BY NICK WILSON
Basingstoke twice came from behind to win an entertaining game at Cirencester’s Corinium Stadium, thanks to a last gasp free kick from Nana Owusu to secure back to back away league wins for the first time this season.
The hosts had the better of the opening exchanges, controlling possession and making it difficult for Basingstoke to get out of their own half. Their control was rewarded inside 10 minutes as skipper Matt Liddiard rose highest at the far post to power a header into the roof of Alex Tokarczyk’s net and put his side 1-0 up.
The early goal seemed to damage the visitors confidence as Cirencester started to shade a midfield battle and made it difficult for Basingstoke to move the ball and create chances from open play.
On the half hour mark, Basingstoke were let off as the ball ended up in their net for a second time, only for Cirencester’s celebrations to be cut short by the referee’s whistle for a foul on Tokarczyk in the build up. Basingstoke were started to come more into the game though and enjoyed more possession in the Cirencester half.
Aaron Jarvis headed a chance just wide and Aaron Redford was denied by a last ditch tackle from Kieran Diaz-Benitez. On the stroke of half time Basingstoke had a strong penalty claim as Sam Deadfield raced onto a loose ball in the six yard box but with the goal gaping he was brought down from behind, only to see the referee wave away the appeals of his teammates and the travelling fans behind the goal.
HALF TIME: 1-0
Basingstoke were improved after the break, fashioning an immediate chance for Jarvis. The striker took down a long pass from George Bennett before swivelling and hitting a volley on his left foot, straight at home goalie Glyn Garner. Basingstoke were level ten minutes later though as a darting run in from the right by Ashleigh Artwell was brought to a swift conclusion and this time the referee did point to the spot. Nana Owusu stepped up and fired the ball into the top corner, just past Garner’s hands to haul Basingstoke level.
Parity was short-lived though as the home side hit back immediately. Henry Spalding collected the ball and from 20 yards, fired a sweetly struck left footed shot that arrowed into the corner of the net to regain the lead. The goal was a hammer blow and it almost got worse as Tokarczyk was forced into a good save, beating away a shot with both hands.
Within a couple of minutes though Basingstoke were level once again. A curved ball down the line from Marcus Johnson-Schuster found the run of Jarvis and as Garner raced out wide, Jarvis found a delightful finish, chipping the ball over the goalkeeper from a tight angle to make it 2-2.
The goal swung the momentum Basingstoke’s way and from then on they were on top. Owusu slammed the ball just wide after a low cross from Redford and a scramble in the six yard box was eventually cleared up by Garner. At the other end Cirencester had a goalbound header cleared off the line by Bennett with Tokarczyk beaten.
Bennett then turned creator as he slipped Jarvis through on goal but Garner did well to come out and block the shot with his legs. The last ten minutes were frantic as both sides had chances, Tokarczyk spilling a cross before Garner made a stunning save to keep out Jarvis’ header.
Finally, four minutes into added time. Basingstoke had a final chance. Owusu stood over a free kick, 30 yards from goal and sent it swerving into the net, crashing off the underside of the crossbar to the delight of the Basingstoke fans and his teammates who all mobbed him, celebrating all three points.