Thurrock walk away with nothing from the Dragons' Den

Jason Bristow’s first ever game in management ended in a 3-1 win at The Camrose on a sunny afternoon in Basingstoke that could signal the start of a new era at the north Hampshire club.

Jason Bristow’s first ever game in management ended in a 3-1 win at The Camrose on a sunny afternoon in Basingstoke that could signal the start of a new era at the north Hampshire club.

Following the midweek sacking of manager Frank Gray, and the appointment of former captain and club legend Jason Bristow, Basingstoke fans arrived at the Camrose hoping to see how the team was set up and a glimpse of what the future could hold.

Thurrock came into the game at the foot of the table with only 18 points from 31 games, and a massive 14 from safety.  Basingstoke, nicknamed The Dragons, were also in poor form, having won only 2 of their last 11 matches, with play off hopes slipping away.

The match started well for Basingstoke, and they went ahead on 18 minutes. Delano Sam-Yorke surged powerfully  forward on the right flank, before pulling back a dangerous ball across the box which Tim Sills stole in to nod home at the near post.

Thurrock almost immediately got back in it as Paul Terry, brother of John Terry and seemingly with similar habits, rose highest at a corner to head the ball onto the post, with the rebound put just wide.

Basingstoke then hit back, with Sam-Yorke again in the thick of it. Chasing down the ball on the left side of the box, David Hughes, the young Thurrock ‘keeper, came for the ball but was beaten to it by Sam-Yorke, who went down under the challenge and won a penalty. Wes Daly stepped up confidently and planted the ball in the bottom right corner.

It took only another couple of minutes for Basingstoke to grab a third goal and seemingly put the game to bed. McAuley broke well from midfield, and despite his heavy touch from Sills’ flick on the ball broke to Sam-Yorke on the left, who completed his hattrick of assists as his ball to the far post was volleyed in well by McAuley.

With the sun shining, the drum out, and Bristow’s first game in management going to plan, the fans were jubilant and the terrace banter was flowing. The Basingstoke fans were taking advantage of 18 year old goalkeeper David Hughes’ dodgy opening spell by giving him some stick, with the pick of the spontaneous chants being ‘Detention on Monday, you’re getting detention on Monnnddday’, ‘Sponsored by Teflon, you must be sponsored by Teflon’, along with ‘Does your mother know you’re here?’.

 Sponsored by Teflon, you must be sponsored by Teflon!

The second half was a tale of two halves within itself. From the kick off Town carried on where they had left off, Nathan Smart rampaging forward from his wingback position to skim a low drive inches wide of the far post. The chances continued to arrive for Basingstoke, with Sills and Sam-Yorke both failing to hit the target from corners.

Thurrock then almost got themselves back in the game, with Sam Cutler cracking a powerful shot against the underside of the bar with Ashley Bayes beaten. Wes Daly then had a shot from 25 yard whistle over the bar, before Sam-Yorke’s attempted cross almost floated in at the back post.

The last 15 minutes were all Thurrock, with Asante’s lob hitting the woodwork after being put clean through following Steven Old misjudging a long ball and missing his header.

Basingstoke could hold on only 3 minutes longer, however, with Thurrock’s corner somehow finding a way through a mass of bodies to go straight into the net.

Thurrock pressed for another goal to get back in the game, with Basingstoke happy to sit back and break with the pace of Sam-Yorke and Pratt, on as a substitute, giving the Thurrock defense something to think about.

Before the final whistle the game got somewhat scrappy, with Jide Ogunbote arguably lucky to only be booked for a dangerous challenge only minutes after McAuley and Thurgood squared up to each other.

With a new £10m stadium scheduled to be build in time for the 2014/2015 season, Bristow at the helm, and a new academy system being brought into place to identify the best local talent, Basingstoke fans are looking forward to a bright future.

Final score: Basingstoke 3 – 1 Thurrock