BASINGSTOKE Town moved to within five points of the Conference South play-off places with an impressive victory at Paddy Power Park last night.
Manny Williams’ brace and David Ray’s header secured maximum points for the visitors, who moved up a place to ninth with an important win over their north Hampshire rivals.
The game was perhaps closer than the final scoreline suggests, with Farnborough missing two guilt-edged chances over the course of the 90 minutes. However, Town also went close to adding more goals, Andrew Jenkinson and Jay Gasson both hitting the crossbar.
With Wes Daly, Shaun McAuley and Neil Barrett all out injured, Basingstoke manager Jason Bristow was forced to field young duo Simon Dunn and Jenkinson in the centre of midfield.
It was a brave move, and he must have been tempted to field either David Ray or Robbie Rice as a holding midfielder, but Dunn and Jenkinson did an excellent job, playing a big part in the visitors’ success.
Town got off to the perfect start, taking the lead with their first attack after just three minutes. An excellent touch from Nathan Smart, playing on the right wing, had Williams free in the area and he made no mistake, slotting low past Kevin Scriven to open the scoring.
Farnborough looked to hit back, with Phil Page seeing his low shot deflected wide, while Luis Morrison-Derbyshire headed too close to Louis Wells in the Town goal from a corner.
However, they should have levelled on 27 minutes. A neat one-two between Jamal Lowe and Daniel Bennett resulted in Lowe firing in a low shot that Wells was only able to parry, but Page was only able to flick the rebound wide when he seemed certain to score.
Town were inches away from doubling the lead when Jenkinson’s shot from 30 yards smacked against the crossbar, but they did add a second goal on 38 minutes.
A free-kick from halfway was inadvertently flicked on by a home defender and Ray found himself unmarked in the six-yard box, heading low past Skriven.
Basingstoke made a change at the break, with Kezie Ibe replacing the ineffective Jordace Holder-Spooner, and the substitute immediately caused problems with his pace and direct running.
He got into several good positions but was unable to make the most of them, with either his pass or shot going astray.
With Farnborough throwing men forward, Town looked threatening on the break. Jenkinson played in Williams, but Skriven was off his line quickly to make an important clearance.
The home goalkeeper was called into action again just after the hour, showing great reactions to push Gasson’s header over the bar, while the Town defender went even closer from the next corner.
Skriven made the save from Smart’s low shot, with Gasson’s follow-up crashing against the crossbar and away to safety.
Farnborough managed to rally and nearly pulled a goal back. Wells kept out Lowe’s angled effort but was unable to hold on to the ball. Again, it looked like a tap-in, this time for substitute Connor French, but the ball got caught under his feet with the goal gaping.
The visitors made the game safe with 10 minutes to go. Adam Green’s strong run into the area ended with him being brought down by Josh Huggins and Williams stepped up to find the bottom corner from the penalty spot.
Both sides had chances in the closing stages, but Bennett fired wide for the hosts, while Scriven did well to deny Smart at his near post.
Click here to see a post-match video interview with Basingstoke Town manager Jason Bristow.
Farnborough: Scriven, Huggins, Treacher, Lee, Inns, Morrison-Derbyshire, Bennett, Ball (sub Doyle 63min), Sykes (sub Berry 51min), Lowe, Page (sub French 51min). Subs (not used): Bosch, Cole.
Basingstoke Town: Wells, Rice, Green, Jenkinson, Gasson, Ray, Smart, Dunn, Holder-Spooner (sub Ibe 45min), Williams (sub Matthews 84min), Soares. Subs (not used): Adams, Johnson-Schuster, Greene.