Basingstoke Town registered their first win of the new league season on Saturday, with a convincing 5-0 victory over London side Harrow Borough, writes Jacob Wilkinson.

Dan Brownlie’s side had only picked up one point from their first three games back in the Southern League Premier, with the draw coming on the opening day – 2-2 in Devon at Tiverton Town. ‘Stoke followed up with a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Hanwell Town on their return to Winklebury a week later, and were left with nothing to show for a much-improved midweek performance on the south coast – as they were beaten 4-1 by Gosport Borough.

Up next was Harrow, the side who finished fourth-bottom in the division last year but were reprieved due to the Metropolitan Police’s voluntary relegation to Step 4. They were a team with an impressive squad, though, with manager Brownlie admitting that the club made contact for three Boro’ players over the summer.

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‘Stoke were determined not to find out the threats that Harrow would pose to them, however, by beginning the match aggressively and on the front foot. They soon reaped the rewards of the fast start, as Scott Armsworth nodded on Marcus Johnson-Schuster’s cross to centre-back partner Billy Upton – who cushioned his header past Tyler Tobin and into the Harrow net.

Reminiscent of Basingstoke’s title-winning promotion campaign, when one goal went in another quickly followed. Morrison Hashii, a summer signing from London Samurai Rovers, added a goal to his assist in Gosport on Wednesday – a coolly-taken, composed finish to double the lead.

‘Stoke continued their fine attacking play all the way through the first half, and profited yet again when Tobin brought down George Reid inside the box. Last season’s top scorer Brad Wilson stepped up and made no mistake from the spot, sending the Harrow ‘keeper the wrong way. It was 3-0 at the break.

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The second period was a little more relaxed from Basingstoke, with the hosts well in control of the game and their visitors struggling to craft any clear-cut opportunities. The scoring didn’t stop, though, and new man Dan Isaiah Rowe’s impressive personal performance was typified by his quick feet and cross in for George Reid, who had an open goal to direct the deflected ball into the back of - two goals in two games for the fan favourite winger.

There was still time for another fan favourite, this time Michael Atkinson, to get on the scoresheet as he coupled an intelligent forward run with a clever finish into the top-left corner - the ‘defensive’ midfielder’s second goal of the season.

Basingstoke will now look forward to building on this result on Bank Holiday weekend – where they play two games in three days. Dan Brownlie’s side travel to winless Didcot Town on Saturday, before in-form AFC Totton come to Winklebury on Monday.