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REPORT - Basingstoke Town 2 Gosport Borough 1
BASINGSTOKE Town sit third in the embryonic Conference South table after grinding out a second victory in the space of four days.
It was not a vintage performance from Jason Bristow’s men, who were only allowed to show flashes of the passing game they are attempting to adopt by a robust and hard-working Gosport Borough side at the Camrose on Tuesday.
However, they found a way to win, something they probably would have failed to do last season, and while they failed to keep a clean sheet, defensively they look far more assured.
Bristow made just one change to the side that had carved out a similar victory at Concord Rangers, Kezie Ibe coming in for Jordace Holder-Spooner, who was forced to watch the game from the stands thanks to a dislocated shoulder.
The hosts did not get off to a great start and could have gone behind early on as Michael Gosney got above Robbie Rice at the far post but headed wide.
While Gosport failed to punish Town when they had the chance, Robbie Matthews made no mistake when gifted the opportunity to put the hosts ahead.
A sliced clearance from Ellis Martin was misjudged by Sam Pearce, who seemed more intent on fouling Simon Dunn than getting to the ball, giving Matthews the chance to volley home from 12 yards.
Gosport continued to have a bit of pressure but were limited to half-chances – and Basingstoke doubled their lead from the penalty spot on 25 minutes.
Dunn played Ibe in down the left channel and he cut inside Lee Molyneaux, his run only being stopped when the centre-back pulled him back just inside the area. Manny Williams expertly converted the penalty – but the two-goal cushion only lasted three minutes.
A free-kick from deep was headed down by Justin Bennett, with Rory Williams also getting a flick before Jamie Brown beat Adam Green to the loose ball, forcing it home.
Despite the setback, Town created a couple more chances before the break. Dunn’s low shot from outside the area forced Nathan Ashmore into a good low save, while a poor clearance from the goalkeeper led to Manny Williams lobbing the ball narrowly wide from long distance.
Gosport made a strong start to the second half, with Brown getting behind the defence but shooting tamely at Louis Wells, who then did well to save from Rory Williams after he outpaced Jay Gasson.
However, Town were finding their passing rhythm, with playmaker and captain Wes Daly getting the time and space he thrives on.
Too often he attempted to unlock the defence with a difficult killer pass rather than choosing the simple option, but when Town did get going, they looked dangerous.
Their best move of the match saw the work a chance for Green on the left side of the area, his angled drive fizzing over, while Daly shot too close to Ashmore, who then made a good save to deny Matthews a second goal.
Gosport had a spell of pressure in the closing stages as they battled to salvage a draw, but Town held out reasonably well, largely restricting them to shots from distance.
The best chance fell to Bennett, who failed to get his header on target when left unattended 10 yards from goal, and while Basingstoke were unable to get out of their own half for long periods, they held on to record back-to-back wins.
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