For the second Evo-Stik Southern League game running a solitary goal was enough to sink Banbury United.
A superb second half free-kick from Nana Owusu gave Basingstoke Town three deserved premier division points in Tuesday’s clash at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.
The visitors had much the better of the first half. Both sides tried to play their passing game but Basingstoke were better at it, keeping the ball for longer periods.
Basingstoke went close when a corner from Sam Deadfield led to a scramble in the six-yard box with the ball eventually popping up nicely for Charlie Kennedy. But, with the goal at his mercy, Kennedy’s header hit the outside of the post before being cleared.
With Basingstoke dominating the possession there were few chances for United in the first half.
The home side’s best move saw James Smith send Conor McDonagh away on the right, he cut inside and was forced wide by David Ray but still managed to shoot for the far corner from a narrow angle only for keeper Alex Tokarczyk to push the ball away.
Six minutes into the second half Basingstoke made the breakthrough that their play had deserved.
Initially the referee awarded a penalty when substitute George Nash bundled over Aaron Jarvis in the area. But after consulting his assistant he took play back to an earlier infringement by Andy Gunn on Deadfield just outside the area.
Not to be denied, Owusu hit a glorious free-kick into the top far corner of the net to put the Hampshire side ahead.
Having gone behind, United responded by creating a couple of opportunities. A corner from substitute Mark Bell saw Luke Carnell get up above the Basingstoke defence but Tokarczyk gathered the central defender’s header low down.
Ten minutes from time another corner from Bell fell to Jack Self 12 yards out whose shot was well blocked by a defender with the ball coming out to substitute Sam Humphreys on the edge of the area. His goal-bound shot was blocked by a combination of a defender and keeper with Tokarczyk finally gathering the loose ball.