With Nottinghamshire being in Tier 3 lockdown, and visiting supporters dissuaded from attending the game, this would have been a strange trip north for the Worcestershire side. Basford came into the game sitting top of the Northern League Premier, and on the back of a five game winning streak. Church had earlier in the week broken a three game losing run with a 0-0 draw at Stourbridge, and had three changes in the starting eleven as compared with the previous game – Brown-Hill, Botfield and Cook coming in for Birch (J), Barkers and Monteiro.
Mclintock tests Preston with a first minute effort straight from kick off, but straight at the keeper. A free kick for Basford’s Wilson, has Sargeant scurrying across goal to conceded a first corner of the game after six minutes. Sargeant saves well a minute later to claw an effort from Clifton over the bar as Basford counter-attack at speed. Basford in control it seems in these early stages.
A clearance off the line denies another effort for Basford from Marshall after he flicked on a free kick at the near post after 10 minutes as the Church goal again survives intact. Another effort off the line to deny Dixon after 12 minutes as Church struggle to get a foothold in the game, with the home side looking comfortable, putting together a number of smart passing moves. As flat as the game seemed, it has to be said that Church were seemingly happy to allow the home side possession. A fourth corner of the game on 21 minutes and the ball flashes across the face of the goal from the head of Cascoigne. At this juncture, It’s Willets and Sargeant who are essentially combining to keep Church’s clean sheet in tact with little else to note from the others.
A Wilson free kick on 33 minutes is again well saved by Sargeant, and the follow up effort from close range from Clifton is deflected over the bar for another corner.
Basford are creating all the openings, but Sargeant is the key difference at the moment. Wilson has another sniff of goal with another free kick on 36 minutes, and goes ever closer with a shot around the wall and off the Alvechurch post.
An early chance in the second half, after Chettle delivers a great ball, and it just needed a finishing touch from James to convert, but there looks to be more urgency with Church after the break. Ten minutes in and another free kick for Basford from a potentially dangerous position. Wilson over the ball again, three yards outside the box. A low drive and another superb save from Sargeant as the ball comes at him courtesy of a deflection off the wall, but the Church keeper does excellently to block an effort from Marshall from point blank range.
Just after the hour mark, Chettle breaks through, but drags his shot wide of the post after muscling past Sephton. Church threaten out of nothing on 74 minutes with a long range effort from 45 yards which has Preston back-pedalling to make an important save. A bad challenge from Richards catches Willets as he makes a clearance, which only draws a yellow; could easily have been red. A couple of minutes later and a run and shot from Richards is deflected just wide of the post into the side netting for another corner.
Last ten minutes. And Church are still in with a shout in this tie, as penalties beckon.
And then just two minutes after coming on substitute Hines steers in a ball from close range to put the home side ahead with just three minutes of regulation time remaining. Church go down the other end and Sephton crosses for Cook, who fires straight at Preston.
Marshall adds a second two minutes later, unmarked at the back post to settle the tie beyond any doubt. But Church strike one back in the second minute of stoppage time with a sublime effort from Cook as he curls the ball in past Preston from 25 yards, but too little too late it seems as Basford run the clock down to seal the win and a place in the next round.