Solent University 3 Bashley 3
This was typical hard-fought game fought in untypical times with the recent weather causing the game to be reversed to Bashley Road and with a virus precautionary introduction that left players and officials in confusion of how to greet with hand shaking banned.
Bashley the best of possible starts with a goal timed at 45 seconds; Conor Whiteley reacted first to a ball played hopefully forward to run through a still settling defence and introduce the ball to the net passed a surprised Scholar keeper.
It soon became obvious that despite the early goal this was to be no easy jaunt for Bashley with attractive football being nullified by close marking and erratic refereeing.
After 10 minutes of hard play, the University netted only to be judged offside and then awarded a free kick instead nearer the halfway line. A decision that was hard for players and spectators to understand. The Scholars were proving a handful and a late period of sustained attacking found Harry Gravett, standing in for the absent Dan Kempson, in excellent form.
The half ended with Whitely being sin-binned but nobody was sure why. Solent University took full advantage of Whiteley’s ten-minute rest by equalising within two minutes of the restart thanks to the quick reaction of their captain. Luke Mitchell.
Bashley responded almost immediately when Lewis Ross was unlucky to see his shot of great power and beauty cannoned off the crossbar. Two minutes later he had his reward when striking home from the spot after Billy Cooper had been brought down in the area.
Play was now even and fiercely competitive and, after some more on-field confusion that saw Jack Smith carded for being fouled, Solent drew level when Colin Beasley fired in from close range.
With ten minutes remaining Bash took the lead when Harry Bunce wormed his way through a packed defence to find Whiteley who swivelled and netted in classic style. Bashley’s lead lasted just two minutes when more confusion led to another sinbin and John Wallace took advantage of the perplexed Bash defenders to level the scores.
Bashley pressed hard as time ran-out with a Whiteley shot from a Ross assist being tipped over the bar and a Smith drive from distance being just heart-stopping wide. An exciting if confusing game and a fair result.
Bashley: Gravett, Webber, Thompson, Strickland, Smith, Morris, Cooper, Ross, Bunce, Whiteley, McGrath
Used Sub: Edwards
Photo: Two goal Conor Whiteley