Whitehawk crashed to their second defeat of the season at previously winless Basingstoke Town.
The Hawks dominated for a large part, if not all of the match, but missed chances proved to be the difference on the night as the hosts scored twice in the closing stages to win 3-1 at The Camrose.
The Hawks had the first chance of the match when Sergio Torres found space on the edge of the area following a good passing move, but his effort was saved by Aaron Howe before Craig Ross in the visitors’ goal was called upon, saving well to his left to keep out Louie Soares’ low drive.
It was Town who broke the deadlock after twelve minutes when Tom Bird was played through down the left, and his low ball across goal picked out Chris Flood who fired in at the near post.
The Hawks looked to respond straight away, with Torres unlucky not to do better from Danny Mills’ knock down, before Sam Deering fired off target as the Hawks trailed after half an hour.
Arnaud Mendy then drove forward with the ball at his feet, but only to see his rasping strike whistle over the top. Deering then had an effort from 25 yards whistle wide of the post, before Mills again couldn’t hit the target at the end of a run into the penalty area.
David Martin came close to putting the Hawks level almost immediately after the break when he shot goalwards, but Howe got down well to his left to turn the ball around the post.
And the equaliser duly came six minutes into the second period when Deering did well to lose his marker inside the area and fire low into the bottom corner from ten yards.
It then took a fantastic save from Howe to keep Basingstoke level. Deering floated in a free kick and picked out Dean Leacock, but his bullet header from close range was turned away by a great reflex save from the former Woking keeper.
However, despite their dominance, the Hawks were dealt a reminder when Bird whipped in a great cross from the left which picked out Flood, who outjumped his marker but his bullet header went just wide of the top corner with twenty minutes left.
The Hawks then came so close to going ahead with just over fifteen minutes to go. David Martin whipped in a corner from the right which picked out Jordan Rose at the far post, but his bullet header was somehow blocked on the line by Stoke skipper David Ray.
Deering then tested Howe, but the hosts’ keeper saved comfortably before two minutes from time, Howe again came to the rescue when Martin’s cross picked out Mills in the centre, but a great save from the keeper kept him at bay.
Despite their dominance, the Hawks fell behind at the stroke of the 90th minute when a neat one two saw Simon Dunn in space inside the area, and from twelve yards he fired low past Craig Ross – who hadn’t had a shot to deal with all half.
And Basingstoke were able to add a third goal with the last kick of the match. In their bid to find an equaliser in the closing stages, Will Salmon burst forward down the right and picked out an unmarked Lloyd Macklin in the centre, and his effort from ten yards found the bottom corner.
Football can be cruel, and on another day Whitehawk would have run out winners by two, maybe three goals and be well worth it… however, it wasn’t to be on the night.
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