By Nick Wilson.
Basingstoke came away from Dunstable with a well earned victory with Romone Rose, Nana Owusu and Richie Whittingham all on the score sheet to earn the points.
It looked to be a tough task for Basingstoke, facing the second placed team away from home but they started positively. After a delay for an injury to Dunstable’s Shane Bush, Basingstoke quickly opened the scoring. Rose showed great speed and strength to work an opening before rifling the ball in off the near post from a tight angle for his fourth goal in four games.
The goal was just what Basingstoke needed and they continued to threaten. Owusu and Ashleigh Artwell were constant threats with their pace out wide and both had great chances to score. Owusu got in behind his full back before cutting inside and firing his shot into the side netting while after a similar move on the other side, Artwell saw a shot well saved by Jack Smith. At the other end, Dunstable top scorer Alex Cathline was kept quiet by the defensive duo of Joe Gater and David Ray. Basingstoke took their advantage into the half time break and it seemed that their opponents were there for the taking.
Half Time: 0-1
Basingstoke came out looking for more of the same in the second half but just two minutes in were pegged back. Jack Hutchinson collected the ball on the right side of the area and lifted a perfectly measured chip into the far corner of the net. The goal gave Dunstable a boost and for the next few minutes looked to gain the upper hand.
Basingstoke stood firm though and managed to turn the tide their way. Nana Owusu scored on just his second appearance for the club to regain the lead for his new team. Whittingham lifted a ball over the replacement left back Danny Green and Owusu raced onto it, controlling it brilliantly before slotting the ball inside the near post, past the onrushing Smith.
Dunstable were rocking and Basingstoke looked to make the most of the momentum and just three minutes later they did just that as Whittingham leapt to turn a fierce cross into the net with the inside of his right boot. The two goal cushion made a huge difference for Basingstoke who grew in confidence. Dunstable showed more urgency but were unable to create much save for a couple of dangerous crosses that went right through the box and a header from Cathline over the bar. Basingstoke did a good job of killing the game off but still managed to create more chances. Aaron Jarvis was unfortunate not to capitalise on two great chances and George Hallahan hit a shot just wide but the two goal lead was enough to see Basingstoke through to full time.
Full Time: 1-3