BY NICK WILSON
Basingstoke were left to rue missed chances as a dominant performance wasn’t quite enough to secure all three points in the first match of 2017.
Dorchester arrived at Ark Cancer Charity Stadium looking for revenge after a 3-0 defeat to Basingstoke in the FA Trophy earlier in the season and got the perfect start, taking the lead inside the first minute. It was Tom Blair who scored, getting in behind George Bennett and controlling an excellent pass from Sol Ayunga before rounding Alex Tokarczyk and slotting into the empty net.
Basingstoke looked to react immediately and Charlie Kennedy was inches away from turning a Sam Deadfield free kick in at the far post. This was followed up by Nana Owusu cutting in from the left and firing a shot through the box. Dorchester survived the handball appeals and cleared it away.
Dorchester still carried a threat on the break, forcing a flurry of corners but Basingstoke managed to see the set pieces off. At the other end Owusu, Aaron Jarvis and Sam Deadfield all had good chances to equalise before half time.
HALF TIME: 0-1
Basingstoke made a change at half time, bringing Romone Rose on for Aaron Redford in an attempt to get back into the game. Basingstoke started quickly, Kennedy forcing one of several point blank saves from Shane Murphy but on 57 minutes Basingstoke got their reward. A neat passing move on the edge of the box eventually found Deadfield who turned and lashed a fierce shot across the goalkeeper for his 6th of the season.
The hosts were well on top and increased their efforts, looking now to take the lead. Deadfield was denied from close range with another brilliant reaction save just three minutes later before bending in a free kick that just about evaded Kennedy once more.
Dorchester were pinned back and looked to hold on to the point as Rose, Jarvis and Deadfield continued to find chances but a combination of near misses and excellent saves ensured the game would finish level and Basingstoke would be left to wonder how they hadn’t won the game.