22 April 2024

Salisbury battle past Basingstoke

Salisbury returned to winning ways, inflicting Basingstoke Town’s first defeat in seven matches with a scrappy 2-1 win.

There was plenty of rain around before the game and the ground staff had done a great job in preparing the pitch to make sure the game went ahead in front of 1383 supporters.

Basingstoke arrived at the Ray Mac on an impressive run: five wins and one draw in their last six games, including beating second-placed Gosport and drawing with table-toppers Chesham United in their last two outings.

Salisbury got off to a bright start as a combination of good goalkeeping and goal-line blocks denied Salisbury an early goal. Josh Sommerton, Noah Coppin, and finally, Josh Hedges were all denied in the 5th minute.

Basingstoke were also causing problems, and Ryan Gosney did well to smother Stefan Brown’s effort after he broke into the box.

Basingstoke were denied as their effort was deflected wide for a second corner in quick succession, but this time, they capitalised.

Stefan Brown stole in at the near post and headed in an Elliott Bolton corner to give the Hampshire side the lead in the 16th Minute.

Midway through the first half, referee Chalie Bullock was forced to halt proceedings after it was decided that supporters were not behaving correctly. Safety staff wanted to separate supporters and called for segregation.

The Basingstoke supporters refused to move, but a line of stewards was put into place to keep the rival supporters apart. The game restarted with 28 minutes on the clock.

Salisbury were in the ascendancy as the half progressed, and it looked like Dan Fitchett might level things up when Coppin flicked on a good cross. However, Fitchett couldn’t apply the finish and the ball span past the upright in the 35th minute.

Salisbury then had a great chance to level after referee Bullock determined that a challenge that stopped Coppin heading home from point black range was worthy of a penalty.

Noah Coppin stepped up and slotted home cooly in the 45 minute, lifting the ball into the top of the net as Simon Grant went the wrong way.

Coppin levels things up from the spot (Image: Michael Berkeley)

The referee added 8 minutes to the end of the half, ending with both sides level at one goal apiece.

The second half started with both sides keeping each other at arm’s length, though Salisbury had to be aware on the hour mark, blocking two quickfire Basingstoke efforts.

It took until the 80th minute for Salisbury to unpick the resolute Basingstoke defence when Aaron Simpson sent Josh Hedges free in the box; his low cross found Noah Coppin, who put the ball past Grant for his and Salisbury’s second of the game.

Two for Coppin and for Salisbury (Image: Michael Berkeley)

Salisbury defended well for the remainder of the game, threatening occasionally on the break, but had Gosney and Charlie Gunson to thank for two good blocks in the 97th minute as Basingstoke threatened deep in injury time.

The result keeps Salisbury in 3rd, level on points with second-placed Gosport Borough, whose better goal difference keeps them above the Whites.

Salisbury travel to newly crowned champions Chesham United on Saturday (8th April). With five games of the regular season remaining, they are continuing to push for the playoff spots.

Current League standings:

CChesham United38+4187
2Gosport Borough37+3070
4AFC Totton36+3066
5Merthyr Town37+2260

Written by
Andy Munns
View all articles
Written by Andy Munns