BY NICK WILSON
Basingstoke held on to claim claim the points in a tense finale against Chesham, despite looking comfortable for most of the game.
Basingstoke started the game strongly, Ashleigh Artwell causing a threat with his quick and direct running and Aaron Redford had the first chance of the match as he escaped around Benji Crilley before seeing his left footed shot blocked from inside the six yard box.
Chances continued to fall for the home side, Terence van Cooten shooting just off target before Michael Atkinson spurned two chances, shooting over from the edge of the box before heading narrowly wide from a van Cooten cross. At the other end, Sam Youngs was first to test Alex Tokarczyk as his low volley was parried by the Basingstoke keeper.
The hosts deservedly broke the deadlock through Artwell after a neat exchange with Redford put the winger through on goal and he finished coolly under visiting keeper Richard Hayward to put Basingstoke in front, ten minutes before half time.
HALF TIME: 1-0
Basingstoke got the perfect start to the second half with two quickfire goals. Firstly, Redford collected the ball on the right side of the area, turning to shoot low last Hayward and beat Curtis Ujah on the line. Then, three minutes later, Artwell doubled his personal tally after twisting away from Crilley to fire into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
The home side were cruising at 3-0 up and Rob Atkinson could have made it four after a mazy run ended with a right footed shot being poked just wide. However Chesham got a goal back in unlikely fashion as Youngs, who’d been most likely to score for the Generals, turned onto his left foot and saw his long range effort squeeze through the hands of goalkeeper Alex Tokarczyk with fifteen minutes to go.
The deficit was further reduced six minutes later as Ujah rose highest to guide home a looping header following a quickly taken corner that caught Basingstoke napping. It was a tense final ten minutes but Basingstoke held on and were unfortunate not to score again when Aaron Jarvis was dragged down when running through on goal.