Hampshire Senior Cup Final

AFC Bournemouth 0

Basingstoke Town 0

*Basingstoke Town win 7-6 on penalties

Attendance: 1,566

St Mary’s Stadium (Southampton FC)

Another 0-0, that is my first thought fresh after the game writing this blog post. My last (and only other) 0-0 this season came in this exact same stadium in front of roughly the same amount of people. The Southampton Under 23 game back in March wrecked a superb 128 game run of games without a goalless game and I was half expecting not to see another this season.

However, I have been back to St Mary’s once since and saw Manchester City run out 3-0 winners over Saints, obviously the 0-0 in March was just a blip.

Nothing about tonight’s game gave me any sort of inclination that it would end goalless. One thing I didn’t realise was that there was no extra time in this particular cup competition, some people wouldn’t, but if the only goal came in extra time, I would still count it as a score game. The straight to penalties format makes it more likely to have no goals in 90 minutes before the fixture being decided on spot kicks.

I have lost count of the amount of times I have been to St Mary’s since my first trip back in September 2012 (a League Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday). I was also intrigued to see what sort of line up AFC Bournemouth were going to play. No recognisable names despite Eddie Howe watching from the executive boxes at the top of the Itchen Stand.

I haven’t seen any AFC Bournemouth side play since January 2013 when the Cherries were in League One (and playing my team, Crewe Alexandra). As for Basingstoke Town, this was my third time watching them, once last season (a National League South fixture with Sutton United) and this season in the FA Cup against Hungerford Town.

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The Game

Antonio Diaz missed the decisive penalty in sudden death to crown Southern League side Basingstoke Town 2017 Hampshire Senior Cup winners with a dramatic 7-6 shootout victory.

The young Cherries side rode their luck for much of the game before eventually losing out to a spirited Town side managed by former AFC Wimbledon boss Terry Brown.

Basingstoke ‘keeper Alex Tokarczyk saved two penalties in the shootout including Diaz’s final effort.

The ball crossed the line within two minutes of the game when Cherries ‘keeper Callum Stanton fumbled George Bennett’s cross over the line, however his blushes were spared with the linesman already flagging for a corner, Bennett’s cross had taken a slight deflection, going out of play before finding its way into Stanton’s no so safe hands.

Basingstoke were having the better of the early chances, going wide on a couple of occasions before Stanton had to push Aaron Jarvis’ effort around the post to keep the scores level.

The woodwork saved Bournemouth as Nana Owusu sent a cross into the box which reached full back Marcus Johnson-Schuster who had pushed up into an attacking position to rattle the crossbar with his effort. Ashleigh Artwell was in the right place to nod in the rebound but he got it horribly wrong as he saw his header bounce off the top of the bar and out.

Stanton then had to produce another top class save to push out Owusu’s effort that was curling into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Bournemouth’s first real chance of the game could easily have been a goal when Jake McCarty unleashed a rocket of a shot from 30-yards that pinged straight off the crossbar.

Basingstoke always looked the more threatening of the sides and Artwell should have put his side ahead but the Bournemouth back line did well to block two shots in quick succession.

Bailey Cargill flashed a shot just wide of the post as Bournemouth wasted their few chances in front of goal with neither side able to break the deadlock in the first half.

Early in the second half, Basingstoke captain David Ray was booked for a foul on Cherries winger Mikael Ndjoli on the edge of the box. The wall blocked the initial free kick before Cargill sent the follow up at goal, only for Tokarczyk to block before pouncing on the loose ball.

The Cherries were claiming for a penalty when Ndjoli raced through on goal but Tokarczyk got enough of a hand to the ball to take it off the feet of the Bournemouth attacker.

Both sides were wasteful in attack and Robert Atkinson couldn’t keep his header down from Bennett’s corner.

With time ticking away, Bournemouth’s Kyle Taylor slipped in possession, leaving Jarvis and substitute Sam Deadfield to race towards goal. Jarvis maybe should have picked out his teammate but instead took the shot himself that Stanton was able to push over the bar.

As Basingstoke pushed on in the final moments, Kieran Greene blazed a shot just over the bar, meaning penalties awaited both sides to decide the match. There was a clear-cut penalty shout for Basingstoke as Deadfield floated the ball into the box that appeared to have hit Ollie Harfield’s hand, however the referee waved away any protests.

In stoppage time, there was still more controversy as Owusu sent a strong shot at Stanton who fumbled the ball that appeared to have crossed the line before Stanton dramatically dived to push it away from goal.

Penalties were needed and with the score at 2-1 to Basingstoke, Tokarczyk saved Jack Simpson’s spot kick before Matt Partridge increased the lead to 3-1 to Town.

At 4-3, George Bennett had to score to win the tie, however he saw his effort saved by Stanton and Matt Worthington forced sudden death. The next five penalties were dispatched with style, Basingstoke’s Charlie Kennedy netting Town’s seventh and when Diaz missed the next kick it was all over.

2016/17 Games: 128

2016/17 Grounds: 67 (10)

Total Ground Visited: 157 (41)

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