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

Bashley though to Semi-Final

Downton 3 Bashley 4
Bournemouth Senior Cup

Bashley, still smarting from Saturday’s three goal defeat to Amesbury Town, were cruising to victory in this replayed quarterfinal being three up in thirty minutes thanks to a hattrick from Harry McGrath followed by a fourth from Dan Thompson early in the second half. No one present would have thought that by the end of ninety minutes the visitors would be hanging on for the final whistle.

Bashley attacked from the start and opened their account after four minutes when McGrath was on hand to score from close range following a free kick; eighteen minutes later he added a second: driving hard into the net from the edge of the box thanks to a neat pull back from Harry Bunce. The supercharged McGrath then completed his hattrick thanks again to Bunce whose low pass across the face of goal was bundled in at the far post by the jubilant striker.

The onslaught continued from the restart with Bunce wasting an open goal chance and McGrath hitting the post from 30 yards. Then ten minutes-in and Downton’s woes continued when Dan Thompson stormed from the back of the box to meet a corner and place a perfectly time header high into the net.

Four nil and the game was over – Or was it! Two penalties, unnecessarily conceded, and a fine breakaway goal from Marcus Rendall ended with Bashley hanging on by their braces. The first penalty lit Downton’s fuse and they grew in confidence as Bashley lost their, the second penalty came on ninety minutes leading to a time added-on bombardment that kept Bash keeper Dan Kempson and Bashley fans very much on edge. An incident that led to both teams having a player red carded added to the mix which to the neutral was great entertainment.

Bashley: Kempson, Betts, Smith, Thompson, Strickland, Morris, Cooper, Bunce, Morgan, Beard, McGrath
Used Subs: Crowe, Whiteley

Photo: Hattrick man Harry McGrath

No Cheer for Hungover Bashley

Bashley 0 Amesbury Town 3
Wessex Premier

Bashley surprised themselves as well as their supporters with a sluggish display against a revitalised Amesbury Town who have spent the first half of the season sitting firmly at the bottom of the league.

Amesbury, buoyant from the start, could have taken the lead immediately had they made better use of a free kick from the edge of the box. Bashley came back quickly and Harry McGrath appeared to have netted when breaking in from the left, but his effort had hit the side netting and was also deemed offside.

The visitors made light of the heavy conditions and squeezed Bashley at both ends of the pitch. Any inroads from Bashley were curtailed by sound defending and the home side’s lack of penetration. Ten minutes to halftime, Amesbury took a deserved lead when a slightly weak freekick taken by Bradley Doyle drifted over the defensive wall and ended up in the far corner of the net.

Any thoughts of a Bash revival ended 10 minutes after the restart when experienced defender Zak Pickett headed home from poorly defended corner. Stung into action, Bashley threw themselves forward, a Brad Strickland effort went wide, a Cameron Beard header hit the bar and a Harry Morgan chance went straight into to arms of Jordan Tewkesbury, the Blue’s underworked keeper.

Harry Bunce, still suffering from his recent bout of flu, was replaced by Billy Cooper and the pressure continued without ever seriously threatening the visitor’s goal. A breakaway in the final minute left Jack Francis free to score and complete Bashley’s new year misery.

Bashley: Kempson, Browning, Smith, Thompson, Strickland, Morris, Ross, Bunce, Morgan, Beard, McGrath
Used Sub: Cooper
Att: 165

Now you See Us, now you Don’t

AFC Stoneham 0 Bashley 1 (Match abandoned after 45 minutes)
Wessex Premier

To go out on a high note is everyone’s wish but on Saturday, fate had other plans. This was expected to be a celebration: the last game played at AFC Stoneham’s aging HP Arena before encampment to their £9 million Stoneham Lane Football Complex facility a mile down the road.

The overcast weather did little to raise expectation neither did the encroachment of new development which gave the entrance, via a muddy lane and high wire fencing, an apocalyptic touch, not helped by the ground layout with the pitch and facilities being a sodden walk apart. A lack of brightness in the dressing room and tearoom before the start was not thought a problem and a flicker from a one floodlight being the only clue of what was to come.

The pitch was heavy and in poor condition which wasn’t surprising in the circumstances, but this was of little concern to Bashley who appeared at home right from the start. They took commanding control and it was only the regimentation of the Stoneham back four that kept the floodgates locked. Brad Morris dominated midfield and, like Santa, spread his largess by force-feeding his front line as they battered the home defence.

It took twenty-five minutes before Bash keeper Dan Kempson saw action with a courageous block to nullify a rare Stoneham attempt. The breakthrough came minutes later when a defence clearing high ball from Morgan Browning set Cameron Beard free and, by managing to keep his footing in the heavy ground, his half-scuffed a shot was enough to beat the advancing keeper and find the net.

Bash continued to dominate, and it was only as the half ended that a sense of foreboding permeated the players and Bashley fans with the realisation that the lights were not coming on and the game was over. The fault was in the electricity supply leaving the whole ground victim to the fast falling darkness.

The challenge of exiting from the sensual confusion of pitch-dark dressing rooms and the mud-traps of a darkened car park may well be seen in hindsight as an adventure: but having a potential victory die with the light, was a sad way to end an afternoon that had started as a celebration.

Bashley: Kempson, Browning, Smith, Thompson, Strickland, Ross, Beard, Morris, Whiteley, Morgan, McGrath.

Bashley Heard but not Seen

Downton 0 Bashley 0 (abandoned after 15 minutes)
Bournemouth Senior Cup Quarter Final

The omens weren’t good. It was not until 4pm that that the pitch was declared fit for play. Hearts were lifted as the trip there was made in the dry, but the River Avon had other ideas as few miles short of Downton the river mist deepened into fog.

That said, there was optimism in both camps, and this was encouraged by the match officials who after an inspection decided to give it a go.

Bashley kicked off down the slope and immediately Harry McGrath was prominent down the left wing and after five minutes had a shot that was just off target; Jack Smith was seen to make a couple of early tackles in support of the runs of McGrath.

Elsewhere on the pitch the sounds indicated that nothing of note was happening as we waited for more action in our small area of visibility. Suddenly it went quiet and a slow procession of dark forlorn figures appeared out of the fog like a defeated army retreating from a smoke-field battlefield. The game had been called off.

All praise to the officials to give the game a chance and not to accept their full payment, all praise to Downton who rushed through the post-match grub which gave the disappointing end party atmosphere finish and all praise to the Bashley fans who made the trip and departed in good grace.

McGrath hits the Goal Trail

Bashley 3 Cowes Sports 0
Wessex Premier

Both teams made light of a heavy pitch that had caused some concern earlier in the today. Thanks to sun, and a drying wind, football superseded condition. Bashley, without key midfield defenders Brad Morris and Lewis Ross and with Billy Cooper having his second First Team start, went straight into overdrive and it was all one-way traffic.

The breakthrough came after fifteen minutes when Harry McGrath, the recipient of a fine cross-field ball, cut in from the left and hammered home from the edge of the box in what is becoming a classic McGrath move. Ten minutes later, a thrust toward goal by the bustling Cameron Beard was curtailed abruptly in the box; in the absence of penalty taker Ross, Conor Whiteley gave a masterclass of dead ball placement and Bashley were two up.

It was not all one-way, and home keeper Dan Kempson demonstrated his experience in ending a concerted Yaughtsmen attack. The home side continued to press, and the half ended with chances falling to McGrath and Beard whilst a Harry Morgan attempt hit the post.

Bashley continued the second half in similar vein only to find Cowes’s keeper Fraser Law in the in the form of his life and, their captain Aiden Bryan, a defensive block. As the siege continued McGrath had an attempt saved and Beard netted but was found offside. After a rare counterattack was nullified by the underused Kempson, the Islander’s defence cracked.

McGrath, forsaking his pièce de résistance, swapped flank for centre. Bursting through the middle he gave the brave Law little chance with a low, hard shot, that hit the net with the keeper still running out to intercept.

Bashley confidently saw out the remaining minutes, the young hard-working duo of Billy Cooper and Harry Bunce were rested with George Croucher and Matt Crowe taking up forward and defensive roles respectively. As the game ran out, McGrath made a concerted attempt to compete his hattrick, but accuracy was overtaken by frustration as his final attempt went wide.

Bashley: Kempson, Betts, Thompson, Strickland, Smith, Morgan, Cooper, Whiteley, Bunce, Beard, McGrath
Used Subs: Croucher, Crowe
Att: 143

After the Lord Mayor’s Show

Hamble 1 Bashley 0
Wessex Premier

Bashley fell to earth with jolt following their pulsating win at Hartley Wintley on Tuesday. The absence, through suspension and injury of the two Harry’s Bunce and Morgan so influential on Tuesday, deprived Bashley’s frontmen of oxygen as did the close marking and tackling of a robust Hamble side looking well worth their high league position.

The home side attacked from the start and Dan Kempson in the Bash goal was quickly the centre of attention with a series of smart saves and good high cross judgement. A Bashley attack was curtailed when ex-Bash warhorse Pete Castle took out Conor Whiteley on the edge of the box. Free-kick specialist Whiteley, still groggy from the tackle, unwisely took the free kick himself which he launched into space.

The game was now even with little quarter being given, Cameron Beard the recipient of a quick clearance from Kempson, completed his wing-side run by cutting inside only to see his cross-the-keeper-shot brush the far post. Minutes later he was free down the centre but was caught and robbed in the goal area before he could shoot. An effort from Morgan Browning skimmed the post; whilst frequent raids down the flanks from the speedy Monks’ wingers kept Kempson fully employed.

The second half mirrored the first with Bashley’s close passing game being severely interrupted by the speed and positioning of the Hamble midfield whilst their own attacking play lacked a necessary edge. With twenty minutes to go, an unsuccessful attack following a Bashley forward push left their defence exposed to a breakaway; a chance accepted by the speedy Jordan Rogguette who left all in his wake before crossing into a, by now crowded goalmouth, where his fellow wing forward Ryan Turner, scored from close range.

Bash pushed hard for an equaliser, with Conor Whiteley dropping into a supply role and Billy Cooper joining Harry McGrath and Beard up front but keeper Luke Deacon’s clean sheet was never seriously in doubt.

Bashley: Kempson, Browning, Smith, Morris, Thompson, Strickland, Cameron, Ross, Whiteley, Cooper, McGrath
Att: 63

Photo: Bash Goalkeeper Dan Kempson