Basingstoke produced a battling performance to come away with three hard-earned points as Brad Wilson’s early goal secured the win away at South Park.

Goalkeeper Paul Strudley returned to the line-up, as did Ben Cook in place of Anton Rodgers in midfield and Cook played a pivotal role, assisting the game’s only goal.

Top scorer Conor Lynch had already tested Mo Otuyo in the South Park goal before ‘Stoke took the lead, Cook threading a perfectly weighted pass in behind for Wilson to slot across the advancing goalkeeper with nine minutes played.

Paul Strudley did well to get down and keep out a Melford Simpson header that looked destined for the bottom corner but otherwise, South Park struggled to threaten the Basingstoke goal throughout the first half and the chances all came at the other end. Robb Sheridan and Stefan Brown both headed good chances narrowly over the bar, as did Lynch following a free kick before the striker also thumped the base of the post after a wonderful touch to bring Nathan Smart’s high diagonal ball under his spell.

The second half followed a different script as South Park put Basingstoke under more pressure and a defence that has been prone to conceding goals stood up to protect the lead. Joe Bell had the hosts best chance, getting free in the box to head a corner over and Ibrahim Jalloh sliced a shot well off target when the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the box.

‘Stoke created fewer chances, Lynch sending the best of them over the bar as he stretched to meet a low cross but as South Park bombarded the visitors’ box late on, but the defence held firm and Basingstoke moved back into the playoff places with a 1-0 win.