THREE players were sent-off as Basingstoke Town lost 2-1 at home to Cinderford Town on Saturday afternoon.

The home side gave a debut to new signing Watford under-23 star Ryan Suckling who replaced Adam Everiss in defence, while up front Reece Rusher came in for Ben Wright.

It was the Dragons who had the first chance of the game as early as the second minute, as Ben Cook found Alfie Saunders, but the loan man from Forest Green fired wide of the target.

On the 13 minute mark, both sides were reduced to 10 men after a challenge between Basingstoke captain Dean Stow and Cinderford’s Lorcan Sheeham resulted in both of them being shown straight red cards.

Even at 10-a-side the home side looked the more likely to score and a shot from Harrison Cliff was deflected onto the bar.

The home side were then dealt a bitter blow just four minutes before half-time, when AFC Wimbledon’s loanee Reuben Collins was adjudged to have been the last man as Cinderford break forward and was sent-off reducing Basingstoke to nine men.

After the break, it was visiting Cinderford who opened the scoring on 70 minutes from Nick Rhodes.

However, eight minutes later, Basingstoke despite being a man down levelled things.

Sub Ricardo Andrady made a great run and found Claudio Herbert, who provided the finish.

Just when it looked like the nine men Dragons would earn a worthy draw for their efforts, Cinderford won the game with a minute left, thanks to a strike from Craig Norman from just outside the box.

On Tuesday night, Basingstoke are back in action as they travel to AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium to take on the Cherries under-23 side in the second round of this year’s Hampshire Senior Cup.

The Dragons have happy memories of the Vitality Stadium, as they won the county crown at this venue, on their last visit in 2008 against Farnborough.

The last time they played Bournemouth in this competition was in 2017 final, when they beat them on penalties.