected wide of the post by another Shaw Lane player.
Basford’s first chance fell just two minutes later, when Reuben Wiggins-Thomas raced through the offside trap, did well to chest down the ball on the move but the hitman’s effort fell just wide, after shooting from a difficult angle.
Aquaforce did find an opener on 23 minutes after they sliced their way through the United back four and almost went 2-0 up six minutes later, after some penalty box pinball saw another chance roll just wide of Deeney’s left-hand post.
Basford did grow into the game, especially towards half time, with some excellent driving runs from Kelleher, Grantham and Eugen Bopp causing problems for the home defence but the final ball was lacking and Shaw Lane went in 1-0 ahead at the break.
Five minutes after the restart, Shaw Lane doubled their advantage and gave United a huge mountain to climb, when Deeney, who raced out of his box to try and reach the ball before a home attacker, could only watch as the ball was neatly lobbed over his head and into the net via the help of the far post.
Basford weren’t giving up however and on 60 minutes, Wiggins-Thomas did well to hold up the ball on the edge of the home side’s box before turning his marker and getting a shot away but his effort rose just over the crossbar.
But just two minutes later, it was 3-0 to the hosts, as United’s makeshift defence was penetrated again, as Aquaforce found the net via a flicked header from a corner.
Sensing the game was now out of reach, Carruthers decided to withdraw Wiggins-Thomas and Bopp with 25 minutes remaining, giving the pair some extra rest for Saturday and bringing on youngsters Jack Wood and Kimani Smith, who would both gain some valuable first team minutes to aid their development.
With no less than five Under-19s out on the pitch, United continued to battle on against a ruthless home side and a powerful but wayward long range effort from Ashley Grayson on 69 minutes was the closest the young Basford side came to finding the net in the second period.
Shaw Lane sealed the points with two well-worked goals on 79 and 84 minutes, the later with United down to ten men, after losing another defender, as McNicholas hobbled off with ten minutes remaining.
Basford will now look to re-group and shake off some key injuries for their big home clash with table-topping Stafford Rangers at Greenwich Avenue this Saturday, with a 3pm kick-off.
A BUFC Radio post-game interview with Martin Carruthers can be heard via the following link - https://audioboom.com/boos/3770471-post-game-interview-with-martin-carruthers-shaw-lane-aquaforce-5-basford-united-0-03-11-15