Basingstoke continued their good recent form with a 1-0 victory away at Tooting & Mitcham United, their sixth in the last eight games, but were made to work for it by the 16th-placed strugglers.

Stefan Brown’s goal, his seventh in his last eight games, made the difference and ensured Town retained their position in the thick of the playoff mix.

It was a game of two halves and Town could have been two or three goals up by the break. George Reid and Brad Wilson had each spurned two chances as Basingstoke threatened in the early stages before Brown arrived to thump Wilson’s cutback in off the crossbar on 17 minutes.

Wilson was denied when one-on-one and the Terrors fashioned a chance of their own as Mark Waters placed a shot from close range into Paul Strudley’s chest at the far post following a corner.

The game turned in the second half as the home side switched system and managed to keep Basingstoke pinned back for long stretches of the second period.

Wilson had a chance on the break, a volleyed lob which produced an impressive save from the backpedalling Ollie Pain but Waters threatened from another corner, heading wide from close range when left free and Shamal Edwards crashed the ball against the bar amid a goalmouth scramble that Basingstoke just about survived.

As the game ticked through its closing stages ‘Stoke were able to hold their hosts to speculative, long-range efforts as they held out for three valuable points before heading into three straight home matches.