Basingstoke fell to defeat on Tuesday night when the effort from Saturday’s win at promotion favourites Weymouth appeared to take its toll after a quick turnaround. It was the thirteenth game for the Dragons in just over six weeks in what has been a relentless schedule since the Christmas period.
There was optimism around the Camrose though after the excellent win at the weekend but Basingstoke were dealt a blow early on, central defender Jack Wakely taking a blow to the face and being forced off, causing Dan Bayliss to return from an injury of his own just ten minutes in. It was a quiet start to the match otherwise with just a couple of shots from Sam Smart which both failed to trouble visiting keeper Jake Hallett.
The game began to open up around the 20-minute mark though as Rob Gerrard’s deflected cross looped towards Harry Pearse, but the midfielder couldn’t direct it towards goal and at the other end, Bouwe Bosma struck a powerful effort right at Tom McGill. Jack Sparkes had a couple of efforts well saved by McGill before the opener came, Tom Whelan driving low through a crowd of players to beat the ‘Stoke keeper just inside his post.
Basingstoke struggled to break the away side down as they sat back behind the ball but they thought they’d equalised ten minutes before half time as Gerrard’s excellent low cross was converted by Sam Argent. His celebrations were cut short by an offside flag though, a decision which incensed both Argent and the home fans. Fan frustration was increased a few minutes later as Smart burst beyond Claudio Herbert and appeared to be brought down from behind by the full back inside the box but the referee waved away the penalty shouts.
Into the second half and despite a positive start from the hosts Salisbury fashioned two wonderful chances to double their lead, both falling for Tom Hopper. First after winning the ball high up the field and finding himself in a 3-on-1 situation he elected not to use his teammates in support and rolled a weak shot at McGill before turning Sparkes’ low cross against the foot of the post.
It didn’t matter for Salisbury though as they made it 2-0 halfway through the second period. A corner from the right wasn’t dealt with and after a few headers around the box, Aaron Dawson took charge by volleying the ball across goal and into the bottom corner.
Basingstoke pressed to try to get back into the game but despite Zidan Akers, Harry Pearse and Rob Gerrard all trying their luck, no one was able to beat Hallett and the Dragons were left to turn their attentions to the weekend visit of bottom club Staines Town.