BASILDON BLOWN AWAY
Basildon United 0 Biggleswade 2
Buildbase FA Vase 1st Round
Report by David Ballheimer
Basildon United’s interest in the Buildbase FA Vase came to an end at the hands of Biggleswade FC, a result the visitors thoroughly deserved, at Stuart Bingham Stadium.
Nothing ruins a football match more than a strong gusting wind and this contest proved the point as both teams struggled to keep the ball within the white lines. One first half corner was blown eight yards behind the goal before it disappeared towards the rugby posts, which were swaying drunkenly.
There was a cagey opening to the game with both teams probing unsuccessfully for openings. In the eighth minute, a ball from the right went all the way across the penalty area to an unmarked Ryan Inskip.
The Biggleswade wide-man had little of the target to shoot at, but Connor Wheatley came across to narrow the angle, so Inskip drilled the ball towards the six-yard line. Unfortunately for Biggleswade, the ball eluded everyone before it was hacked away to safety by Joe Burgess.
Wheatley came to Basildon’s rescue in the 18th minute when he made an excellent save to deny Lee Northfield, who had been put through by a neat pass out of midfield from Pat McCafferty. When Dan Green was forced into action, a couple of minutes later, the shot from Billy Holmes lacked both the power and accuracy to make the goalkeeper’s save anything other than routine.
in the 29th minute, Oli Spooner picked up a loose ball in the centre circle and burst forward. He beat three tacklers before taking a shot from 20 yards, but it missed the target by a considerable distance.
Biggleswade forced four straight corners, the third of which was headed goalwards by David Lenton. Wheatley had to stretch to keep out the ball and it was knocked away for another set-piece – and this was the one that threatened the rugby pitch more than the Basildon goal.
Almost immediately, Ash Blackburn fired a shot towards the bottom right corner. It was not the most powerful of strikes, but it was very accurate and Green was able to keep the ball out with his outstretched hand, and then was agile enough to gather the ball to his body as Marcus Bowers sniffed for a rebound tap-in.
Two minutes after the resumption, Alex Marsh had a free header from a set piece, but the Biggleswade midfielder put the great chance from 10 yards out high over the crossbar. At the other end, Bowers did well to get past Tayshan Griffith and delivered a deep cross which Holmes won under pressure from Green and Darren Woodend, but his header dropped just wide of the angle of post and crossbar.
In the 55th minute, Biggleswade broke the deadlock. A right-side set piece was crossed deep beyond the far post, where Lenton and Woodend were left unmarked.
Between them, they manage to get the ball back into the middle of the penalty area, where McCAFFERTY was waiting to sidefoot the ball through a ruck of players into the net. Wheatley was quick to berate his defenders for allowing not only the first header, but the second decisive touch with a single player making it difficult.
It would be McCafferty’s final contribution to the game as he was replaced by Laurance Marsh. McCafferty had taken quite a buffeting in his time on the pitch, requiring treatment on two occasions and being slow to rise from challenges on two others.
Basildon made their three changes in the space of six minutes, Grant Cumming, Darren Phillips and Chris Charlery making way for Kris Newby, Mehmet Hassan and Jack Renew, respectively. On the other side, Bradley Stewart replaced Griffith and provided an even more solid defence at left-back.
There was lots of huff and puff from Basildon, but even more from the wind and Bowers rarely found himself in a position to add to his goal tall. Superbly led by skipper Adam Hunt, the Biggleswade rearguard of Hunt, Woodend, Lenton, Griffith – then Stewart – rarely looked in trouble throughout the afternoon.
In fact, it took until the 80th minute for Basildon to force a corner and, when it was finally delivered, the pace of the ball and the wind combined to send the ball high beyond the far post and out for a goal kick with everyone in the penalty area mere spectators.
Over-committing to attack, Basildon paid a heavy price a minute later. A simple ball out of midfield found Northfield with a solitary defender for company. Northfield was too strong and fast for his marker, and soon was running in on goal unchallenged. Wheatley came off his line, and was left flat-footed by the sidefoot which rolled the ball into the net.
A muscle injury forced off Woodend with a couple of minutes of normal time remaining and Nathan George slotted in to replace the centre-back. A minute later Basildon had the chance to get back into the game.
Newby fired a shot which may well have beaten Green, but one of a number of defenders in the area cleared the ball from close to the line. The rebound fell to Holmes, whose 25-yard drive was always rising as it sailed high over the crossbar.
A disappointed Basildon boss Marc Harrison admitted after the game, “It was a really tough afternoon for us. I am very disappointed.
Basildon United: Connor Wheatley (c), Billy Willis, Joe Burgess, Grant Cumming (Kris Newby, 63), John Burgess, Darren Phillips (Mehmet Hassan, 66), Chris Charlery (Jack Renew, 68), Oli Spooner, Marcus Bowers, Billy Holmes, Ash Blackburn. Unused subs: Danny Dafter Josh Knight.
Biggleswade: Dan Green, Adam Hunt (c), Taishan Griffith (Bradley Stewart 72’), Pat McCafferty (Laurance Marsh 58’), Darren Woodend (Nathan George 89’), David Lenton, Alex Marsh, George Riley, Tom Cookman, Lee Northfield, Ryan Inskip.
Scorers – Pat McCafferty (55’)Lee Northfield (81’)