Salisbury’s final match of 2023 ended in a goalless draw away to Basingstoke Town. Brian Dutton made 2 changes to his starting lineup; Wayne Robinson coming in for Ryan Penny whilst in goal Lewis Gunstone-Gray came in for his league debut for the Whites.   

It was Salisbury who were first to threaten, on 2 minutes Josh Hedges getting down the right and putting the ball in, where Dan Fitchett could only flick his header wide of the post. The game’s opening 15 minutes were fairly quiet otherwise, until on 16 minutes the Whites were awarded a penalty. Tom Leggett burst into the box from fullback and was brought down near the byline, the referee showing no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Skipper Sido Jombati stepped up but his weak shot was comfortably held by home keeper Paul Strudley. It took until 21 minutes for Basingstoke to have any real sight of goal, Billy Upton seeing his shot blocked by a Whites defender. 

There was a blow for Salisbury just before the half hour mark; defender Josh Sommerton forced off with an injury, Ryan Penny coming on to replace him and a reshuffle in the defence seeing Aaron McCreadie go to fullback. Just 2 minutes later Basingstoke’s Brad Wilson saw his shot on the angle blocked before on 39 minutes the Whites came desperately close to breaking the deadlock. A fine flowing move saw the ball worked left to Jamar Smith who set it back nicely for Robinson who took a touch before unleashing a curling effort that came crashing back off the crossbar. Just before the break, Fitchett dragged a shot wide from inside the box and on the stroke of half time his strike partner Harry Williams saw a shot blocked as the teams went in level.   

The second half saw the wind and rain sweep in across the ground, making conditions difficult for both teams. It was Salisbury who started the half brighter, dominating possession and looking to play on the front foot. On 53 minutes Fitchett was just unable to get on the end of Hedges’ dangerous ball in from the right, before on the hour mark Robinson put a shot straight at Strudley. As the game progressed it continued to be the Whites having the lions share of the ball, unable to really test Strudley and a compact home defence. At the other end, Gunstone-Gray had to make a comfortable save from George Reid on 69 minutes and on 82 minutes a Billy Upton header went wide off the post, but neither side was able to fashion anything more in terms of chances and, despite plenty of effort in increasing worse weather, the game petered out and ended in a goalless draw with both sides having to settle for a point. 

The White’s first game of 2024 will take place at home when they welcome Tiverton Town to the Ray Mac on January 6th, for a 3 pm kick off.

Team: Gunstone-Gray, Leggett, Smith, Sommerton(Penny), Jombati, McCreadie, Gunson, Hedges, Robinson(Coppin), Williams, Fitchett(Harding) Unused Sub: Lewis.

Ian Pearson
January 1, 2024

Ian Pearson

Media & Website Manager