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REPORT - Weston-super-Mare 1 Basingstoke Town 0
BASINGSTOKE Town’s excellent start to the Conference South season came to an end with a below-par performance and defeat at Weston-super-Mare on a hot bank holiday Monday afternoon in Somerset.
The visiting players may have wished they had gone to the nearby beach as they toiled in the heat for much of the match, chasing the ball as Weston kept possession excellently.
However, for all of their control, the hosts failed to really trouble Town defensively – getting the only goal of a low-key match when the visitors switched off from a free-kick.
Basingstoke never reached anything like the heights they had against Eastleigh two days earlier and appeared jaded, with the effort expended in beating Eastleigh, a long coach journey and the heat all taking their toll.
Bristow said: “We were not at the races from the word go really. We did not deserve anything but should have come away with a 0-0 draw.
“Our tempo was not high enough and we looked off the pace. We played too many straight balls and made the wrong decisions. We gave away too many free-kicks in dangerous areas and eventually they made us pay.”
The match soon settled into a pattern, with Weston passing the ball around well without really threatening the Town goal.
Playing a front three, Town found themselves outnumbered by Weston’s five-man midfield in the centre of the park, but the hosts struggled to get support to their lone striker, while Basingstoke were unable to get the ball to their attackers.
There was very little action throughout the first half as Weston were reduced to shots from distance, Ashley Kington firing over and then seeing his free-kick saved by Basingstoke goalkeeper Louis Wells.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first but as the sides tired, better chances were forthcoming.
Wells kept out Dayle Grubb’s shot from distance, while Martin Slocombe and Tristan Plummer also went close for the home side.
At the other end, only a good block prevented Rice getting a sliding effort on goal, while Jay Gasson’s header across goal was somehow smuggled away.
It always seemed that the game may well be decided by a single goal and it was the visitors who made the breakthrough. Town failed to react when a free-kick was knocked sideways for Grubb to strike and while Wells made the save, he could only push the ball out to Naby Diallo, who bundled it home from close range.
The visitors huffed and puffed late on but were unable to create any real chances of note. Their best opportunity came when Adam Green’s corner caused chaos in the Weston six-yard box – but the hosts were able to clear.
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