BASINGSTOKE Town were reduced to 10 men and held to a goal-less draw by struggling Tonbridge Angels in a dire game at the Camrose on Tuesday night.
Neither side was able to take control of the match during a turgid first half. Town improved after the break, playing some better football, even after they had lost Wes Daly to a second yellow card, but it was Tonbridge who had late chances to nick all three points.
In truth, both teams will see the draw as two points lost. Basingstoke will feel they should be beating sides near the bottom of the table, particularly at home, while Tonbridge will see it as a missed opportunity after playing 25 minutes against 10 men.
Town were able to welcome back Shaun McAuley following a spell on the sidelines with a rib injury, and he had the first two chances of the match. A good pass from Daly resulted in Lewis Carey saving his shot from an acute angle, while he has handed an even better chance from Robbie Matthews’ flick, but sliced badly wide.
Both sides struggled for rhythm in a terrible opening 45 minutes, which got worse as it went on, with both sides punting the ball forward aimlessly.
Nathan Pinney had the visitors’ best chance but could not take advantage of a weak punch from Louis Wells, shooting straight at the home goalkeeper.
Another Daly pass had Louie Soares in behind at the other end, but his low centre was well defended by Sonny Miles, while Kezie Ibe made a complete hash of an attempted lob when in behind the Tonbridge defence.
Town managed to keep the ball a bit better after the break, but chances remained hard to come by. McAuley took a touch too many when set up by Ibe, while Soares saw his powerful shot blocked.
Things got more difficult for the hosts on 65 minutes. Daly checked the run of Nathan Green as he looked to break, and having already been shown a yellow card for a similar offence in the first half, he received a second and was sent off.
Tonbridge felt they should have had a penalty soon after, but referee Mark Pottage decided that Adam Green’s challenge on Mark Lovell was a fair one.
Despite being reduced to 10 men, Town continued to impose themselves on the game. McAuley was unfortunate to see two low crosses cut out before they could reach a team-mate, while Soares beat the offside trap but his final pass was lacking.
Wells had to make a save to keep out Henry Muggeridge’s shot, while a long kick from the goalkeeper set substitute Nathan Smart free. Carey did well to keep his powerful low shot out.
Tonbridge were able to build some pressure in the closing stages but could not find the net.
A training-ground corner routine resulted in Luis Cumbers’ shot being cleared off the line by Adam Green, with the resulting corner falling to Alex Teniola at the far post. It was a great chance, but the substitute blasted wastefully over from no more than six yards.
Click here to see a post-match video interview with Basingstoke Town manager Jason Bristow.
Basingstoke Town: Wells, Rice, Green, Jenkinson, Gasson, Ray, Daly, McAuley, Ibe (sub Smart 69min), Matthews, Soares. Subs (not used): Adams, Debattista, Johnson-Schuster, Holder-Spooner.
Tonbridge Angels: Carey, Muggeridge, Green, Lovell, Miles, Heath (sub Watts 45min), Cumbers, Browning, Pinney, Collins (sub Teniola 76min), Bakare. Subs (not used): Slocombe, Bolagi, Chalmers-Stevens.