Victory on Tuesday night meant that Martin Kuhl’s winning run as Manager of BFC continues as Basingstoke came out on top in League Cup Match against Walton Casuals with the home side winning 2-1.
Martin’s first success in charge came exacting revenge against fellow local club Hartley Wintney when Ben Wright’s brace secured Basingstoke a place in the quarter final of the Hampshire Senior Cup as they won 1-3.
He followed his away success with a win at home beating Hendon 2-1: Sam Deadfield’s goal and assist giving Kuhl’s home debut all three points.
In Tuesday night’s match, two goals in each half from strike duo Ben Wright and Sam Argent wrapped up a 2-1 victory over Walton Casuals and ensured Martin maintained his 100% winning record.
It was Wright who was given the nod to start in a lone striker role, joined by Zidan Akers and Sam Smart on either side of him. Charlie Kennedy slotted into a central defensive role with set-piece specialist Dean Stow deployed in midfield.
There was a passive opening to the game as both sides settled on the ball early on. The visitors then had a few half chances from two successive corners, one of which caused pinball and commotion in the box. Town then sparked into life, finding plenty of space along the right flank. Sam Smart beat his man on more than one occasion, but his crosses could not find the awaiting Wright or Deadfield.
Calamity at the back for Walton allowed Basingstoke to take the lead just after 30 minutes. A skewed backpass was fumbled by the goalkeeper straight into the path of Wright who only had to tap home and did so softly with his head.
The visitors looked to respond instantly with Tauream Roberts threatening on both wings. He whipped in an inch-perfect cross but there was no one in the box to meet it. They again looked primed to equalise, launching a counter attack but the final pass was too heavy, allowing Colm McAdden to swiftly avert the danger. A second counter attack, this time 3-on-3, ended with James Ewington’s shot being struck straight into the arms of McAdden.
A second defensive lapse then allowed Akers to charge into the box, one-on-one with the goalkeeper, though the winger’s effort was a tame one and all too easy for Walton’s number one. The chance of the half fell to Ewington right before half-time, outpacing and beating Rob Gerrard before opening up and shooting, forcing McAdden into a top class save.
Martin Kuhl made a premeditated change at half-time as Sam Argent appeared for the second-half, replacing Wright.
Five minutes into the half, a golden chance for the visitors. Fullback Harry Mills slotted a delightfully timed ball past Basingstoke’s defence for the tricky Ewington. He only had McAdden to beat but his side-footed effort flew wide. Walton’s equaliser then came six minutes later. Gerrard was clattered down but the referee played on and let the visitors counter quickly. They passed their way into the box before Mills fired home.
With just over 20 minutes remaining, Harry Philby was introduced for Akers, allowing Kennedy to push up back into midfield. The midfield enforcer was lucky to not come away with a serious injury after a rash challenge by captain Joe Hicks near the half way line. The referee deemed a yellow was enough but it could easily have been a different colour on another day.
A frantic few minutes then followed with Smart clattering the post with an effort from a difficult angle. The Casuals then had another counter attack which saw Ewington one-on-one with McAdden again. The keeper left his line early but that was enough to put the striker off as he drilled it wide.
Smart took the ball in his stride shortly after, weaving his way into the Walton box. He cut in on his right, forcing a save from the visiting keeper but Argent was there to bury it. The striker made no mistake and gave the home side the lead once again.
A long-shot from Kyron Farrell was the last chance either side really had as the game petered into additional time, Town looking resilient in their aim to see the game out. It’s a third win in as many games for Martin Kuhl as Basingstoke progress to the 3rd round of the CSS League Cup, where they will face Hartley Wintney yet again!