Basford United exit FA Trophy at hands of Liversedge
Ten-man Basford United let a two-goal lead slip and bowed of the FA Trophy against Liversedge on Saturday, writes Marc Williams.
Aaron O’Connor and Marcus Marshall had put Steve Chettle’s men two up inside 13 minutes at the Clayborn Ground before Jack Stockdill and a superb free kick from Paul Walker drew the sides level.
Marshall was then sent off for an off-the-ball incident just before the break and Joe Walton’s looping effort in the 89th minute won it for the West Yorkshire side.
“I think it’s a performance to be proud of given the circumstances,” new head coach Mark Clifford said. “We asked a few questions of the lads going into the game and they gave us that: a really bright start going two-nil up.
“They did exactly what we asked them to do and hit them on the counterattack. We knew what their threats were going to be, and I thought we dealt with them for long periods of the game.
“We made a few tweaks following the red card,” added Clifford. “But we don’t think that going a man down as impacted us that badly.
“They’re going to play long and miss four players out anyway, so a man down makes little difference, we feel.
“We had to dig deep, and we feel we may have forced penalties, but they’ve scored a wondergoal just before half-time and sometimes there’s nothing you can do about those.”
Clifford took his place on the United bench after leaving his post as Ilkeston Town owner and chairman two weeks ago, and watched his side enjoy a fast start early on.
Combining down the right well, Kane Richards beat Adam Field for pace before delivering a low cross which striker partner O’Connor did well to deftly flick home after only six minutes.
Seven minutes later and they were two to the good when Marshall, finding half a yard from Matt Thornhill’s lay-off, arrowed a shot past Jon Stewart at his near post and United were flying.
Unbeaten all season, the hosts responded well and came back within one when Jack Stockdill pounced to fire under Adam Collin with 19 minutes played and that cup tie feeling was well and truly alive.
Thornhill then nearly restored the two-goal cushion, only for his free-kick to angle agonisingly wide, shortly after Nicky Walker’s hit from range was easy for Collin at the other end.
Decent spells in possession for both sides yielded very little, but it was from a more direct approach that saw Sedge equalise.
After Paul Walker was felled by one of three tackles, he dusted himself off to sumptuously curl into the top right-hand corner, past the outstretched Collin and the impetus was now with the visitors.
Seconds before the break, they were handed even more incentive when Marshall was adjudged to have kicked out at Kurt Harris seconds before the interval and the striker was headed for an early bath.
Defending deeply yet soaking up relentless pressure, Walker again forced another save from Collin and, in a rare attack, Richards called an otherwise undeterred Stewart into action midway through the second period.
A shoot-out was looming as United continued to deal with the hosts’ high, aerial threat and as the seconds ticked, Ryan Wilson appeared to be fouled heading Walker’s cross clear and the ball fell kindly into the path of Walton who looped his header into the far corner and pandemonium ensued.
Successive defeats for United and they set focus on the defence of their Nottinghamshire Senior Cup defence when they travel to Sherwood Colliery on Tuesday night
LIVERSEDGE: Jon Stewart, Jack Hardacre, Adam Field, Ross Daly (Alfie Raw 76’), Spencer Harris, Kurt Harris, Nicholas Walker, Jack Stockdill, Joe Walton, Ben Atkinson, Paul Walker (Oliver Fearon 72’)
SUBS NOT USED: Gavin Allott, Kevy Tarangadzo, Chris Howarth, Jordan Porter, Joe Kenny
BASFORD UNITED: Adam Collin, Dominic Roma, Ryan Wilson, Brad Gascoigne, Stef Galinski, Declan Dunn, Terry Hawkridge (Owen Betts 45’), Matt Thornhill, Marcus Marshall, Kane Richards (Niall Towle 88’), Aaron O’Connor (Rev James 82’)
SUBS NOT USED: Reco Fyfe, Nathaniel Peters, Rory Harrison, Kieran Preston