Christchurch 2 Bashley 1
(Wilcock 45′ Cherrett 65′) (Beard 48′) Att: 113
This highly anticipated game was not short of thrills, but the expected climax was curtailed by two late red cards.
Bashley, without a game in almost three weeks and with returning new boy Cameron Beard making a season’s first appearance in a black and gold shirt, kicked off down the slope and immediately went on the attack and an early strike from Harry Morgan was just wide.
This dominance was short-lived and Christchurch, with height advantage at both ends countered with speed and anticipation that handcuffed Bash’s passing game. Their eagerness to dominate was slightly overplayed when a goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by their own player!
Yet is was Bash that almost scored first when an out-swinging corner from Morgan was anticipated by the advancing Dan Thompson who scorched the air just above the bar with a powerful header. The home side continued to press until Bashley hit form in the final five minutes of the half.
A flowing training manual move ended with Morgan finding the wrong side of the bar followed by a midfield launched catapult shot from Thompson that hit first, the inside bottom of the post, and then keeper Lewis Gunstone-Grey as it sped across the open goalmouth.
Then, almost before the post stopped reverberating, an air-ball from long-throw specialist Ron Frost caught Bash sky-watching, leaving Max Wilcock free to open the scoring from close range and end the first half.
It took just three minutes for a rejuvenated Bashley to get back into the game, smart work by the ever-active Harry Bunce found Beard in space some ten metres outside of the box and his penetrating drive hit the back of the net before you could say, welcome back Cameron.
Minutes later, another Bunce assist send Beard goal bound only to have his mission abruptly ended in the penalty area. The ever-reliable Lewis Ross took the spot kick and his hard, low shot to the far corner was superbly intercepted by the diving Gunstone-Grey.
Unperturbed, Bashley continued to apply pressure with the best chance falling to Bunce who shot wide. With twenty-four minutes left to play Bashley’s wall of confidence cracked when a lofted freekick taken from some distance was headed home from above the stretched hands of Dan Kempson by Brad Cherrett and despite protests of impediment the goal stood.
Back in the lead and now with a proven formula, the Priory peppered the Bash area with high kicks and long throws but this time Kempson had their measure with a series of well time catches. At the other end Harry McGrath netted after an explosive run by Thompson but the official’s flag was not a surprise. What was a surprise was a hard tackle that took the ball from the toes of Ben Satterley that that earned Beard a red card quickly followed by a red card for Christchurch’s Frost for a kick when grounded. Incidents that seemed harsh to by-standers and slightly marred a game that hab been played in good spirits.
Bashley: Kempson, Webber, Smith, Morris, Thompson, Strickland, Bunce, Ross, Beard, Morgan, McGrath
Used Subs: none