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Saturday 23 August 2008
Blue Square Football Conference South

Basingstoke Town    0 - 1    AFC Wimbledon
    (19) Robbie Watkins (og)
 Ross Kitteridge 1 Andy Little 
 Aiden Lewis 2 Luke Garrard 
 Robbie Watkins 3 Chris Hussey ( 40) (sub 88) 
( 87)  Jason Bristow 4 Kennedy Adjei 
 Joe Dolan 5 Ben Judge 
(sub 70)  Phil Ruggles 6 Alan Inns 
( 86)  Sam Tucknott 7 Samuel Hatton 
 Tom Williamson 8 Tom Davis 
 James Faulkner 9 Elliott Godfrey (sub 88) 
 Sido Jombarti 10 Jon Main 
(sub 46)  Dave Tarpey 11 Anthony Finn (sub 78) 
(sub 46)  Jamie Lovegrove 12 Jason Goodliffe 
 Chris Waller 13 James Pullen 
 Jide Ogunbote 14 Michael Haswell (sub 88) 
(sub 70)  Carl Gibbs 15 Jake Leberl (sub 88) 
 Scott Perkins 16 Dean Mason (sub 78) 

Match report

The Dons continued their 100% start to the season with a victory that was far more comfortable than the scoreline would suggest.

Terry Brown was forced into making one change in his starting line-up when Michael Haswell got stuck in traffic, allowing Chris Hussey his first start of the new campaign but if the first 20 minutes' play was anything to go by, the fans were concentrating on the quality of football and not worrying about the enforced change. With the midfield triumvirate of Kennedy Adjei, Sam Hatton and Tom Davis looking composed and unrushed, the Dons started to make chances and exert pressure on the Basingstoke defence almost immediately.

Tony Finn was all but unplayable, Elliot Godfrey looked a class apart and Jon Main was tireless pulling his markers all over the pitch so needless to say that the home side were having all kinds of trouble even getting hold of the ball.

Two or three half chances came and went before the Dons took a rather comical lead on 19 minutes. A superb Tom Davis throughball saw Jon Main race past the Dragons' right back Aiden Lewis and fire the ball across goal. Hatton was denied the chance to tap the ball into the net when Jason Bristow slid in to hook the cross into the midriff of his defensive colleague Rob Watkins which sent the ball looping into the net past the helpless keeper Ross Kitteridge.

Less than 10 minutes later, 2-0 to the Dons looked nailed on when Jon Main collected a Luke Garrard pass 16 yards out but to everyone's surprise he sent his effort just wide of the post. Basingstoke were now starting to get into the game thanks in no small part to the defending of Bristow and his enormous central defensive partner Joe Dolan and the speedy trickery of platinum-haired winger Sam Tucknott.

Tucknott was causing Hussey problems with his pace and once the home side had worked that out they started to get the ball out to him more often. One such move resulted in Hussey being yellow-carded for bringing him down on the edge of the area but thankfully for the Dons the free-kick, like much of the Dragons attacks, come to nothing.

The Dons ability to penetrate the Basingstoke defence was the key to the half, with Adjei controlling the midfield and more often than not feeding Davis who was in sublime form. It wad difficult to remember a better Dons first half performance than that.

The second half, as is often the case, was a slightly different story as the Stoke's boss, Frank Gray, had clearly given the orders to get the ball out to Tucknott as often as possible. The home side started the half stronger, with the Dons seemingly stretching their half-time breather into the second period. However, Andy Little easily dealt with anything thrown at him and on the odd occasion that Phil Ruggles or James Faulkner had a sight of goal, the imperious Dons defensive pairing of Alan Inns and Ben Judge snuffed out the danger.

The Dons attacks were a little less fluent and fluid than in the first half with Hatton unable to take advantage of the amount of ball he received in advanced areas.

Eventually, Godfrey fed Main 25 yards out but Kitteridge came out quickly and blocked the shot with his legs. The Dons faithful were now starting to hope that Main's spurned chances wouldn't be costly - thankfully a poor final ball on more than one occasion by the home side meant their chance-starved strikers rarely had the opportunity to prove them right. With Hussey now starting to get the better of Tucknott and Adjei belying his lack of experience with an assured, authoritative display, Basingstoke's chances of an equaliser and earning a fourth straight draw in the process, started to recede and an awful attempt by Williamson with 10 minutes to go summed up their lack of firepower.

With five minutes left, the Dons seemed to have wrapped up the points when Hussey's inswinging freekick was met just 3 yards out by the forehead of the prolific Main but the former Tonbridge striker's luck was clearly out as his header hit the inside of the post and spun agonisingly along the goal line and eventually out to safety.

That was the last meaningful moment of the game and the referee's final whistle was greeted with a thunderous roar of approval from the Dons fans.

An inspired first half, a solid second, 12 points out of 12, everyone else at the top dropping points, no rain. If there is such a thing as a perfect Saturday, this has to be a contender.

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