Bas­ingstoke prove to be tough Tro­phy nuts to crack

Herald Express - - Marketplace -

TORQUAY United’s young team may not have hit the heights of their pre­vi­ous 4-1 league wins over St Al­bans City and Con­cord Rangers, but they bat­tled through a dif­fi­cult and drain­ing FA Tro­phy tie, on a test­ing pitch at the Cam­rose Sta­dium, and fi­nally over­came a spir­ited Bas­ingstoke Town in a penalty shoot-out.

It fell to 21-year-old mid­fielder Jake An­drews to de­liver the fi­nal blow, af­ter Town’s Mitchell Parker had fired their fourth spot-kick over Shaun MacDon­ald’s bar, and he was not found want­ing.

Jamie Reid, who had scored his 14th goal of the sea­son to equalise Dean Stow’s eighth minute penalty, Con­nor Le­mon­heigh-Evans, Brett Wil­liams and Liam Davis also kept their nerve in the shoot-out at the end of an af­ter­noon which tested Gary John­son’s side men­tally as much as phys­i­cally.

Bas­ingstoke un­der vet­eran for­mer Alder­shot Town and AFC Wim­ble­don man­ager Terry Brown have a lively and fit young team – im­pres­sive striker Sam Smart headed off to a trial at Sun­der­land af­ter Sat­ur­day’s tie – and they gave their all.

Brown de­cided that at­tack was the best form of de­fence, and their three-man mid­field caused enough prob­lems for John­son to change his own for­ma­tion and send Opi Ed­wards on for Kalvin Kalala at half-time.

By then Stow had given Town the lead, af­ter MacDon­ald was ad­judged to have brought down the mo­bile

Jamie Reid cel­e­brates his equaliser against Bas­ingstoke Smart, only for Reid to pun­ish some hes­i­tant home de­fend­ing on Saikou Jan­neh’s ball into the mid­dle with a cool fin­ish…1-1 af­ter only ten min­utes.

There were plenty of mis- takes on both sides – hardly sur­pris­ing given the bob­bly sur­face – but the con­di­tions made for an event­ful, end-to-end cup-tie with MacDon­ald and home goal­keeper Colm McAd­den both pulling off ex­cel­lent saves.

One MacDon­ald ef­fort just be­fore half-time was out of the top drawer, while Smart for Town and An­drews for United both hit the wood­work.

The in­tro­duc­tion of Ed­wards lifted the Gulls’ at­tack dur­ing a se­cond half in which they did their best to make full-time train­ing pay.

Ed­wards, fel­low sub Brett Wil­liams and Reid all went close, with ‘bob­bles’ in the penalty area not help­ing at cru­cial mo­ments, but Bas­ingstoke never went un­der and not even ex­tra-time, which saw Ed­wards go off with a re­cur­rence of thigh trou­ble, could pro­duce a win­ner.

John­son re­vealed later that, rather than ask for vol­un­teers, he and coach Shaun Tay­lor had picked the penalty-tak­ers in ad­vance – and they were in­deed proved right in their se­lec­tions.

Bas­ingstoke Town (4-3-3): McAd­den; Stow, Hol­lamby, Bayliss, Ger­rard; Kennedy, Col­lier (Ak­ers 106), Dead­field; McKnight, Ar­gent (Wright 102), Smart (Parker 86); Subs not used: Philby, Orvis.

Torquay United (4-4-2): MacDon­ald; Wyn­ter, Koue Ni­ate, Cameron, Davis; Keat­ing (Wil­liams 66), Le­mon­heigh-Evans, An­drews, Kalala (Ed­wards 46/Nabi 96); Reid, Jan­neh; Subs not used: Sen­dles-White, Bur­ton; Book­ings: None; Ref­eree: Wayne Cart­mel (Beds); At­ten­dance: Not an­nounced.

Tom Sand­berg/PPAUK

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