BASINGSTOKE Town and Bishop’s Stortford both moved a point closer to securing Conference South safety with a goal-less draw at the Camrose on Saturday.
With both sides ensconced in mid-table and having little to play for, there was no tempo or intensity to the game, making for an appalling spectacle.
Town manager Jason Bristow made just one change, but it was an interesting one, with captain Wes Daly dropping to the bench and centre-back Ross Adams coming in as the hosts switched to a 3-5-2 formation.
The game kicked off at 3.07pm, following a minute’s silence to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsbrough disaster, but there was little action of note in the early stages.
The first real effort came from Town’s Louie Soares, whose low shot was comfortably saved by Joe Wright on 17 minutes, while the same player then put an attempted lob over the crossbar.
A better chance fell to former Bishop’s Stortford man Liam Enver-Marum, who got on the end of Nathan Smart’s low centre but could only drag his effort wide.
However, on the whole, chances were few and far between and Town failed to pass the ball through midfield.
Soares had another opportunity towards the end of the half, but his low shot went across the face of the Stortford goal and wide, while the visitors’ best effort came from Brian Woodall, who headed wide at the far post.
The change of ends saw Stortford get the benefit of a blustery wind in the second period, but they too were unable to make the most of it.
Town’s cause suffered a blow when they lost Enver-Marum to injury on 51 minutes, and it was the visitors who had the better chances to snatch all three points.
Cliff Akurang headed over when the hosts failed to clear their lines, while Robbie Rice had to hack a corner clear from inside his own six-yard box.
Akurang was Stortford’s most dangerous player and he had further chances, heading over when Louis Wells flapped at a corner and firing high after out-muscling Jay Gasson.
Soares got in behind the visiting defence during a rare foray forward for Town, but he elected to pass rather than shoot and his pull-back was cut out.
Akurang could have stolen all three points for his side in the final minutes, having two good chances. He volleyed the first over when Town failed to deal with a free-kick, while Wells was forced to make the first real save of the game in injury-time, palming away the forward’s angled drive.
Click here to see a post-match interview with Basingstoke Town manager Jason Bristow.
Basingstoke Town: Wells, Rice, Green, Jenkinson, Gasson, Adams, Smart, McAuley, Enver-Marum (sub Ibe 57min), Williams, Soares. Subs (not used): Matthews, Daly, Johnson-Schuster, Barrett.
Bishop’s Stortford: Wright, Richens, Herd, Francis, McNaughton, Milbourne (sub Melaugh 54min) (sub Fagbohun 54min), Johnson, Cutler, Woodall (sub Baker 54min), Akurang, Prestledge. Subs (not used): Cowler.