BY NICK WILSON
Basingstoke came from behind to win for the sixth time in the last eight matches in all competitions at home to Biggleswade, thanks to goals from top scorer Aaron Jarvis and Ashleigh Artwell.
The Waders took an early lead through former Basingstoke striker Nicholas Bignall in just five minutes. He took up a position on the edge of the box and when the ball was laid off to him by Robbie Parker, blasted a strike low to Tokarczyk’s left for the opening goal of the game. The early goal seemed to knock the home team and they struggled to impose themselves on the match in the early stages.
Biggleswade continued to create chances, Bignall struck a bouncing volley a yard wide of the post and Tokarczyk did brilliantly in stretching to get a palm to the ball after it appeared Rhys Hornes had rounded him, but Basingstoke began to come more and more into the game. Marcus Johnson-Schuster was finding a lot of space in an advanced position down the right hand side but too often the final ball was lacking despite Basingstoke enjoying the majority of possession.
As the game entered the last ten minutes of the first half the hosts tested visiting goalkeeper Ian Brown for the first time. Sam Deadfield combined with Matt Partridge who used his first touch to tee up Jarvis but the volley, while well hit, was straight at Brown. It was an encouraging sign though and just a couple of minutes later Basingstoke drew level. Partridge collected the ball in space on the right and curled over an excellent cross that allowed Jarvis to head into the net for his 13th of the season.
Now well on top, Basingstoke almost fashioned one more. The Biggleswade defence was caught high upfield and Johnson-Schuster was picked out in behind but his touch was heavy and the ball ran wide. He recovered it but eventually Jarvis hooked an overhead kick over the bar.
HALF TIME: 1-1
Biggleswade looked to retake the lead early in the second half, firstly forcing Tokarczyk to throw himself to his left to palm away a free kick before David Ray threw himself in front of a shot to stop Bignall finding the corner of the net. It was a very open second half with the ball moving from end to end and Basingstoke were breathing a sigh of relief as Bignall could only find the side netting after going round Tokarczyk.
Nana Owusu was brought on to turn the game and that’s just what he did. After being released on the left side of the box he hit the shot early across the keeper but didn’t quite find the power to tuck the ball away. Owusu’s next run did bring reward though. Picking the ball up inside his own half he embarked on a direct run, leaving two defenders in his wake as he got to the byline. Jarvis’ run pulled the defenders out of position and Owusu pulled the ball back to where Artwell was waiting at the far post to firmly place the ball beyond Brown and give his team the lead with fifteen minutes remaining.
It looked like a decisive goal but with ten minutes left Biggleswade were handing a golden chance to equalise. Joe Gater was adjudged to have fouled Hornes just inside the box and Biggleswade had a penalty. After a delay of almost five minutes, Connor Hall stepped up but Tokarczyk produced another fantastic save, low to his right and Basingstoke held on to collect all three points.