Shepshed’s Dynamo Dimmed By Bullish Basford
Basford United 6 Shepshed Dynamo 2
Att: mid 70s
There was no real clue to the final outcome of this not so friendly pre-season game, by the break, when the teams were level at 1-1. Changes were made during the second period, typically, by both clubs but the Millers’ changes served only to strengthen their resolve and although five goals were scored, the hosts, through Carruthers and Hooton, missed more opportunities. The early stages looked bright for the visitors with fast winger Walker giving home left-back Lench a testing time, Orton pulling the strings smartly in midfield and their forwards’ movements stretching Holt and Pheasant. Smith, on Basford’s right-wing, was involved in a tremendous battle with Shepshed defender Bradshaw, yet when the latter reappeared later in the game in midfield for Dynamo, he was less than dynamic. Basford had grown in stature during the first-half, Walton battling like in a cup-tie in midfield and Garmston, on occasions looking every inch the playmaker.
An early corner led to nothing for Basford, Holt was badgered into an error by Dynamo but the first goal attempt was a skied volley from Garmston, following a pass by Walton. Shepshed went even closer, when Orton slipped a pass left to his left-sided attacker but home ‘keeper Want’s reactions were sharp, as he threw himself left to push aside the effort, only for Malonga’s rebound to strike the body of Holt, who soon called a halt to his contribution through injury. The solid Dyce trooped on to partner Pheasant in centre defence. Moore and Lench were busy at full-back for United but following a foul on Carl Westcarr, Garmston’s free-kick was cleared to Walton, who fed Garmston for another shot at goal but this time the midfielder’s effort was weak and wide. Smith rose with a defender but couldn’t manage a telling header from Brady’s centre, as Bradshaw and Smith duelled like gladiators and Walker continued to race along the Dynamo right-flank.
Finally, Shepshed scored and it stemmed from a free-kick, maybe 19 yards out, right corner of the penalty-box and Want was left wanting as Walker’s right-footed curling delivery flew over him and into the Basford net off the far upright. Strangely, after Jarrod Westcarr had been fouled by the visiting number 5, the official issued a caution, which went rather against the spirit of pre-season friendly games and from Garmston’s well-flighted free-kick, inside-left channel, Smith headed towards the left edge of the 6-yard box, where Carl Westcarr controlled the ball under pressure and turned to flash a rising drive into the top right corner of the Dynamo net to regain parity for the Millers.
Pheasant made a fine challenge for the hosts, as Shepshed’s movement again looked dangerous, before trickery by Garmston won an unproductive right-wing corner, although Smith was lurking. A really searing run by Walker for Dynamo left two defenders stumbling in his wake but although he drew Want, the winger’s low shot rolled across the goalmouth and the goalie was able to recover and deny Orton on the byeline with his legs. Brady was becoming more of a threat for United and when he totally bemused Whitman, the visitors struggled to clear the winger’s centre. Garmston headed Smith’s right-wing cross downwards from 10 yards and the goalie, who had spilled the ball, was fortunate that there were no rebounders nearby.
Another Shepshed foul gave Garmston a shooting opportunity from 24 yards, as the half waned but the ‘keeper rose to tip the curling effort over his left angle of bar and post. McCormick defended well from another left-wing cross by Basford and the official ended the proceedings. Certainly, Basford had created more goalscoring opportunities with their undoubted relentlessness but Shepshed had looked so capable as a breaking force and it remained to be seen whether the visitors would continue to operate in a similar mode after the break.
Hooton and Carruthers replaced the Westcarrs near the start of the second period and Basford were to use Harrison, Jones, ‘keeper MacDonald, Armstrong and Kemp as the half wore on. Hooton shot weakly when well placed, before substitute Jenkins for the visitors lost control of the ball and as he challenged for it again on the half-way line, it ricocheted, indeed flew off Pheasant to free Carruthers at inside-left and he veered left, before slotting a confident finish under the flailing, advanced goalie. Almost immediately, Dynamo drew level with a spectacular goal by McCormick, who had moved away from Dyce to connect with an overhead shot from 10 yards, which dropped agonisingly over MacDonlald’s forlorn figure.
Suddenly the game appeared to open up, with Hooton looking dangerous every time he fastened onto the ball and when he won it on the left flank, his fine work led to a third Basford goal. He nudged the ball back for Lench but the left-back’s cross was low and straight at Dynamo’s number 4, whose loose touch saw the ball roll back to Hooton at inside-left and the striker smacked a fine 15 yard drive against the underside of the Shepshed crossbar; Carruthers’ rebound volley at the far post was superbly blocked by the ‘keeper but just when it seemed that Dynamo had survived, Carruthers retrieved the ball, laid it into Kemp’s path and the substitute turned inside a defender to place a smart 12 yard, left-foot shot past the helpless goalie and into the left corner of the net. Hooton was forced wider on the right and drove a shot high and wide then Brady, whose footwork was often really clever, was replaced by Jarrod Westcarr. Hooton again caused havoc by retrieving the ball on the left side, out-muscling McCormick, before stroking a simple pass across the goalmouth to Carruthers, just 7 yards out, with the ‘keeper stranded but the forward was stretching and lifted his shot too high, to his anguish. 3-2 became 4-2, when Dyce netted, following a corner. Heads went up and in a melee, Jones fought strongly for the ball, allowing Harrison to feed Westcarr on the right; he beat his marker Orton to the byeline and lifted over a short cross and although Hooton’s leaning volley was blocked by the diving ‘keeper, Dyce leaned too, to convert from a few yards out.
A fine, astute pass from the wily Armstrong freed Carruthers centrally but as the goalie advanced, the striker’s deft left-footer struck the outside of the right post and Shepshed survived. Not for long, though, for Basford looked like scoring every time they attacked in those latter stages and after Orton had set up Bradshaw for a weak shot across the face of goal, Kemp’s left foot put Hooton clear at inside right and the forward lobbed the stranded ‘keeper from 15 yards: 5-2. Hooton had another strike chalked off for offside but Jarrod Westcarr was not to be denied a goal and Lench’s long ball forward to Hooton, led to Carruthers slipping the ball neatly right to free Westcarr inside the penalty-box and the winger’s low left-footer nestled gently in the Dynamo net.
Heart had gone from some of the Shepshed players, as Basford were unmerciful during the latter stages and even the basics began to desert the visitors, despite the efforts of Orton and his makeshift defenders, for McCormick had gone off injured, to stem the tide of Hooton and Carruthers, the skulduggery of Brady and then, in the final stages, the pace of Jarrod Westcarr. This was a pre-season friendly but both teams showed promise and grit but as entertainment, this was a decent afternoon’s showing. I returned home for a pasty. It’s what I do…