Traco Athletic’s dreams of reaching a cup final, and the high expectations of the boss man’s to win at least one cup competition this term, were dashed at the hands – or rather feet – of Basingstoke United.
Hampshire Cup Third Round action, sponsored by Trophies4U, beckoned. Saturday saw the “Aldershot boys” make the trip, just north of half-an-hour, to Basingstoke. This was after clinching a win in a very much closely contested encounter in the Isle of Wight against East Cowes Victoria Athletic’s Reserve side.
The talk in the dressing room was, apart from the blaring music, of Morgan’s choice of a very blurry picture for “effect”. It can be said that no-one was quite meeting his intelligence and understanding the purposeful effect behind this fuzzed-out pic.
That said, his excellent services were called into action, in setting up cones (with rather confusing instructions from the “little helper”, thus seeking further guidance from the so-called ‘boss man’) for the mighty warm-up. Did this have any purposeful effect?! Most definitely, I would say.
And onto the game… Traco’s Cameron Gittoes was called into action, after an awkward bounce had Basingstoke’s marked 9 hitting it first time – with the chance of catching him snoozing – but in the end, it was an easy save for the Traco stopper. Just before this, the home side had a half-decent chance to put away, in order to take an early lead, but the shot strayed wide of the post.
The 15th minute marked a golden opportunity for the visitors. Chuter, through his surging run, weaved his way past three defenders, cutting sharply inside and weaving his way into the area, only to be chopped down unlawfully. The result was a spot kick. Connor Burley, after Mac’s miss by a yard in the previous round, was elected as the man to step up. It was not too far away, pinging his kick just high, and just a matter of yards wide of the post. The very same man had us gasping for our breath, as Chuter was again hacked down, but this time outside. Burley, with vice-skipper Mac at side (probably the unlucky charm!), hit the set piece with power and accuracy, but was just off-target.
Unfortunately for Traco, they went into the interval one down. Four minutes before the close of the half, a ball fed from the heart of the Basingstoke defence opened up an opportunity for the ever-present 9, who bolted onto the end of the long through ball and had Gittoes darting out to close him down, but was cool and composed with the finish, spotting and slotting through a gap between Gittoes’ legs. HT: 1-0.
It would have been two, had it not been for stopper Gittoes, in the first minute of the second half. Traco failed to keep tabs of the bursting runs of 9 and almost paid the price for a second time, racing into the box and rounding Gittoes, who tried to stand him off and superbly pulled out the stop.
I don’t believe we had seen such a player yet this season. United’s 9 was again a pain to defend against, but this time a semi-long range effort from him had Gittoes beaten, with the frame of the post coming to the rescue for the visitors.
Chance squandered; WHAT A CHANCE! Dumitrache dashed, and rather selfishly – with team-mates either side of him – unleashed a shot at goal, but the goalkeeper made a comfortable save.
With just under 25 left on the clock, a corner delivered at slightly above jumping height, was spilled by Gittoes, after it was looked like he was pushed, with the ball landing in the back of the net and despite appeals from the touchline, it was not called and subsequently stood as a goal. 2-0 it finished. I’ve chosen not to include any comments in reference to any other incidents, and those of you that were there, would know the person I have excluded from this report. In the late stages of the game, Basingstoke’s ‘you know who’ went for the smash and grab with his thundering strike, but Gittoes superbly and at full stretch, denied him and got his fingertips to it to turn it behind for a corner.
In the final (third) minute of added time, Benjamin was on the receiving end of a late challenge, which drew a yellow. The free kick was the final kick of the afternoon, knocking Traco out of their final cup competition this season. 2-0 FT.