BY NICK WILSON
Basingstoke’s winning run under new manager Martin Kuhl was ended in treacherous conditions in Swindon as the hosts overcame a strong start from the Dragons to run away with it late on.
The rain hammered down throughout the contest, hampering the visitors attempts to hold possession the way Kuhl likes and perhaps slightly favouring the more direct Supermarine. They were on the front foot from the off. Zidan Akers abundant talent has flashed inconsistently this season but was on full show throughout the first quarter of the match, getting the ball time and time again and giving opposing right back Connor Thompson a torrid time and creating chances for himself and his teammates. It took just over ten minutes for one of those chances to come to fruition. Winning the ball in midfield, Charlie Kennedy quickly threaded a pass wide to Akers who sent a neat cross to the far post where top scorer Sam Argent slid in to poke home his 11th of the season.
The tide began to turn though as Supermarine gained a foothold. Stuart Fleetwood, so often a thorn in Basingstoke’s side in recent times had two chances in quick succession before making no mistake with the third as a long-range strike from Brad Hooper rebounded off Cameron Kennedy and Fleetwood lifted the second ball in off the crossbar for the equaliser.
Goalkeeper Kennedy was making his first appearance with usual stopper Colm McAdden out through illness and he was called upon early in the second half, parrying an angled effort out into the six-yard box but Henry Spalding was first to it and he converted from close range early in the second period. Basingstoke responded well as a high, curling cross from the right drifted over Argent’s head and was inadvertently turned into his own goal by defender Matt Williams but just a couple of minutes later the home team were in front once more. Conor McDonagh came in onto his right foot and curled a pinpoint effort from 20 yards into the bottom corner.
Basingstoke were let off as Fleetwood went through on goal, only to hit the side netting before a neat one-two at the other end released Dean Stow to crash a shot against the post. The Dragons were left to rue Stow’s poor luck as Supermarine fired in two more goals within 8 minutes to kill the game off. McDonagh notched his second, dribbling between two defenders and slotting across Kennedy before Ryan Campbell’s thumping strike from the edge of the box clipped a post before slamming into the net to round the afternoon off.
FULL TIME: 5-2
Swindon Supermarine (4-4-2): Will Henry; Connor Thompson, Matt Williams, Matt Coupe, Michael Hopkins; Henry Spalding, Jamie Edge, Brad Hooper (Joe Shepherd), Ryan Campbell; Conor McDonagh, Stuart Fleetwood.
Subs not used: Zak Westlake, Dave Bampton, Jerel Ifil, Kieran Diaz-Benitez.
Basingstoke Town (4-4-2): Cameron Kennedy; Dean Stow, Shane Hollamby, Dan Bayliss, Rob Gerrard (Jim Orvis); Sam Smart, Sam Deadfield, Charlie Kennedy, Zidan Akers (Harry Pearse); Ben Wright, Sam Argent.
Subs not used: Harry Philby, Drew Matthews, Dan Collier.