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Basingstoke Town 0-1 Aldershot Town

ALDERSHOT Town ended their winless jinx at the Camrose with a thoroughly professional performance to consolidate their six-point lead at the top of the Ryman premier division.

The Basingstoke away jinx that has haunted Aldershot Town for so long was finally put to bed on Tuesday night as Terry Brown's eyes look ever closer towards Conference football next year.

Paul Buckle's second goal in the space of three days lifted the spirits of Shots fans, who have had their party raided on far too many occasions in recent years by a Basingstoke side who get all dressed up for the occasion simply because they don't have their own to go to.

This was a first win for the Shots at what has been a graveyard for results in their favour in the league. But make no mistake, it could well turn out to be one of the most priceless ones in a season that cannot run out of fixtures soon enough for the manager.

A delighted Brown said after the match: "I am a very relieved man at the moment as this is a very difficult fixture. We worked our socks off out there and deserved our win — it is a massive three points for us."

This was by no means champagne stuff, but when you are asked to play football on a potato field what do you expect.

The mere fact that Brown's men managed to get the ball to feet on such a dreadful surface was a credit in itself and it was through such neat play that they unlocked the door to an otherwise stubborn and organised Basingstoke defence.

After a string of passes involving Nick Roddis, Aaron McLean and Roscoe D'Sane, former Basingstoke player Jason Chewins tried his luck from outside the box and despite Scott Tarr getting a good hand to it, he could not prevent Buckle from slotting into an empty net in the 63rd minute. The goal was always on the cards after the Shots began to take control midway through the first half.

Basingstoke did look lively in the opening stages, but as soon as D'Sane settled into his usual rhythm, the Shots took the game by the scruff of the neck.

It was through his endeavour that the visitors found themselves appealing for a penalty in the 20th minute when the lively forward appeared to clatter into Steve Hemmings.

The referee's decision to point his finger at D'Sane rather than the spot was fair enough but the incident was just for starters as Brown's men continued to find their feet, whilst Basingstoke continued to chase the leather around the park.

Ray Warburton then forced Tarr into making the save of the match on 36 minutes. His powerful header being turned over the bar by the impressive stopper from Buckle's corner, which was just one of a handful that the home side's defence had to deal with in the first 45 minutes.

The home side could well have taken the lead five minutes before the break though, when Neville Stamp got on the end of Alex Ewing's smart through-ball, only to fire wide of Nikki Bull's right-hand post when perhaps he should have done better.

However, that rare effort on goal did not deter the league leaders, who started off the second period as they meant to go on by throwing attack after attack at Tarr's goal-mouth.

Lee Holsgrove found himself unmarked in the box in the 47th minute after the industrious Roddis had floated over a teasing ball. His overhead kick though failed to test Tarr on this occasion but there was plenty more in the tank from the Shots as they stepped up their play to another gear once again.

D'sane really should have opened the scoring moments later when he fired high over the bar from close range after yet another ball into the box from Roddis but the nerves were settled soon after with Buckle's opener as Basingstoke began to tire.

From here it was business as usual, with a nervy-looking Shots side defending their advantage and making life difficult for themselves.

Basingstoke could well have taken a share of the spoils late on when Craig McAllister's free header hit Bull's upright. However, the luck favoured the Shots as the rebound fell into no mans' land and despite further pressure, the points were safely packed into Brown's bag for the short journey back up the M3.

Brown added: "It never fails to amaze me how hard the opposition try. We had this lot watched last week and they didn't look anything like the side that they put out today. It was certainly a cup-tie atmosphere and I felt that our supporters were nervous but they have to have belief in us, because this is our year."

SHOTS: Bull, Hooper, Chewins, A.Charles, Warburton, Sterling, Roddis (sub Perkins 90mins), Holsgrove, McLean, D'Sane (Browne 82), Buckle: Not used: Howells, L.Charles, Hammond.

Ref: Ken Pike. Att: 1,617.


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
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