BASINGSTOKE Town opened their home pre-season campaign with an impressive performance, holding League One Yeovil Town to a 1-1 draw at the Camrose on Saturday.
The hosts more than held their own against a side relegated from the Championship at the end of last season. They had goalkeeper Stuart Moore and some wasteful Yeovil finishing to thank for keeping them in the game during the latter stages of the first half, but were the better side after the break.
The introduction of Moore, who Town are hoping to sign on a season-long loan from Reading, was one of four changes to the Town side that had started against Winchester City four days earlier. Tom Bird, Lloyd Macklin and Shaun McAuley also came in, with Louie Soares, Borj Camacho and Sam Argent dropping to the bench.
Bird almost made a somewhat inauspicious start, heading onto the roof of his own net in the first minute, but otherwise, it was the hosts on the front foot in the early stages.
Macklin saw a shot blocked and Simon Dunn fired narrowly wide, before Yeovil mounted their first attack on note after 15 minutes.
They had two big chances to score, with former Truro and Dorchester striker Kieffer Moore denied by Stuart Moore in the Town goal after doing brilliantly to control a long ball into the area, while Sam Hoskins headed a guilt-edged chance wide seconds later.
Basingstoke had their best chance of the early stages soon after, but McAuley scuffed wide after getting in behind the defence, before Yeovil went straight up the other end and Moore made a top save to keep out Sam Foley’s acrobatic effort.
The goalkeeper was in action again just before the half-hour mark, denying Hoskins from point-blank range, but he could not prevent the same player opening the scoring from the resulting corner. Town failed to clear their lines and Liam Enver-Marum’s loose touch fell perfectly for Hoskins to slot past Moore.
The visitors had further opportunities to add to their lead before the break, with Brendon Moloney smashing a low ball across the face of goal and Jacob Sokolik heading a corner wide.
Yeovil changed their entire team at the break, while Town went out for the second half unchanged, but it was the visitors who had the first opportunity after the break, Camel Chergi volleying wide at the far post.
However, Basingstoke levelled the game on 52 minutes, Manny Williams forcing the ball home from close range during a scramble after McAuley had hit the post.
Bristow made eight changes just before the hour, but the game remained a good contest.
Louie Soares saw his shot deflected off-targer, while Yeovil’s Matteo Lanzoni headed wide from a corner, but Argent should have put the hosts ahead 11 minutes from time.
Excellent work from Julian Owusu saw him outmuscle a defender before squaring for Argent. He had time to take a touch, but his attempt to curl the ball home was a poor one that floated harmlessly wide.
Moore twice made saves to deny Luke Clarke from long range in the closing stages, with Soares shooting too close to Gareth Stewart in the Yeovil goal in between as the game ended in a creditable draw.
Click here to see a post-match interview with Basingstoke Town manager Jason Bristow
Stuart Moore – 9 out of 10
An excellent debut for the Reading youngster, who had little chance with the goal and made several impressive saves.
Nathan Smart – 7
A steady afternoon for Basingstoke Town’s Mr Reliable.
Tom Bird – 6
Almost scored an own goal in the first minute. Not really troubled after that.
Andrew Jenkinson – 8
An intelligent display from the midfielder, who was disciplined defensively and passed the ball well.
Jay Gasson – 6
Untroubled until forced off with an ankle problem in the first half.
Robbie Rice – 7
A steady afternoon for the dependable defender. Played the full 90 minutes.
Simon Dunn – 6
Did nothing wrong but was unable to drive forward from midfield as he would have liked.
Shaun McAuley – 7
Showed some nice touches and got into scoring positions, but failed to make the most of two good opportunities.
Liam Enver-Marum – 5
Got little change out of the Yeovil defence. His mistake set up the visitors’ goal.
Lloyd Macklin – 7
Well marshalled by the visitors but caused a few problems with his pace and power.
Manny Williams – 8
Worked hard throughout and was rewarded with a poacher’s goal.
Louie Soares (for McAuley 60min) – 8
A very lively display. Committed Yeovil defenders and created opportunities.
Kieran Maylen (for Smart 60min) – 7
A solid display at right-back. Could play more of a role in the squad this season.
Sam Argent (for Enver-Marum 60min) – 7
Good hold-up and link-up play but fluffed his golden chance to get on the scoresheet.
Chris Flood (for Williams 60min) – 6
Didn’t look entirely comfortable playing at the point of a midfield diamond but worked hard.
Julian Owusu (for Macklin 60min) – 8
Caused problems with his pace, power and work-rate.
Borj Camacho (for Bird 60min) – 7
Another solid display from the Spanish left-back.
Romeo Agebane (for Gasson 36min) – 7
Centre-back looked confident and assured throughout.
Ryan Scott (for Jenkinson 60min) – 7
A no-thrills holding midfielder. The former Aldershot, Totton and Gosport man broke up play and started attacks well.
Josh Drew (for Dunn 60min) – 6
Showed some nice touches, but the game passed him by.
Yeovil Town: Krysiak (sub Stewart 45min), Moloney (sub Smith 45min), Davis (sub Lanzoni 45min), Edwards (sub Brooks 45min), Sokolik (sub Twumasi 45min), Martin (sub D’Arth 45min), Dawson (sub Clarke 45min), Berrett (sub Ralph 45min), Moore (sub Chergui 45min), Hoskins (sub Takyi 45min), Foley (sub Hayter 45min).