Basford Prove A Point With Stafford Home Draw (Video Now Online)
United showed they can compete with the best the league has to offer, after a hard-fought 1-1 home draw with league leaders Stafford Rangers.
Video highlights are now available to view via the following link - http://www.basfordunited.co.uk/teams/46588/match-centre/1-1606785
A bumper crowd of over 200 spectators at Greenwich Avenue witnessed a game of two halves, with the visitors taking control of the first 45 minutes and going ahead thanks to a fortunate deflected goal but Basford then dominated the second period and gained their just reward, thanks to a brilliant long-range strike from Billy Bennett.
With no fewer than nine players out through injury, Martin Carruthers welcomed back Bennett and Rob McCormick, who made a welcome return to the defence after missing the previous week’s defeat against Shaw Lane. Robbie McNicholas and Cory Grantham were the players to make way for the returnees, with Grantham dropping to the bench alongside Kimani Smith, Jack & Jake Wood and Under-21 defender Jheryl Pickbourne, who featured in the first team squad for the first time.
The formidable forward force of Reuben Wiggins-Thomas, Eugen Bopp, Blair Anderson and Ben Hutchinson all started for Basford, as they looked to prove that the previous Tuesday’s 5-0 hammering by Aquaforce was just a one-off, freak result.
Much of the play in opening half was dictated by the visitors and despite some occasional good play and half chances created, United were counting themselves lucky to going in at half time just one goal down.
More injury misery was inflicted on Basford after just nine minutes of play, when Rhys Myers was substituted after failing to recover from a questionable Stafford tackle and youngster Pickbourne was thrown straight into the action to make his first team debut.
United’s first chance fell to Hutchinson on 17 minutes but the striker was unable to get a solid connection on Anderson’s searching free-kick, as the ball trickled off the forward’s foot and out of play.
Four minutes later, United top-scorer Wiggins-Thomas’ head almost got on the end of a superb Hutchinson ball from the right flank, with just an inch between the hitman and potentially the opening goal of the game.
Saul Deeney then made an excellent save down low to his right to turn away a Stafford shot out for a corner on 24 minutes.
On 28 minutes a driving run through the middle from a Stafford midfielder almost opened the scoring for the visitors but his shot was always rising and then cleared Deeney’s crossbar.
Two more chances we’re missed by Rangers but they finally found their break on 37 minutes when Nathan Rooney’s shot took a wicked deflection, fooling Deeney, whose mad scramble to re-address his balance and footing wasn’t enough to prevent the ball rolling over the goal line to give Stafford the lead.
Basford responded well before half time, firstly when Anderson was allowed the space to run down the left wing from inside his own half, enteing the visitors’ penalty area and getting a shot away, which was unfortunately straight at the keeper. Then in stoppage time, Bopp’s effort from right on the edge of the penalty area just rose over the crossbar.
United came out in the second half the better side and chased the game right from the off, finding lots of space out wide and looking more comfortable in possession.
On 51 minutes, Hutchinson was unlucky not to find an equaliser, when his spectacular overhead kick just cleared the angle of post and crossbar.
The Stafford keeper was counting his blessings on 65 minutes when his miskicked the ball out of his hands, hitting a Basford player before McCormick’s opportunistic header fell straight into the relieved custodian’s arms.
Six minutes later, United did have their game-tying goal, thanks to some good work on the left from Anderson, who provided a ball for Bennett to smash home, first time, from 25 yards, into the bottom, far-right corner of the net.
Not only were Basford causing Rangers some real problems up-front but they also looked incredibly impressive at the back, limiting their high-scoring opponents to just a handful of half chances, the closest being when a shot was aimed straight at Deeney on 74 minutes.
A special mention should also go to Jerhyl Pickbourne, who having been thrown into his debut after just nine minutes, certainly did not look out of place and looks an exciting prospect for the future.
United then held on comfortably for the remainder of the game, with Stafford also seemingly happy to settle for a point and Carruthers’ men were able to quickly put the Shaw Lane result behind them and prove they are a force to be reckoned with in the division and have quality and strength in-depth.
Basford’s thought’s now turn to their Doodson Sport League Cup First Round local derby clash at Carlton Town on Wednesday night. Kick-off at the Bill Stokeld Stadium is at 7.45pm.
A BUFC Radio post-game interview with Martin Carruthers can be heard via the following link - https://audioboom.com/boos/3787452-post-game-interview-with-martin-carruthers-basford-united-1-stafford-rangers-1-07-11-15
A BUFC Radio post-game interview with Billy Bennett can be heard via the following link - https://audioboom.com/boos/3787422-post-game-interview-with-billy-bennett-basford-united-1-stafford-rangers-1-07-11-15