Basingstoke made the Boxing Day trip down to the south coast to take on Gosport, looking to continue a good recent run of form and earn their fifth win from six games. New signing Dan Read was named on the bench after signing dual registration terms from Bracknell Town while Harry Pearse and Drew Matthews continued in the starting line-up and Dean Stow and Dan Bayliss returned to their regular places in the side.
Basingstoke shaded the early stages although neither goalkeeper was seriously tested as the sides traded off target, long range efforts and Sam Argent had a penalty appeal turned down by the referee. The visitors were causing problems out wide, Sam Smart and Zidan Akers both threatening the Gosport fullbacks. Basingstoke did draw first blood as Dean Stow stepped up to bend a trademark free kick into the bottom corner from 25 yards, the set piece specialist’s seventh goal of the season.
Gosport responded though and Basingstoke’s propensity for conceding quickly after scoring reared its head again. Craig McAllister had already turned a cross over the bar from close range at the near post before a neat move down the left-hand side saw Patrick Suraci slip a disguised pass through to Ryan Pennery who fired unerringly into the roof of the net just eight minutes later.
Basingstoke finished the half the stronger, Harry Pearse denied by Pat O’Flaherty as he was played through one on one and Zidan Akers couldn’t turn a fierce ball across the face of goal into the net with his head. The best chance of the half came as more trickery from Smart on the right led to a far post cross which Akers headed back across goal and Sam Argent teed up for Sam Deadfield to shoot. His right footed volley was somehow kept out by O’Flaherty, sending the teams in level at the break.
The visitors will have felt they deserved to be ahead and caused problems in the second half, looking to take advantage of weaknesses in the Gosport back four which was lucky to remain intact after a waist high challenge on Sam Smart by Ryan Case who was quickly replaced. The third goal went the other way though as a left-wing cross was headed back across goal by McAllister and substitute George Barker touched the ball over the line from just a couple of yards out.
This time Basingstoke responded quickly as within five minutes, a searching ball forward from Stow evaded central defender Matthew Casey and Deadfield checked onto his left foot and rolled his shot wide of O’Flaherty and into the bottom corner of the net. Parity only last two minutes though as the hosts moved the ball quickly down the left before Suraci strode inside and was allowed the space to loop a shot over Colm McAdden from 20 yards to make it 3-2.
Basingstoke pressed for another equaliser as time ticked away, Akers forced an important save from O’Flaherty and Argent’s follow up was deflected wide. As Basingstoke tried to work one last opportunity in stoppage time, Gosport survived two penalty appeals as Dan Collier and Deadfield both went down but they held on to consign Basingstoke to a second defeat under Martin Kuhl.