On a cold Saturday afternoon Basingstoke Town took on struggling Staines Town. In the previous fixture at the Wheatsheaf Park, Basingstoke ran out 3-0 victors, so fans were hopeful going into the game.
At 3.05pm the first of the thirteen goals rattled the net. It was Zidan Akers making it 1-0. Man-of-the-match, Manny Williams, picked out the winger who shifted the ball onto his right boot and struck it past the keeper.
Most of the attacks in the early stages were coming down that right-hand side that Akers held. He was once again found in space, as Staines were determined to leave four attackers up at all times. Akers’ counter-attack eventually fell to Williams, but the shot rolled just wide.
An equaliser had seemed unlikely but arrived when stand-in captain Sam Deadfield deflected a low cross into his own net. The Dragons looked to come back stronger, as tricky winger Sam Smart had the beating of the full-backs. His curling cross evaded everyone in the six-yard area. Deadfield collected the loose ball and laid it back to Williams whose effort clipped the outside of the post. Deadfield soon went close himself as a short corner routine left him free in the box. His shot was heading towards the top corner but a good save from Dixon kept him out.
The first booking of the game was for Dan Collier, his foul just outside the Basingstoke area allowing Jack Torbett to step up and deliver a wonderfully curled free kick just out of the reach of McGill to put the away side into a 1-2 lead.
Basingstoke started to turn the screw in response, repeatedly cutting Staines open. Deadfield’s low shot was too strong for Dixon who recovered in time to smother Sam Argent’s rebound and then seconds later Deadfield was involved again as his defence splitting pass found Smart. The winger smashing his shot inches wide of the post. The next chance fell for Akers who went through one-on-one but lifted the ball above both keeper and crossbar. Smart then showed the Camrose fans some brilliant skill, sitting two defenders down in front of goal with great composure but his shot didn’t beat Dixon who spread himself well.
The pressure finally told late in the first half. This time Deadfield rolled a perfectly weighted pass back to Williams and he directed the ball into the top corner before Argent got his name on the score sheet ninety seconds later, playing a clever one-two with Williams and driving low through a packed penalty box to make it 3-2 at half time.
An acrobatic way to start the second half, as Argent tried an overhead kick. His wonderful attempt was for nothing, as the linesman had ruled him offside but just seven minutes into the second half Williams was once again found by Deadfield and a wonderful curled effort beat the despondent Swans goalkeeper. The two-goal cushion didn’t last long though as Andy Ali tried a hopeful cross that flew over McGill and into the roof of the net for 4-3.
Basingstoke replied quickly, a fifth goal for the home side coming from Argent. Once again Williams was involved, winning the ball out wide. His early cross found Argent eight yards out and he duly placed the ball into the bottom corner for his second of the afternoon.
Williams was soon given a chance to complete his hat-trick after a handball in the area following a scrappy piece of play. Williams stepped up, placed it to the keepers left, only for Dixon to get two strong hands to it and push it away. It didn’t matter though as just a few moments later Basingstoke got their sixth goal. Smart worked his magic once again on the right side, drilling a low pacey cross that Veron Kokurinkov turned into his own goal.
Williams was on hand yet again for the seventh goal. Smart’s low shot was parried out to Williams. The Sierra Leone international laid it back to Deadfield who rolled it into the bottom corner with his wand of a left foot.
Another man looking for a goal, Collier had a strong effort cleared off the line as the relentless hosts refused to let up.
With the game was entering the final 15 minutes, Ollie Harris collected his first goals for the club, twice arriving to tap in after Smart cut the ball back from the goal line as the Dragons marched into a 9-3 lead.
Smart finally notched a deserved goal late on. Williams played him through down the right hand side and he calmly slotted the ball across Dixon to round off a memorable 10-3 win.