Rovers crashed to their eleventh straight defeat on Saturday when Basingstoke Town showed their class and moved to the top of the table with a comprehensive 5-0 win.
The visitors took the lead in only the fourth minute, a ball down the left found Callum Winchcombe, his cross was half headed clear by Alexandre Stingelin but dropped kindly to Bradley Wilson and he took a touch and crashed the ball beyond Dan O’Donovan.
Basingstoke continued to dominate, and on ten minutes George Reid curled an effort wide of the right hand post. Rovers were working manfully to keep Basingstoke at bay, without offering much of a threat going forward, and on 17 minutes, Sam Argent cut inside but fired an effort wide of the post.
Rovers first real goal threat came on 19 minutes, skipper Tyler Cox did superbly to rob Wilson and find Matt Surmon, his ball into Markus Marku set the forward away but good defending by Nathan Smart saw the ball out for a corner, which came to nothing.
Bertie Lloyd and O’Donovan combined to see off another Basingstoke attack midway through the half, as the visitors looked for the second goal that would give them breathing space and ensure they moved into top spot.
Argent latched onto a low Reid cross on 25 minutes and fired home, but Rovers were saved by the eagle-eyed assistant who had spotted an offside in the move. And just after the half hour Argent put a free header from a corner over the bar.
It was 2-0 five minutes before the break, O’Donovan saved well low down to his left from a fizzed effort from the edge of the area, but Basingstoke regained possession and from a low cross from the right Argent was on hand to poke the ball home, despite the best efforts of the young Rovers keeper and the visitors went into the interval two goals to the good.
Rovers started the second half much better than they had the first, and after an early Cox effort had drifted just wide, great work by Shakeel Morris saw him force an error out of Smart, with the ball going out for a corner. From the delivery by Zaid Ouaret Sorr, Liam Holden volleyed over the crossbar.
Scott Armsworth headed over on 67 minutes and shortly after neat interplay by Cox, Malachi Robinson and Morris was well defended by Basingstoke and from the quick break, they forced a corner.
Nathan Smart made it 3-0 on 74 minutes and a minute later Wilson added his second and the fourth for the visitors.
Scoring was completed with just over five minutes remaining, when Danny Divine was left with a difficult ball to deal with, and as it was pinched off him, a break down the left saw the ball find Dandre Brown and his fierce effort slipped under O’Donovan to seal the 5-0 win.
It has to be said, Basingstoke were a class above, and admittedly I haven’t seen every game this season or in fact every opponent, but they were head and shoulders above any side I have seen us play this season.