Bashley run out of luck

Alresford Town 2 Bashley 1
Wessex Premier

This much-anticipated game involving the top two in the recent form-table was played out on wind-exposed Arlebury Park; conditions that favoured long ball over-controlled build-up.

Bashley, without leading scorer Harry McGrath, were first into their stride forcing two early corners and could have opened the scoring when a shot from Harry Bunce, following a determined solo run from midfield, was blocked in the box.

Alresford responded immediately and an Ollie Dennett free-kick from the edge of the area, the result of a Lewis Ross sliding tackle that took man as well as ball, found keeper Dan Kempson on top form.

Moments later, both were in action again when Kempson was out quickly to thwart Dennett’s attempted strike at goal.

Bash pressed hard before halftime and should have taken the lead when Conor Whiteley and Bunce, after collaborating on poor Magpie clearance, ran unchallenged in parallel formation toward the unguarded goal; Bunce instead of shooting, passed with polite consideration to Whiteley, who by now unbalanced, scuffed wide from three yards.

Bashley opened the second half with Bunce and Whiteley once more in the thick of it, but despite goal-area action Magpie keeper, Matt Fredericks remained untroubled. Alresford responded quickly with Dennett once more in on the action: taking advantage of a poor goal clearance his strike at goal was nullified in ‘half kick’ thanks to a last-minute tackle by the flying Dan Thompson.

Not a man to give up, Dennett later made ground down the left and pulled back the ball to Craig McAllister who, lurking unmarked in front of goal, eagerly accepted this gift to open the scoring after 56 minutes.

Seven minutes later and the home team scored a second. It was a goal the unfortunate Kempson will want to forget. A shot from the right by Duarte Martins, destined to miss the near post, was collected by the diving Kempson who on hitting the floor somehow managed to knock the ball back into the goalmouth leaving the ever-present Dennett to tap in.

Bashley fought back and were rewarded when young Taylor Edwards, hot off the bench, broke down the right and after some interplay the ball ran loose in the area and was hooked with some venom into the far corner by Whiteley.

Not to be outdone, his fellow tormentor Bunce then scored when meeting a high cross from the right. Unfortunately for Bashley he met the ball with his raised hand instead of his head and not being a Maradona added a yellow card and not a goal to his match CV.

The game ended in controversy when a goal-bound shot was handled on the Alresford goal line. After consulting the linesman, the referee, much to the displeasure of Bashley and their dedicated following, decided it was accidental.

Bashley: Kempson, Smith, Thompson, Strickland, Webber, Morris, Ross, Morgan, Aimson, Bunce, Whiteley
Used Sub: Taylor
Att: 76

Photo: Bash Scorer Conor Whiteley

League Leaders fall to a Rampant Bashley

AFC Stoneham 0 Bashley 2
Wessex Premier

League Leaders AFC Stoneham playing only their second game in their brand-new FA Complex Stadium attracted a large crowd, including Tony Incenzo from Talk Sport and officials from the Wessex League. They left with only one name on their lips: Bashley.

Bashley, without suspended goal-maker Harry Bunce, filled his creative space by pushing nippy full back Jack Smith into a forward roll and included on the bench new signing Taylor Edwards a sixteen-year old defender from Eastleigh’s Football Academy.

Conditions were far from ideal but despite the driving rain the 3G pitch suited the play of both teams who gave a demonstration of footballing skills without the finishing touch. Bashley were the more threatening with a Harry Morgan attempt from outside the box just off target whilst at the other end Stoneham’s Edu Jimenez wasted a golden chance by slicing wide.

The impasse was broken two minutes into the second half when a cross-ball from Jack Smith was received by Lewis Ross who brought leading scorer Harry McGrath into play and his finely judged shot from twenty yards found the corner of the net. Play was now intensified, with fast flowing football from both sides with the Bashley looking the more dangerous. Conor Whiteley had a chance to increase the lead when put through on goal but was thwarted by the blocking body of keeper Tom-Parker Trott.

The conditions took their first casualty as Lewis Aimson came off with thirty minutes still to go to be replaced By Taylor Edwards for his first taste of senior football and to the delight of the Bashley fans present settled, like an old-hand, into a high-line defensive position.

With nine minutes left to play, Bashley made sure of victory when Harry Morgan’s shot from long range was helped on its way by a diversion that left Parker-Trot helpless. A last minute save from Dan Kempson kept the Bashley sheet clean.

Bashley travel to second placed Alresford on Saturday.

Bashley: Kempson, Webber, Thompson, Strickland, Aimson, Morris, Ross, Morgan, Whiteley, McGrath, Smith
Used Sub: Edwards
Att: 175

Brilliant Bashley in Cup Upset

Sholing 1 Bashley 2
Southampton Senior Cup

Bashley reached the semi-finals of the Southampton Senior Cup with an outstanding all-round performance that earned praise from their Southern League opponents to the extent that Bashley whiz-kid Harry Bunce was named their man of the match.

Bashley went into to overdrive from the whistle with fast attacking football that made a mockery of Saturday’s inept display at Tadley. It was all Bashley and a shot from Sholing’s Lee Wort that hit the bar was a rare occurrence.

An early twin-pronged attack from Harrys, Bunce and McGrath, saw the latter’s shot smothered but the man on fire was frontman Conor Whiteley whose link-up play caused mayhem in the home defence.

After twenty minutes of near dominance, Bashley took the lead in bizarre circumstances. A probing attack by Bashley was halted in midfield and as they fought to gain control Sholing sought to clear; an attempted back-pass was pin-ball-diverted by an arm and then diverted again by another body. Play now virtually stopped as a handball offence was anticipated but the ball thought differently and rolled slowly towards the goal, Ryan Gosney, the Sholing keeper, realised too late and missed with his attempted clearance before the ball found refuge in the net.

A stroke of fortune maybe but there was nothing fortunate about the second goal which was a classic. Moving forward like a well-oiled machine the Bash midfield set up Whiteley who dummied one way and side flicked the ball the other way to Harry Morgan who produced his own magic and his pass back to Whiteley was perfect, as was Whiteley’s fine run and finish.

The Bashley threat continued into the second half with Bunce causing problems amongst the tall Boatman defenders and more was seen of Sholing as they could see the game slipping away but the Bash defence and Keeper Harry Gravett stood firm.

At the other end, a long-range bullet shot from Whiteley found the keeper well positioned. Gravett excelled in keeping out a free-kick dipping towards the top corner. The final ten minutes was extended to fifteen by a series of stoppages and unfortunate decisions.

First Jack Smith was taken out and needed treatment than Bunce appeared to be kicked after being grounded and to the surprise of all, he was given a yellow card. A few minutes later, after having been the victim of a series of niggling fouls, he raised his shirt in a gesture that said: ‘Is this what you are after’! Although he hadn’t taken his shirt off, he was carded for his action and hence a red as it was his second. He left the pitch as his Man of the Match award was being announced!

As the time reached 90 +4 Sholing netted following a goalmouth scramble but too little too late.

Bashley: Gravett, Webber, Smith, Thompson, Strickland, Morris, Ross, Morgan, Whiteley, McGrath, Bunce
Used Subs: Betts, Cooper
Att: 108

Photo: Scorer Conor Whiteley

Bashley fail to Deliver

Tadley Calleva 3 Bashley 0
Wessex Premier

Bashley, arriving fresh from a winning streak of four league games, surprised themselves and their spectators with a display that, considering their present form, was best described as disappointing. A strong Tadley Calleva attacked from the start and it took a brave save from Dan Kempson to stop them from taking an early lead.

The pitch, that on first sight appeared green and flat, hid the wear from earlier game and Bashley’s passing game was an early casualty. The Tadders, more aware of the conditions played a long ball game and took control.

Frustrated and niggled by slightly fussy refereeing Bashley’s contribution to the first half was one Sin Bin and two Yellow Cards. To add to their woes a long goal kick on the cusp of halftime reached the forward run of George Farrelly who swept Tadley into a deserved first half lead.

Little changed at the restart with the home side still in charge of proceedings and it was no surprise when ex-Bash favourite Clive Makoni revived memories of the past with a goal of some class.

Lewis Aimson came on for Tom Betts and after sixty minutes of play Bashley recorded their first shot in the direction of goal. Bashley added two more yellow cards to their collection whilst a confident Tadley enjoyed a game of head-tennis before Callum Sweeney nodded in their third goal.

Bashley emptied the bench but little changed until the 90th minute when Jack Martin the home goalkeeper made his first save of the game!

Not a match to remember and all praise to Tadley Calleva.

Bashley: Kempson, Betts, Smith, Thompson, Strickland, Morris, Ross, Bunce, Whiteley, Morgan, McGrath
Used Subs: Aimson, Webber, Cooper
Att: 58

Photo: Bashley’s busiest player, goalkeeper Dan Kempson

Encore the Three Harrys as Bashley win away at Bashley

Bournemouth FC 1 Bashley 4 (Played at Bashley)
Wessex League Premier

This away fixture was played at Bashley Road due to floodlight problems at Victoria Park, a move of little consequence considering Bashley’s current form, today’s win being their fifth consecutive league victory.

There had been some doubt earlier regarding the pitch but neither side seem concerned by the heavy conditions and football was fast and flowing. Bashley, and especially Harry Bunce, underlined black and gold dominance by attacking from the start and after twelve minutes he added to his recent series of remarkable goals by turning a Brad Morris long pass into a state of art goal that found the far high corner of the net from sixteen swerving yards.

From the restart he scored again but his effort was judged harshly as off-side. Six minutes later and Bash were two-up: a sparkling right-flank interchange between Tom Betts and Bunce was finished by the later whose tempting assist across the face of goal was met and buried by the charging Harry Morgan.

The onslaught continued into the second half with Conor Whiteley excelling in his holding centre forward position. The third goal was another eye-popper as non-Harry, Lewis Ross, crashed down the right and his radar-directed shot flew in off the far post.

The Poppies had by now found their feet and their response paid off when an opportunist high lob from Harvey Lewis glanced the bar and went in behind the back of keeper Dan Kempson.

Harry McGrath killed any thoughts of a Poppy revival when taking full advantage of the craft of Whiteley and Ross to finish with a trademark net-breaking power drive.

With 20 minutes to go Bournemouth applied pressure whilst Bashley held firm and gave their frozen bench a deserved outing.

Bashley: Kempson, Betts, Smith, Thompson, Strickland, Ross, Morris, Bunce, Whiteley, Morgan, McGrath
Used Subs: Beard, Cooper, Webber
Att: 102

Photo: Two of the scorers, Harry Bunce and Harry Morgan

Bunce Sprints Bashley to Victory

Bashley 2 Hamble Club 0
Sydenham Wessex Premier

Bashley’s fourth game in seven days was a severe test of strength and stamina against a powerful Hamble Club eleven. Both sides made cautious starts and action was limited as Bashley’s passing game, set against the long-ball play of Hamble, produced more on-field stoppages than goalmouth thrills. A sixth minute goal-saving, body-block by Bash keeper Dan Kempson and a fierce long shot from Brad Morris being the only first half incidents of note.

Bash found themselves on the back foot straight from the re-start but, despite the height and strength advantage of the Hamble forwards, it was keeper Kempson who bossed the box. The Monk’s right full back, Barry Mason, also made an impression by entering for the worst shot of the year award. Bashley gradually came more into the game but their quick attacking inter-play was put on hold for ten minutes whilst influential captain Morris spent ten minutes enforced penance on the bench.

Like putting a shilling in the slot, the return of Morris ignited the black and gold boiler and fired the engine of wing-wizard Harry Bunce. Skating the length of the right touchline like a greyhound on speed, the sure-footed Bunce cut inside and slipped a short pass to Conor Whiteley who, quickly and cleverly, returned the ball to the young winger who made space before sending a swinging shot high into the far corner of the net.

Bash were now fully charged and minutes later Harry McGrath, following a Whiteley assist, was foiled by a fine save from Hamble Keeper Luke Deacon. Then like an Olympic athlete going for a double gold, Bunce took off from the centre spot and sped arrow-straight toward goal with the opposition a cloud of trailing dust. Deacon standing tall was no more than a finishing tape as the lone runner claimed his double with a cracking finish. Truly remarkable.

The final ten minutes were spent mostly in the Bash half as they defended their two-goal lead whilst the in-form Kempson was equally determined to retain his clean sheet. The final say was however Bashley’s, when Whiteley almost scored in the final second.

Bashley: Kempson, Betts, Smith, Thompson, Strickland, Morris, Ross, Bunce, Morgan, Whiteley, McGrath
Used Sub: Webber
Att: 131

Bashley end the hopes of gallant Queens Keep

Bashley 3 QK Southampton 2
Southampton Senior Cup Round 3

Pitch weary Bashley, playing their third match in five days in heavy conditions, were not given an easy time by their Hampshire Premier League opponents.

All appeared straight forward when Bashley took the lead after only five minutes. A defence splitting pass from Lewis Ross sent Harry McGrath pounding down the middle and after dancing around exposed keeper Brad Dolton netted with aplomb.

The door appeared open for a goal blitz, but the battling Queen Keepers had other ideas and their defence stood firm despite continuous Bash pressure. It took until the cusp of halftime before Bash again penetrated the keep. Following excellent approach play, a hard pass-come-shot across the face of goal from Conor Whiteley was returned into the crowded goalmouth by Harry Bunce where Harry Morgan made big presence to net from close range.

Brogen Sims replaced Morgan for the second half but the dynamics had changed as QK upped their game. Their momentum was fired by the generosity of the home defence when a misdirected back-pass left Tom Whitemore free to pull a goal back.

Five minutes later Bashley scored their third when, after a frantic hustle-bustle in the crowded area, the ball introduced itself to McGrath who quickly found the netting.

This should have been the final nail, but the Bash defence had other ideas and gave QK captain, Tom Whitemore, the honour of another gifted goal.

There was still 25 minutes on the clock and despite an exciting display of cup-tie football, near misses and multiple stops for cramp, there was no further score. A great game to watch.

Bashley: Bull, Betts, Strickland, Morris, Webber, Ross, Cooper, Morgan, Bunce Whiteley, McGrath
Used Sub: Sims
Att: 68

Bashley shine in Cup Defeat

Bashley 1 Eastleigh 3
Hants Senior Cup Quarter-Final

This was a tightly fought encounter by two teams determined to beat the conditions and each other. National League Eastleigh, fielding a team that include many well known first teamers, swept into an early lead when after a goalmouth scramble Jack McKnight bundled the ball home.

Bashley, shocked into retaliation, then took over the proceedings and outplayed their illustrious rivals with twenty minutes of power play that had their fans drooling.

The three Harrys: McGrath, Morgan and Bunce had goal attempts whilst the overlap runs of Tom Betts and the persistence of Conor Whiteley created chance after chance.

Spitfire keeper, Ross Flitney, was outstanding and it took a Whiteley penalty, awarded after a determined cross goal run by Bunce was rudely interrupted, to bring Bash level.

Eastleigh came back hard after halftime, but it took a penalty for them to take the lead. McKnight scoring from the spot to double his tally.

Jack Smith went off injured to be replaced by Jamie Webber and play became less frantic with tired legs beginning to show.

In the final minutes Tom Bearwish found space for a late goal to the disappointment of battling Bashley who had done the Wessex League proud.

Bashley: Kempson, Betts, Smith, Strickland, Aimson, Morris, Ross, Bunce, Morgan, Whiteley, McGrath
Used Subs: Webber, Cooper
Att: 171

Mud Larks for Bash as Ross scores a double

Bashley 4 Portland Utd 1
Wessex Premier

Both sides made a tentative start on a pitch still recovering from recent storms and the first ten minutes were spent coming to terms with the surface. High pressing Bashley were first to acclimatise to the conditions, a position that never surrendered and their sure-footedness became a major asset to the outcome.

Harry Bunce was first to threaten but his shot, following good approach play, went wide. Making light of the shifting surface, Bash now went on the rampage. Conor Whiteley fed the energetic Harry McGrath who teased his way into the goalmouth before pulling back an assist into the path of fast approaching Lewis Ross whose shot, from fourteen yards, flew hard and true into the top corner of the net.

There followed a series of attacks down both flanks with defender Tom Betts prominent on the right and several dead-ball chances from outside the box that flattered to deceive before the trio of Whiteley, McGrath and Ross re-played their last goal.

Whiteley worried the ball from keeper Steve Boore before reactivating McGrath to another cross-box teasing run that invited Ross to oblige from virtually the same spot with the same result. Less than a minute later and Bashley are three up. A well-directed pass from Billy Cooper found McGrath unmarked on the left touchline; turning goalward he launched a long lob that left Boore stranded and the net bulging.

As to be expected, Portland started the second half with red-ear induced energy and ten minutes in, pulled one back when after a breakaway, Sol Roche was left alone in front of goal and scored with ease.

Encouraged by this, the Blues went on the attack and nearly scored again but Jamie Symes missed his chance.

At the other end, Whiteley shot wide after being put through but minutes later it was, he who put the result beyond doubt. Ross rising to meet a corner was taken out by the keeper who had mistimed his punch clearance. A penalty was given. Ross, treated on the pitch for a head injury, made his protestations at having to temporarily leave the field of play and so miss the chance of a hattrick. Whiteley then addressed the spot with a goal that his energic display had earned.

In the final minutes, Bash brought on Jamie Webber followed by Brogan Sims for his first touch of grass after a long injury. Whilst Lewis Aimson, playing his first game this season after a career-threatening injury completed the full ninety, to the delight of all.

Bashley: Kempson, Betts, Smith, Thompson, Aimson, Ross, Bunce, Morris, Whiteley, Cooper, McGrath
Used Subs: Webber, Sims
Att: 162

Photo: Double goal scorer Lewis Ross

The Magnificent Seven

Bashley 7 Shaftesbury 2
Wessex Premier

Memories of last Saturday’s home defeat were quickly erased with hattricks from twin strikers Harry McGrath and Cameron Beard supported by the determined mood of a rampant Bashley out to make amends.

In a frantic start, Bashley making light of the heavy conditions were two up in five minutes. Following fast, accurate approach play a Harry Morgan shot on the turn from just inside the box was only partly saved leaving the lurking Cameron Beard to net the return from close range.

Shaftesbury’s keeper Harrison Bruton was given no respite, as straight from the re-start he succumbed to a Harry McGrath ground-hugging drive that zipped across the greasy turf and evaded his grasping hands.

Bashley continued to dominate with a Beard goal-bound effort well saved so it came as a surprise when the visitor’s alert Jack Mitchell poached the ball from the home defence and was left free to score.

The Rockies’ resurgence was to last just three minutes. A cross-field ball from Billy Cooper started a break that ended with McGrath creating space before rocketing the net from 14 yards.

Three minutes later, after being put in by a Beard-assist, McGrath repeated the process to claim a twenty-five-minute hattrick.

With eight minutes to go until halftime, playmaker Harry Morgan scored Bashley’s fifth goal with an unstoppable drive from another Beard assist.

Five minutes after the re-start, a chastised Shaftesbury pulled one back through a Matt Hindle breakaway and for the next five minutes Bash keeper Dan Kempson was kept busy and the home fans nervous.

Then the game’s rudder was retaken by Beard who busts through a high defensive line to slide, slip and muscle his way down half the pitch before willing his half-hit-shot home via the post.

With twenty minutes remaining the final nail was delivered when Morgan, set-up by Harry Bunce’s trickery, was brought down in the area. Beard, not one to miss an opportunity, immediately took ownership of the ball and re-shaped the back of the net to claim his hattrick and record a welcome return to form.

Bashley, now 7-2 in the lead, brought on three subs and saw out the rest of the game comfortably.

Bashley: Kempson, Betts, Smith, Thompson, Strickland, Morris, Cooper, Bunce, Morgan, Beard, McGrath
Used Subs: Whiteley, Webber, Croucher
Att: 125

Photo: The hattrick boys (Harry McGrath and Cameron Beard – in shorts) being congratulated by Mike Cranidge (President) – the dwarf in the middle