Fleet began 2015/16 as intended with a single-goal victory over last season’s bogey side – Danny Kedwell’s 51st minute strike notching up the full three points.
There was much expectation over Daryl McMahon’s starting line-up and Danny Kedwell was chosen over Adam Cunnington to lead the line, with Kenny Clark in ahead of Anthony Acheampong in defence.
The opening 45 minutes was predictably tight, though Fleet saw early action when Joe Howe’s low shot was saved by his namesake Aaron in the Dragons goal. Louie Soares had a couple of efforts saved by Brandon Hall at the other end as Basingstoke’s forward play showed that last season was no flash in the pan.
Kedwell couldn’t quite connect with a header at the far post from Matt Fish’s cross but the home side’s best efforts came towards the break, particularly when Tom Bonner cracked a shot goalwards from a corner that Howe did well to keep out. A Jordan Parkes free-kick then caused consternation in the visitors’ defence but the ball diverted wide of the post.
And Parkes had the first sight of goal in the second half as his shot was pushed behind by Howe but five minutes later Fleet went one better. Kedwell, from the edge of the box, made some space for himself and bent a fine shot around Howe and into the corner for what proved to be the decisive goal.
Howe managed to beat John Paul Kissock to a chance on the hour mark and Robbie Willmott fired one not too far wide as Fleet began to ask all the questions. That said, the visitors refused to buckle and Liam Enver-Marum led a break that saw Kenny Clark clear the cross out of the six-yard box with Chris Flood advancing.
Substitute Danny Haynes went close eight minutes from time for the Fleet before Basingstoke wasted a glorious opportunity when Bonner blocked Lloyd Macklin’s shot and Nathan Smart could have buried the rebound but fired it high.
Back came Fleet and both Cunnington and Parkes troubled Aaron Howe but neither could claim a second goal – not that it mattered as the final whistle was greeted with cheers by the home fans at their confirmation of three points.
EUFC: Hall, Fish, Howe, Rance, Clark, Bonner, Godden (Haynes 73), Parkes, Kedwell (Cunnington 80), Kissock, Willmott. Subs not used: Acheampong, Miles, Johnson
BTFC: Howe, Smart, Bird, Harper, Gasson, Ray, Soares (Dunn 80), Brown, Enver-Marum, Flood, Williams (Macklin 62). Subs not used: Gilkes, Salmon, McAuley