Vanarama Conference South Play Off Semi Final; Second Leg
Basingstoke Town FC 0-1 Whitehawk FC
Saturday 2 May 2015
Shots: BAS 5-16 WHK; On Target: BAS 2-7 WHK; Corners: BAS 5-8 WHK; Fouls Committed: BAS 17-14 WHK; Offside: BAS 0-0 WHK. Cautions: BAS 0-4 WHK; Red Cards: BAS 0-0 WHK.
Attendance: 1, 749
By Anthony Scott
Whitehawk will face Boreham Wood for a place in next season’s Vanarama National League after a fully deserved win at Basingstoke Town.
Jake Robinson got the game’s only goal – a stunning strike from at least 25 yards – to give Steve King’s side a 1-0 victory on the day, and a 2-1 win on aggregate.
The Hawks will go to Meadow Park next weekend (May 9) in the Play Off Final after Boreham Wood drew 2-2 against Havant & Waterlooville – going through 4-2 on aggregate.
Steve King named an unchanged starting eleven, and even an unchanged subs bench, as the visitors made the better start.
Robinson found some space outside the penalty area, but his effort went straight at Stuart Moore for the first shot of the match within a minute of kick off.
Sam Deering then passed a great chance to give King’s side the lead inside the first ten minutes when Nathan Smart lost his footing at right back to give the Hawks’ No. 7 a clear run through on goal down the left, but rather than passing to an unmarked Danny Mills, he went for goal himself only to have his low effort turned around his near post by Moore.
However, it was the hosts who came closest to breaking the deadlock inside the first twenty minutes when Louie Soares whipped in a great free kick from the left and he picked out Chris Flood in the centre, but his header came back off the post before Whitehawk scrambled the ball clear.
Despite that, the Hawks continued to be in the driving seat as Osei Sankofa fired just wide with a spectacular volley before referee Constantine Hatzidakis somehow failed to point to the spot after what appeared to be a clear penalty. John-Paul Kissock turned away from Ray after a throw-in and looked to be hauled down by the defender, but Hatzidakis pointed to a goal kick and no foul.
Moore then did well to save from Sergio Torres from 18 yards after being teed up by Mills, before Basingstoke came so close to going ahead five minutes before the break.
Tom Bird whipped in a corner from the right and picked out the run of Rob Dickie, but his near post header was cleared off the line by Nick Arnold.
So, the tie remained locked at 1-1 on aggregate – 0-0 on the day – as the second half kicked off, and the Hawks certainly wasted no time in turning the screw.
Deering saw his effort saved by Moore from the edge of the area, before Scott Neilson dragged his low shot just wide of the far post.
However, the breakthrough came with 51 minutes on the clock. Robinson picked the ball up at least 25 yards out, and the striker hit a sensational strike that gave Moore no chance.
The Hawks were dominant in the second half, and continued to press forward with Neilson firing narrowly over the top before Mills headed a corner just wide of the near post.
Despite that, the Dragons still had their chances to draw level. Jason Bristow made an attacking double substitution in a bid to equalise, and it was a move that almost paid off.
Shaun McAuley played the ball through to Liam Enver Marum, but his low shot across goal rolled just past the far post.
As the board went up for five minutes of stoppage time, it was Whitehawk who came closest to getting a second goal. Neilson found space inside the 18 yards box but his low ball across goal just avoided the far post.
Despite needing to find the equaliser, Basingstoke couldn’t get hold of the ball, and even when the ball was launched into the Hawks area, it was met with great defending to see the game out.
The Vanarama National League is just one win away…