A DRAMATIC period of injury-time saw Basingstoke Town robbed of a big win away at Conference South play-off rivals Dover Athletic yesterday afternoon.
Town could have moved level on points with their hosts with a win but Dover’s late leveller means that Jason Bristow’s men remain ninth in the table, with the gap between them and the top five up to seven points.
The visitors made just one, enforced change to the side that had won 3-0 at Farnborough just two days earlier, Kezie Ibe coming in for the injured Manny Williams.
The game was Town’s third in the space of five days, but they made a bright start and took the lead on 12 minutes, Louie Soares rounding Mitch Walker in the home goal and slotting into an empty net.
Town were the better side throughout and had chances to extend their lead, especially in the second half, with Adam Green and Nathan Smart both testing the home goalkeeper.
However, they were unable to get the killer second goal, with their strong appeals for a penalty waved away after a challenge on Ibe late on.
They were made to pay in a dramatic period of injury-time.
First, Dover seemed to have levelled from a corner, but the referee ruled that Sean Raggett’s header had not crossed the line after hitting the crossbar.
However, the hosts did equalise with just a minute of stoppage time remaining, Nathan Elder finding the net with a header.
There was still time for Town to go close to winning the game though, the visitors hitting the crossbar and then Soares being denied by an excellent double save from Walker.
Bristow’s men will be disappointed not to have won the game, but they are now unbeaten in six and very much in touch with the play-off places ahead of a visit from Eastbourne Borough on Tuesday.
Town will go above their opponents, who lost 1-0 at home to Havant and Waterlooville yesterday, if they can win at the Camrose.
Dover Athletic: Walker, Stone, Wynter, Kinnear, Raggett, Forbes (sub Charles 80min), Bellamy, Rogers (sub Modeste 73min), Elder, Cogan, Murphy (sub Ademola 56min). Subs (not used): Orlu, Kamara.
Basingstoke Town: Wells, Rice, Green, Ray, Gasson, Jenkinson, Smart, Dunn (sub Johnson-Schuster 90+1min), Ibe, Holder-Spooner (sub Matthews 78min), Soares. Subs (not used): Debattista, Maylen, Adams.