After last week’s FA Cup disappointment, Basingstoke Town returned to league action in emphatic style as they beat St Ives Town 3-2 in a thrilling game at the Camrose on Saturday.
It looked as if the Dragons would have to settle for a point, but a late goal from Sam Deadfield saw Basingstoke snatch victory.
This was Basingstoke’s third win in a row in the Southern Premier League, and lifts them to 11th in the standings with nine points.
Basingstoke were the more attacking side in the early stages, and came agonisingly close to scoring as Ben Wright hit the post before Dan Collier’s follow-up effort was deflected towards Ives’ goalkeeper James Goff.
However the hosts did manage to grab the first goal soon afterwards as Jack McKnight set up Sam Smart for a free run on goal, and he beat Goff from 15 yards out.
They doubled their lead in the 39th minute when Smart was brought down just outside the box, and Wright curled the free kick over the five-man wall into the top corner.
The two-goal lead didn’t last long as Ives pulled one back just before half-time through Jimmy Hartley, who bundled the ball in from close range.
Basingstoke had two missed chances after the restart, first as Connor Davis was denied from a one-on-one with Goff and then as Wright missed a header while unmarked.
And just after the hour mark Ives equalised in controversial fashion as a goalmouth scramble led to the ball falling to an offside-looking Ben Seymour-Shove, whose subsequent goal was awarded despite protests from the home side.
As the rain fell the game entered its last 10 minutes, and Smart launched a low cross that skipped along the damp turf in front of Goff, who got both hands to the ball.
But Goff was unable to hold on and Basingstoke substitute Deadfield was on hand to stab home the loose ball from close range.
The Dragons made sure they kept the majority of the possession in the last minutes and ensured the three points remained in Basingstoke.
Basingstoke are back in action with another home game on Tuesday night against Merthyr Town.