Winchester City 5 Basingstoke 1
Winchester's 5-1 victory over Basingstoke coupled with defeats for Paulton Rovers and Evesham enables the City club to regain third place in the table, while Barnstaple's victory means they are only behind Basingstoke at the bottom of the table on goal difference.
However despite their well documented problems of not being able to play their home matches in Basingstoke and their results Basingstoke as the only current team in the division to have played in the National League South still attract good crowds and the attendance of 342 for this local derby was comfortably Winchester's best of the season for a league game other than the attendance for he return fixture played in August.
Winchester made two changes from Boxing Day with Dan Williamson and Max Smith coming in for Joe Hayward and Liam Gilbert with the former dropping to the bench.
Winchester had most of the early play with Simba Mlambo getting a touch to Max Smith's cross, but not quite able to direct the ball goalwards, Luke King having a header saved, Ollie Balmer hitting the side netting and shooting over following a ball from Keith Emmerson and Jamie Barron also came close. They also had a goal disallowed for offside, but although Emmerson made a block to keep out Jordan Alves and Alves also forced a routine save from Ryan Pryce Winchester had other attacks besides the near misses.
As half time approached one began to wonder if Winchester might pay for not making more of their dominance, but two goals before half time put them in the driving seat. Firstly Luke King headed home a Jamie Barron and then Ollie Balmer scoring with a good low shot which certainly made up for him not scoring earlier.
Winchester continued to be on top in the second half with Jamie Barron having one shot tipped over the bar by Basingstoke goalkeeper Aaron Watkins and another shot deflected for a corner. It became 3-0 when Kieran Douglas heading home Barron's corner and the same combination produced the fourth with Douglas this time producing a diving header.
Shortly after going 4-0 up Winchester bought on Oli Bailey and Ollie Griggs for Luke King and Simba Mlambo. Shortly afterwards Bailey set up Balmer who forced a good save from Watkins, but it was not long before Winchester scored their fifth with Griggs scoring with an excellent strike from well outside the penalty area.
After this Basingstoke probably had their best spell of the match with Ryan Pryce being forced into action on at least two occasions. They were awarded a penalty which was blazed over the bar, but they did pull a goal back through Brad Wilson, but before the end Winchester came close to scoring again with Oli Bailey having an effort well saved by Watkins, and Douglas, Barron and Rob Carr all coming close.
In the end it was a comfortable win for Winchester against a team who held them to a draw earlier in the season.