In true Cup final tradition, all previous league form and results were discounted as both teams realised this one-off game could go either way.
A large crowd of supporters, player’s friends and families gathered at Reading Town FC Scour’s Lane on a sunny but breezy afternoon full of expectation and hope for their team’s eventual success. After the preliminary formalities of parading on to the pitch and handshaking, the game got underway.
The first twenty minutes was a tense affair with both teams struggling to quell their nerves and establish their own pattern of play. Goring didn’t allow Basildon time to pass the ball and mounted a number of attacks which failed to penetrate the Ba’bas defence. The diagonal breeze made it difficult for Basildon’s wingers Daniel Gage
and Stephen Lenk
and a series of high-ball attacks came to nothing.
The deadlock was eventually broken and Basildon’s nerves finally settled in the 32nd minute when David Steven’s centrally placed free kick flew a full thirty yards into the top left corner of the net. Basildon then finished the first half the stronger side overturning the slight early advantage that Goring had shown to lead 1-0 at the break.
1st Half Stats:
Shots on target: BB 6 / GU 2
Shots off target: BB 5 / GU 2
Corners: BB 5 / GU 5
Goring started the second half with regained determination following their half-time team talk and Basildon continued to play with growing confidence. It was Goring however who pressed forward in the 55th minute and forced James Williams
into committing an uncharacteristic foul in the penalty area for which he received a caution.
The resulting penalty was watched in anticipation as Ba’bas keeper Liam Royden
chose to dive to his left as the ball was struck, saving brilliantly low and to the right of the goal.
This spurred the Ba’bas support into great cheers and encouragement for their team which resulted in a renewed effort by the players into seeking their second goal and putting the match beyond Goring’s reach.
replaced James Williams
on the hour after he sustained a calf pull, to help shore up the defence. The bubble burst for Basildon just minutes later when a Goring forward managed to mis-hit a strike at goal just inside the area for which the Ba’bas defence would have been prepared, only to see his shot spin into the net for the equaliser.
The Goring team throughout the game had frustrated the Barbarians with suspect tackles, pushing and gamesmanship for which in the most part went unpunished by the referee until the 68th minute when he finally caution a Goring player. This was small consolation for, amongst others, the tireless running of Dawfydd Williams and brave challenging of Luke Passby
who justifiable felt they were being impeded constantly.
The last twenty minutes saw the Basildon’s defence of Peter Haynes
strong tackling, stalwart defending and vision of Daniel Aylmer
and Chris Gillet’s assured calmness under pressure all keep the Goring attack in check.
The midfield challenging of Stephen Haynes
and skilful play of captain David Stevens
along with Lenk and Gage adding width served to cause the Goring defence problems as Ba’bas pressed for the victory. An innocuous challenge by D. Williams in the 87th minute resulted in a second caution for Basildon and despite all the determination they could muster, he and Passby were unable to penetrate the Red and White defensive line.
So the ninety minutes came to an end with no clear winner. It was 1-1. There would be extra-time.
2nd Half Stats:
Shots on target: BB 2 / GU 2
Shots off target: BB 6 / GU 2
Corners: BB 3 / GU 0
During the short break the Goring side slumped to the ground to rest tired limbs. Basildon chose to keep on their feet and gathered for an inspirational group huddle in an effort to spark the necessary fire and strength needed to complete the victory.
The first period of extra time reverted to a stalemate with neither side looking as though they would score. The big Scour’s Lane pitch started to take its toll on player’s legs and a number of stoppages were called to treat cramp and injuries.
The quick turnaround at the mid-point afforded Basildon the opportunity to re-group again and it certainly paid off, for in just the opening minute of the second period of extra time, a superb cross from Stephen Haynes
deep on the right was met by the head of Luke Passby
with a crashed header to put Basildon back in front.
Goring now had to come at Basildon to try and gain an equaliser which left them exposed. Peter Haynes
took full advantage, heading home from close range from Stevens' corner to score Basildon’s third with only four minutes to go and seemingly assure them of the Cup win.
Remaining substitutes Paul Collard
and Mark Chapman
were brought into the attack and defence respectively for D. Williams and Gage, whilst injured striker Andrew Deaner
and early season captain Paul Beaumont
cheered their team on to the end.
Goring managed to mount one final attack which resulted in a free-kick just outside the area. The looping cross seemed to be heading out of danger for a goal-kick when a determined Goring winger stretched to flick the ball across the Ba’bas goal for a team-mate to grab a last-second consolation goal.
There was no time for any further action before the referee blew for the end of the game and a superb win for Basildon Barbarians, prompting jubilant scenes of celebration from the Barbarian players and fans alike. Unfortunately, the end for Goring was further marred after the whistle by the dismissal of a player for foul and abusive language.
Extra Time Stats:
Shots on target: BB 2 / GU 1
Shots off target: BB 2 / GU 2
Corners: BB 2 / GU 0
The statistics show that once again Basildon were the stronger side over the whole match. However, credit must be given to both sides for providing the supporters with a thoroughly entertaining and nail-biting display.
Man of the Match was unanimously awarded to goalkeeper Liam Royden
, his calmness in the face of a cup-final penalty, and determination to see out all attacks, parrying the ball onto crossbar, post or away to safety whenever called upon.
The presentation of both the Cup and League Championship trophies along with plaudits for the club from League officials, ensured a fitting finale to a brilliant first season for the boys in black and white.
Congratulations go to all the players and staff from the supporters and we are already looking forward to season 2012-13.