New era begins at Stockbridge Rec

New boy Dean Smith scored from distance on Saturday

New boy Dean Smith scored from distance on Saturday

First published in Sport

Stockbridge 5 Basingstoke T Academy 3.

Thursday night saw Stockbridge FC enter a new era at the Rec with their first pre-season game.

For Stockbridge manager Dean Hutchins, it was a first chance to see his new look Robins perform against the Youth Conference Alliance side and he was certainly not dissapointed.

With only two familiar faces in returning captain Jack Hutchings and club favourite Dave Cotter, the new manager was keen to show off his recent signings, in what turned out to be a pleasing first performance.

From the outset Stockbridge dominated possession and eight minutes in were rewarded when Cotter latched onto a Hutchings pass, dispatching a drive.

After 20 minutes they made it two when Brad Craney linked with Nick Chandler, whos pass found the on-coming Dean Smith down the left, who lashed home from 25 yards.

Basingstoke then began to settle with midfielder Chad Goulter finding Joel Field who forced a smart save from Alex Thompson.

They made the breakthrough on 25 minutes when Goulter buried a free-kick past unsighted Thompson.

Ashley Childs always looked threatening and with Jazz Beavis and Hutchings in support, forced several saves from the Basingstoke keeper.

Just before the break Beavis skipped several challenges to find Craney who stabbed in the Robins' third.

Several changes at half- time gave more of the squad a chance to impress and it wasnt long until Ryan Steele made his mark to make it four guiding in a free-kick which Town keeper Jack O’Grady could only admire.

Basingstoke were then gifted a goal on the hour but Stockbridge scored their fifth with ten minutes left through Tommy Burton’s powerful header.

Basingstoke scored their third, two minutes from time.

After the game Hutchins said: “Tonight was a great chance for myself and Jason Mussellwhite to see how the new squad worked together and gave us an opportunity to look at players that maybe we havent completely made our mind up on.

'Tonight we made some silly mistakes but if im honest its to be expected during pre-season.

‘Basingstoke are a good side, who can really play some great stuff, but tonight we didnt give them a chance and that was the difference.

‘I think the score flattered them a little but they never gave up and that is testament to them and their manager Jason Bristow, a man I have so much respect for.”

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