PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION
SATURDAY 22ND OCTOBER 2022
UXBRIDGE 1 BASINGSTOKE TOWN 2 (HT 0-1)
Uxbridge will be frustrated at losing their unbeaten home record against Basingstoke Town on Saturday, after having to play almost 45 minutes with ten men. The dismissal of left-back Maurice Nugent, for two yellows, just after half-time proving a mountain too big to climb. The Reds welcomed back Babs Jarra and Scott Donnelly, who were unable to make the trip to Guernsey. The unavailable Victor Osobu and the injured Mark Goodman making way. Mark Bitmead made his first league start of the campaign, Kensley Maloney dropping to the bench.
Uxbridge started brightly and had four attempts on The Stoke goal in the opening 12 minutes. Bitmead having two attempts saved by Mark Scott, Donnelly and Alex Witham also went close with shots from outside the area. The home side didn’t have things all their own way though, as the visitors also caused problems, forcing a number of corners in the opening exchanges. After a frenetic start the game fizzled out in is intensity and it wasn’t until the 32nd minute that it sprung back into life. Nugent’s innocuous tackle on George Reid was deemed serious enough for the defender to receive a caution from Daniel D’Urso. Ezio Touray took aim with the free-kick and Tyler Tobin will be disappointed that shot sailed over him and into the net. Basingstoke almost doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time. Another free-kick into the box found Billy Upton who guided a header towards the far-post, only to see it rebound off the woodwork and Uxbridge managed to clear the danger. After such a positive start The Reds seemed to lose their way and half-time was reached with the visitors leading 1-0.
The second period got off to the worst possible start for the hosts as Nugent once again tangled with Reid and the referee produced a second yellow card. Who says lightening doesn’t strike twice as The Stoke doubled their lead from the free-kick. The cross into the box eluded everyone, apart from Touray who pounced from close range to place the ball into the roof of the net. Uxbridge had now gone over 40 minutes without an attempt on goal and Danny Edwards made a double substitution to try and lift the home side. Gareth Chendlik and Josh Andrew replacing Dan Williams and Elliott Poley, respectively. These changes certainly had the desired effect as Uxbridge dominated the final 25 minutes, creating chance after chance. Witham fired over from the edge of the box in the 65th minute as the ten men took charge of the match. Four minutes later Chendlik won a free-kick and was unlucky to see his header from Donnelly’s set-piece come back off the upright. In a rare Stoke attack Tobin had to be alert to deny Touray his hat-trick, pushing the strikers goal-bound effort away from danger. With 12 minutes remaining Uxbridge halved the visitors lead with a sublime near post volley from the dangerous Bitmead. Chendlik receiving the ball
out wide before delivering a killer cross for his strike partner. Game on. It was all Uxbridge now, Bitmead testing Scott with a shot from 16 yards, which he dealt with comfortably. With 5 minutes remaining Donnelly’s cross found its way to Joe Jackson at the far post. His first touch was perfect and as Scott raced to close down the angle the midfielder took aim only for Scott’s back leg to divert the ball for a corner. From the dead-ball kick Witham’s half-volley just cleared the crossbar. With almost 90 minutes up on the clock Scott saved, literally, his best for last. Bitmead’s cross was headed into the path of Witham by Chendlik. His low shot towards the corner of the net seemed destined to earn the Reds a point. However, the Stoke custodian reached out his right-arm and somehow made sure the 3 points returned to Hampshire. An appeal for handball in the 96th minute failed to impress the man in black and The Reds unbeaten home record was no more. Uxbridge had 11 attempts on goal in the last 25 minutes and they will be looking to replicate that kind of form if they are to challenge for promotion. Full Time 1-2.
Uxbridge Line-up: Tobin, Poley, Nugent, Jarra, O’Brien, Jackson, Donnelly, Hedley, Williams, Bitmead, Witham. Subs Used: Andrew for Poley, Chendlik for Williams, Maloney for O’Brien. Not Used: Seabrook, Talla.