Basingstoke 2-1 Walton Casuals

The home side saw the return of goalkeeper Colm McAdden, but were minus Ben Wright, Dan Bayliss, Rob Gerrard and Dean Stow, so recent new signings Drew Matthews and Harry Pearse both made their home debuts.

Midfielder Pearse certainly impressed in the first 45 minutes and had a couple of early chances, before Walton’s Harry Mills curled a free-kick just over the bar.

Pearse then opened the scoring on 24 minutes, with a lovely low shot into the bottom corner, after a great lay back from Sam Argent.

The lead lasted just seven minutes, as the home defence failed to deal with a bouncing ball and James Ewington was able to set up Sonny Black to slot home.

However, Town were not to be denied a first-half lead. A super run from Sam Smart outpaced Jean-Luc Kinsaba and his cross saw Zidane Akers denied from five yards out, by a great block from Ryheem Sheckleford.

From the resulting corner, the ball came out to Smart and he drilled it into the net.

After this the home side dominated until the break but were unable to add to their tally.

The second half saw Walton have more of the play, but the home defence stood firm.

Just after the hour mark, only a great save denied Argent making it 3-1, as Town looked lively on the break.

Soon after, Smart so nearly got onto the end of a Jim Orvis cross and he also chased down a back pass from Alex Kelly, being hit by goalkeeper Brannon Daly’s clearance, but the ball went the wrong side of the post.

McAdden then saved from Walton’s Isaac Sarpong and Taurean Roberts fired just wide, but that was as close as the visitors got to an equaliser.

The win moved Town up to 15th in the table and they now have two away games coming up at Gosport Borough on Boxing day and then Beaconsfield on Saturday.

After the game a delighted Town boss Martin Kuhl said: “We had the better of the first half and showed a disciplined display after the break to stop them scoring. I am pleased with the win.

“I am now looking for the boys to take this performance forward into the next couple of games and hopefully get a winning run going.”

Report by Graham Merry with thanks to the Basingstoke Gazette

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