It took a third period salvo from the EPL’s Basingstoke Bison to end stubborn resistance from the Invicta Dynamos on Sunday as the Mos went from trailing 3-1 after 40 minutes to losing out 10-1 on the road in the English Challenge Cup.
The Dynamos journeyed to Basingstoke minus Callum Fowler, Mark Lee and the injured Grant Baxter presenting netminder Steve Nightingale with just his second start in a Mos jersey and his first against EPL opposition. Despite the baptism of fire he would hold firm until 11.43 – Joe Baird’s drive being tipped up over the glove of the goalie right in front by the alert Grant Rounding to put the hosts 1-0 up. However the Mos were determined to make their mark and they replied at 19.18 – Brendan Baird careless in possession and losing out to Nicky Lewis who teed up Adam McNicoll for the shot in off the post and beyond Dean Skinns.
All square at 1-1 heading into the second, the Dynamos invited the early pressure as Steve Osman sat for hooking and the Bison made the extra man count to lead 2-1 at 23.05. Aaron Connolly’s effort was blocked by the pads of Steve Nightingale but the puck dropped perfectly to Grant Rounding who converted for his second of the night. Nightingale was then needed to thwart a Michael Wales breakaway before the post came to his rescue moments later as Connolly again tried his luck from close range. The Mos were defiant though and almost netted a leveller – Anthony Leone winning a foot race against on-rushing netminder Dean Skinns but sending the puck wide of the upright to the relief of the home crowd. Despite their defiance they would concede a third at 37.04 – a scramble in front of the Dynamos net ending with Tomas Karpov roofing home over the reach of Nightingale for the two goal cushion. Matters then went from bad to worse for the visitors as Juraj Huska accidentally caught Grant Rounding with his stick drawing blood – a collision that resulted in a match penalty later downgraded to game.
3-1 down and minus their only import, the Mos had a tough 20 minutes ahead of them following the second intermission and Basingstoke commanded the final frame to turn a hard fought encounter into a comfortable win. They added their fourth of the night at 43.30 – Ciaran Long’s shot redirected in front by Tomas Karpov leaving Steve Nightingale no chance to react to make it 4-1. At 44.39 it was then 5-1 – Ryan Sutton supplying Michael Wales who bundled home at the second attempt despite an initial save from the netminder. Number six would follow soon after – Grant Rounding finding Long in space and the forward hammering low through the 5-hole for a now insurmountable 6-1 edge. Despite the commanding lead Basingstoke were hungry for further goals and they added another ay 50.43 – a neat interchange between Rounding and Karpov exposing the Dynamos net and Karpov thundering home to complete his hat-trick. Come 52.34 the Bison would lead 8-1 – Ciaran Long again involved as his pass across the crease allowed Michael Wales an easy back post finish for the seven goal cushion. By now the Mos were waiting for the final buzzer but their hosts would add a couple more before time was at an end – the first of the pair coming at 54.32 when Aaron Connolly finished well to leave Steve Nightingale clutching at air. Finally, at 55.52, Michael Wales completed the rout and his hat-trick as he thumped in from close range to put Basingstoke into double figures and seal a 10-1 victory.
So it was a game in which the final frame made all the difference with the Mos battling well and remaining in contention until the dismissal of Juraj Huska for an accidental high sticks collision. Basingstoke exhibited the extra quality expected from an EPL outfit and made their chances count in the third for a high margin of victory that had previously looked unlikely across the opening 40 minutes. Man of the match awards went to Elliott Dewey of the Dynamos whilst Grant Rounding took the honours for the Bison.