By Nick Wilson
Basingstoke produced their best half of the season to turn it round against table topping Slough in emphatic fashion.
A tough first half showed why Slough had started the season so well. The visitors’ midfield pressed and harried the home side, giving them no time on the ball and making it very difficult to play through a congested midfield. It was a game of few chances early on as Basingstoke struggled to create much but defended well when Slough had the ball.
The deadlock was broken halfway through the first half as Slough took the lead. The ball found its way to Lewis Putman on the left side of the area and powered a low shot through the box and into the far corner of the net.
The game opened up a little more after that and Richie Whittingham and Charlie Kennedy both had chances before Alex Tokarczyk produced a stunning save to push Charlie Moone’s header against the post when the forward looked certain to score. Basingstoke headed in to the break breathing a sigh of relief with the score 1-0 to the away side.
Half Time: 0-1
Terry Brown changed things round at half time, switching to a three man midfield and bringing Marcus Johnson-Schuster on for Richie Whittingham and the change had a dramatic effect.
It took just three minutes for Basingstoke to equalise, as Aaron Jarvis got to a low corner from Sam Deadfield to turn it in at the near post. Now playing a 4-3-3, Basingstoke had extra width and used it to open up the midfield more. The game turned in a second as Basingstoke, looking to exploit the space, broke out of defence and as Deadfield stretched for the ball he was sent flying by a wild lunge from Slough defender Mark Nisbet. The referee had no hesitation in showing the red card and Basingstoke suddenly had a man advantage.
As they looked to force the issue, they almost fell behind when Tokarczyk was called upon once again to make a smart save to his left. Within ten minutes however, Basingstoke had taken the lead. A challenge in midfield left the ball at the feet of Rob Atkinson who looked up and slipped a pass in to Nana Owusu on the left. Owusu opened up his body and slid home his second goal of the season off the far post.
Barely three minutes later Basingstoke had a third. Jarvis was bundled over in the box by Guy Hollis and picked himself up to send the resulting penalty right down the middle of the goal.
A man up and now two goals up, Basingstoke set about killing the game off, keeping possession inside their own half and making Slough chase it back and forth for most of the next ten minutes. As the final minutes ticked away, Jarvis almost completed his hat trick, firing over from the edge of the area but deep into added time Aaron Redford added a fourth with his first goal of the season. Basingstoke ignored the appeals of the away team as the ball was worked wide to Redford. A clever first touch took him inside before bending a low strike just inside the post with his left foot, ensuring the majority of the near 600 crowd went home delighted.
Full Time: 4-1