THERE was no fairy-tale ending to Basingstoke Town’s time at the Camrose, as defeat against visiting title chasing Taunton Town 2-1 saw them relegated.

A bumper crowd of over 1,000 packed into the iconic ground for one last time, hoping to cheer the Dragons to Southern League Premier South safety.

The home side started the day in a good position being 17th in the table, but in the four-way battle for the final relegation place, they were the only side to lose and so went down.

Basingstoke started the game minus leading goal scorer Sam Argent injured in Wednesday night’s Hampshire Senior Cup final and French winger Yvan Jourdan just failed to turn up.

Basingstoke’s hope of victory was further compounded with the loss of skipper Charlie Kennedy just after the half hour mark as he limped off.

Playing against a very strong wind for the first 45 minutes, the home side found it hard to get out of their own half, a lot of the time being pinned back by their opponents.

However, the Dragons did force the first corner of the game and Kennedy fired just wide.

Taunton then went close as Andrew Neal volleyed just wide and then a couple of corners from the visitors in quick succession were cleared.

The home side then should have taken the lead, as a cross in from Smart was laid back to Ben Wright and Sam Deadfield in a great position somehow put the ball wide of the target.

Soon after from another Taunton corner, Bayliss headed the ball to the edge of the area, where Basingstoke’s Ben Wright swung his leg to clear the ball, but instead took down Neal in the area.

A penalty was awarded, and the Taunton man dusted himself down and fired into the bottom corner on 18 minutes.

More corners followed as the visitors looked for a second goal.

It so nearly arrived on 36 minutes, as Jack Wakely misjudged a bouncing ball and Neal hit the ball over home goal goalkeeper Tom McGill and much to the relief of most of the crowd also the bar.

With five minutes left in the opening session, the home side made a rare adventure into the Taunton penalty area, as Smart flashed a volley across the face of goal.

Then in added on time at the end of the first half, a great block by Dean Stow denied Matt Wright a second for the Peacocks.

The second half saw the Dragons now with the wind advantage, but it was Taunton who struck first to make it 2-0 on 51 minutes.

Dan Sullivan was able to hook the ball onto Ryan Brett and he scored.

Basingstoke started to get back into the contest and just after the hour mark, a Harry Pearse free-kick saw Bayliss’s downward header well taken by the Taunton goalkeeper Lloyd Irish.

Then on 68 minutes, the home side gave themselves a lifeline as Smart’s curled in cross was poked home by Ben Wright.

At this point, Basingstoke knew another goal would mean they would avoid relegation.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes a great turn and shot from Taunton’s Neal, saw his effort crash off the crossbar.

Despite the need for an equaliser, the home side never really carved out any decent chances and then three minutes into added on time, the Dragons were awarded a free-kick 30-yards from goal.

Could Ben Wright repeat his super strike of Wednesday night with a free-kick and send the final crowd at the Camrose wild.

Unfortunately, it was not to be, as despite the striker getting the ball over the wall, it also went over the bar and Basingstoke’s fate was sealed.

They will now play next season in the Southern League Division One South.

Afterwards Town manager Martin Kuhl said: “It was difficult conditions for both sides, but we did not produce the performance I was looking for.

“I have no complaints with the penalty, you can’t put your leg out and once again we have failed to track runners which has led to their second goal. This has been the story of our season and in the end has cost us our place in this division.”