FA Cup Second Round Qualifying
Basingstoke Town 0
Hungerford Town 1
Former England internationals and the FA Cup, I can forgive anyone who may think this was the third round proper, however former Reading and Aston Villa left back Nicky Shorey was gracing a central midfield spot for Hungerford Town as they travelled to Southern Premier League side Basingstoke Town in the second round of qualifying.
Knowing that I would be travelling to Basingstoke in the evening anyway to watch the ice hockey team, Basingstoke Bison, the football team’s cup clash with Hungerford was a no brainer for a packed day of sport, that’s what Saturdays are for right?
Having already ticked off trips to Verwood, Wimborne and Fareham in the earlier rounds, I was continuing my FA Cup adventure heading north on the M3 for my second visit to the Ark Cancer Charity Stadium.
My first visit to the ground (formally The Camrose) came last season when relegation threatened Town were on the wrong side of a 2-1 score line to eventual National League South champions Sutton United back in February this year.
For the Southern Premier League, The Camrose is a pretty impressive venue for a step three club having dropped down from the National League South last season.
On entry you find yourself behind the goal, the only real uncovered area of the terrace; also behind the goal is a burger van (yum!) and a small cabin which acts as a club shop.
To the left is a covered terrace stretching the length of the pitch, with a few steps to allow a few rows of people, the cover doesn’t quite reach the pitch but on a windy but dry September Saturday, there was no issues.
Behind the opposite goal is more covered standing which was filled with the more rowdy of Basingstoke fans. On the right there was a small covered standing section set back away from the pitch and then the impressive main stand.
The main stand, similar to that at Fareham Town’s Cams Alders ground is raised high with steps leading up to the seats. With the dressing rooms and tunnel situated underneath. There was a £1 stand transfer fee to sit up there so I decided to stand pitch side for the game. A floodlight pillar on the half way line and a few support beams in the stand could obscure the view so pitch side was good enough for me!
Hungerford Town progressed to the next round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over lower league opposition Basingstoke Town. Stefan Brown’s first half penalty was enough to send the National League South side into the third qualifying round.
Basingstoke had dominated throughout the majority of the game but couldn’t find the back of the net in a match that was filled with excitement despite the low score.
Hungerford had the best of the early chances when Dragons ‘keeper Alex Tokarczyk saved well from Mike Jones before getting fingertips to James Clark’s shot to tip over the bar for a quick double save.
The game was frantic in the opening minutes as both teams settled into the encounter. Hungerford were lucky to not go behind when Diak John cleared off the line from a Basingstoke header.
Terry Brown’s men had a spell of dominance and Ashleigh Artwell was unfortunate to not get on the score sheet when he stung the hands of ‘keeper George Legg before Jones cleared the danger.
Rose then saw his direct header fall straight into the hands of Legg when he was left unmarked on a corner.
Hungerford were then awarded a penalty against the run of play when Nat Jarvis was pushed in the box by Marcus Johnson-Schuster following a deep cross from Matty Day. Stefan Brown stepped up to send the ‘keeper the wrong way to put his side in the lead.
Artwell had a chance to pull the scores level before the break but Legg saved again to keep his side ahead.
The match took a feisty turn after the restart with plenty of fouls in what was turning into a scrappy encounter. Basingstoke were on top without creating too much in the attacking third and Hungerford made a triple sub as they looked to hold on to their slender advantage.
The gave Hungerford a bit of an energy boost and Harry Goodger went close to scoring when his effort was straight at Tokarcyzk after taking advantage of both central defenders colliding with each other leaving a clear path to goal.
The introduction of Aaron Jarvis and George Hallahan added pace to the home side’s attack and they were giving the Crusaders something to think about. Hallahan curled a shot just wide of the post when some good play from George Bennett and Artwell crossed in to the substitute.
Basingstoke had all of the ball in the last 20 minutes as they threw men forward to force a replay. Hallahan had another great chance late on but his effort sailed over as Hungerford held on for grim death to secure their place in the next round.
2016/17 Games: 30
2016/17 Grounds: 29
Total Grounds Visited: 167
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