When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Town dominate possession but lack attacking width
WELCOME to a new weekly feature focussing on the tactics behind Basingstoke Town’s games.
Last Saturday saw Town beaten 1-0 by visiting Hayes and Yeading United, who produced a classic away performance, soaking up pressure and hitting their hosts on the break.
Town manager Jason Bristow stuck with the midfield diamond he had employed against both Bromley and Weston-super-Mare, with Wes Daly anchoring the midfield and Shaun McAuley trying to exploit the space between the Hayes defence and midfield.
Hayes operated an unbalanced 3-5-2 formation, with Louis Soares playing very high on the right and Tom Bird more conservative on the left.
Basingstoke dominated possession and territory throughout the opening 45 minutes, playing at a much higher tempo than the visitors, who were content to sit back, allow Town to have the ball and play on the counter-attack.
The hosts made the most of this, using their extra man in the centre of midfield to pass the ball around their opponents, with McAuley causing problems between the lines. However, they were unable to turn this dominance into chances as Hayes defended well.
The most interesting battle was on Town’s left wing. Soares and Adam Green were expected to provide much of the width for their respective teams, but also had to keep an eye on each other when out of possession.
It was a battle that Green won. The Basingstoke left-back got into several good crossing positions, it was his ball in that could have led to a penalty when Kezie Ibe seemed to be held in the box, while also managing to marshal the dangerous Soares.
The issue forced Hayes to make a tactical change, switching Soares with striker Sebastian Schoburgh, who was more diligent when it came to tracking back.
The pattern of the first half continued after the break as Town dominated possession without really threatening, while Hayes created better chances on the counter.
Basingstoke’s problems were exacerbated by Schoburgh’s shackling of Green, which left the hosts bereft of any attacking width, something that has been an issue all season.
Wes Daly, Basingstoke’s designated playmaker, seemed to get frustrated, attempting difficult long passes at the expense of ball retention.
Having opened the scoring, Hayes were more than happy to stick to their counter-attacking plan – and Town ran out of ideas late on, reduced to launching the ball up towards substitute Robbie Matthews.
This was a game Town should not have lost. They were comfortable for long spells but didn’t create one clear chance throughout the match.
The problem was a lack of width in attacking areas, something that has been an issue all season. Half of Town’s 16 goals this season have come from set-pieces, so they are clearly strong in the air, but they are not getting enough crosses into the box from open play.
This could be remedied by making use of the 3-5-2 system employed by Hayes. In this system, the full-backs, and Green in particular, would naturally find themselves higher up the pitch, while the addition of a third centre-back may also make it easier for Town to play the ball out from the back.