BASINGSTOKE Town made it five wins in a row and progressed to the first round of the FA Trophy with a 3-1 victory over Ryman League Hampton and Richmond Borough.

It was comfortable in the end, with Town killing the game off in the second half, but the hosts were not at their best in the opening 45 minutes and struggled to cope with Hampton’s interesting shape.

Basingstoke’s second goal, scored on the stroke of half-time by Shaun McAuley, was the key moment. It came as Hampton were enjoying their best spell of the match and the timing gave them no chance to respond.


Town boss Jason Bristow was forced to make a change in midfield, replacing the suspended Matt Partridge with Neil Barrett. Otherwise, it was the same players and 4-4-2 formation that has served Basingstoke so well of late.

Hampton lined up in a cross between 4-4-2 and a diamond formation. Ex-Town man Stuart Lake sat in front of the back four, while James Simmonds played behind the front two. The other two midfielders played in wide areas but were less advanced than traditional wingers and had a license to move inside when required.

First Half

Basingstoke made a good start, with Nathan Smart an early threat from right-back. They enjoyed plenty of possession and territory, keeping the ball well and getting into good crossing positions, but the final ball was not quite good enough.

Barrett coming in for Partridge altered the balance of the midfield.

While Partridge had been occupying a fairly deep, defensive role, shielding the back four and offering an out ball for the centre-backs, Barrett is more of a box-to-box midfielder.

He gets forward well, at times getting beyond the strikers, but can find himself stranded high up the field, putting the defensive onus on central midfield partner Wes Daly.

He seemed to recognise this, rarely venturing forward, but Barrett’s bursts left space for James Simmonds, Hampton’s advanced central midfielder, who had a couple of early chances.

The visitors also posed a threat on the counter-attack, looking to get the ball in behind the Town defence for striker Charlie Moone to chase, while Town also created their own problems, conceding possession in dangerous areas.

Neither side was able to get on top in the opening 30 minutes, but Basingstoke grabbed the lead through Adam Green’s deflected strike on the half-hour.

Town seemed to relax after scoring, allowing the visitors to get on top. They became the first side to beat Louis Wells in more than seven hours of play when the impressive Dan Thompson headed home after Tommy Brewer had evaded Green on the right wing.

Spurred on by this, Hampton ended the half on top, winning the battle in midfield. Basingstoke seemed to panic defensively but held out and McAuley’s goal, scored very much against the run of play, had them ahead at half-time.

It was a nice goal, technically, aesthetically and tactically, with McAuley drifting off his position on the right wing to link up with the strikers, something he does well when asked to play out wide.

Second half

Town were forced to make a half-time change, Simon Dunn replacing the injured Green. Andrew Jenkinson, who had been a peripheral figure on the left wing, moved to left-back, with Dunn taking his place in midfield.

Dunn had an early impact, his mis-hit cross creating the third goal for Manny Williams thanks to a flick from Barrett, who was still getting forward.

That goal left Hampton with a mountain to climb and Town killed the game well, keeping possession for long spells to frustrate the opposition.

Paul Barry, Hampton’s joint manager, attempted to change things by bringing on two substitutes, but his changes had little impact on the game.

He introduced attacking players in place of defensive ones but didn’t change his side’s shape, instead asking players to operate out of position. His strangest decision was to ask Thompson, who looked a threat in attack and was Hampton’s stand-out performer, to play on the left wing for the last 15 minutes.


Town did what was required to progress and it was fairly comfortable in the end, but it remains to be seen how a central midfield made up of just Daly and Barrett will fare against the better sides in the Conference South.

Simmonds was unable to make the most of the space afforded to him and, as shown in Town’s defeat to Havant and Waterlooville, giving players space between defence and midfield can be a recipe for disaster.

Basingstoke face a really big test on Saturday, travelling to Ebbsfleet United. Town nearly won when the sides met at the Camrose two months ago but they were thoroughly outplayed by the visitors, who lacked a cutting edge.

That problem may have been solved as main striker Ben May has recovered from injury and Town must make sure they are not over-run in the centre of the park.