BY NICK WILSON
Basingstoke’s first match action of the 2017/18 preseason ended in a comfortable victory at Step 6 Alton FC thanks to five first half goals with the home side mustering a consolation goal early in the second half.
Basingstoke named a different lineup for each half and the first half team got to work early, taking the lead through Ashleigh Artwell in the 9th minute. The winger combined well with returning striker Ben Wright, who’s neat touch put him through on goal and he finished well with his left foot, despite a strong touch from Alton keeper Matt Petts. The lead was quickly doubled as Artwell and Wright switched roles, the former teeing up the latter who poked home to make it 2-0 just a couple of minutes later.
Basingstoke enjoyed the bulk of possession, their higher league status on show as they moved the ball about confidently and stretched the home side. Alton struggled to create clear chances although Basingstoke goalkeeper Liam Beech, had to be alert to make a save from Callum Burch who found space on the edge of the box.
Basingstoke continued to dominate though and increased their lead as Artwell grabbed his second, Allowed to drift inside from the right he was afforded enough space to finish across Petts with his left foot. There was still time for more goalmouth action as Sam Smart scored twice within a couple of minutes of the stroke of halftime, firstly meeting the ball at the near post and deftly touching it across Petts into the bottom corner and just 3 minutes later turning the ball home from close range after Wright knocked a far post cross back across goal.
HALF TIME: 0-5
Basingstoke deployed an entirely different side in the second half fielding an XI comprised of academy players and trialists. Alton had a little more joy in the second half as they made plenty of changes of their own. The hosts got a goal back through Regan Hitch 10 minutes into the second period. The midfielder stepped up to bend a superb free kick inside the near post, leaving the Basingstoke trialist keeper with no chance.
Basingstoke continued to make chances of their own, Jordan Goater whipped a dangerous ball in from the left that just eluded everyone while Kieron Rodgers was unfortunate with two chances that were struck just off target.
FULL TIME: 1-5
Basingstoke 1st half XI: Beech; Kennedy, Partridge, Bayliss; Johnson Schuster, M Atkinson, R Atkinson, Bennett; Artwell, Wright, Smart.
Basingstoke 2nd half XI: Trialist; Trialist, Trialist, Williams, Yeoman; Shaw, Trialist, McCann, Goater; Pearson, Rodgers.
Alton: Petts; Colbourn, Taylor, Williams, M Graham; Davis, O Graham, Hayes, Cresswell, Hitch; Burch. Subs: Gill, Haig, Robinson, Dumitrache, Paddon.