BY NICK WILSON
Basingstoke fought hard to earn all three points against St. Ives at Westwood Park, making it two wins out of two at the ground for the season after also winning away to Cambridge City 2-0 in January.
The hosts had the better of the early exchanges on a difficult pitch that made passing football difficult. Tom McGowan chose to cross rather than shoot when set free on the left side of the box and soon afterwards, Ben Seymour-Shove did shoot from a similar position but it was straight at stand in keeper Kieran Greene.
Chances were at a premium in the first half but Basingstoke came into it and finished the half the stronger of the two sides. Aaron Jarvis judged a bouncing ball better than the home defence and raced through on goal but was denied by the legs of Tim Trebes in goal for St. Ives. Nana Owusu also tested the goalkeeper at the end of the half when his deflected free kick almost wrongfooted Trebes but he managed to scramble across his line to tip the ball round the post.
HALF TIME: 0-0
St. Ives came out strongly for the second half and kept Basingstoke pinned back with early pressure and a flurry of corners. The visitors were able to threaten on the break though, Owusu leaving several defenders trailing in his wake before dragging a shot just wide on his left foot.
Basingstoke broke the deadlock on 65 minutes following a free kick from Sam Deadfield wide on the right. He whipped the ball to the far post and after it was headed against the bar, Matt Partridge got to the loose ball first to finish from close range and put his side in front, his fourth goal of the season.
St. Ives pressed on for the equaliser and had a strong penalty shout waved away by the referee while Jack Higgs volleyed narrowly wide following a corner that was half cleared. At the other end, substitute Aaron Redford had a penalty appeal of his own turned down while also hitting a scorching volley just off target. Aaron Jarvis also went close to getting his name on the scoresheet, turning a low cross from Owusu over the bar at the near post.
St. Ives bombarded the Basingstoke box as the last few minutes ticked away with a succession of corners and long balls but the visitors backline held firm to repel the attacks and return home with the victory.