Bashley 3 Brockenhurst 1
Played in front of a league-record 339 spectators, this local derby was everything expected and, for ninety minutes, fears of Covid-19 were left at the turnstile.
Brockenhurst made sure of that by scoring in the opening minute when Freddie Bullard was bestowed free passage to goal before most of the onlookers, including the Bashley defence, had settled.
An embarrassed Bashley sought immediate retribution and both Harry McGrath and Harry Bunce went close with early runs at goal before Conor Whiteley equalised from the spot after Lewis Aimson was brought down following a Bunce corner.
Just six minutes played, and the colours had been struck. Bash, with sun-tanned Harry Morgan, returned virus free from a cruise, was the powerhouse behind the attacking trio of Whiteley, Bunce and McGrath but despite all their front of goal dominance they found the Badger backline, marshalled by the experienced Pat Wilson, well dug in; whilst a steady supply of crosses from the flanks went unrewarded due to poor aerial interception.
It was not all Bash and the visitors were dangerous on the break and had a good goal chance stopped only by a Jack Smith yellow card tackle. Before the break, Whiteley hobbled off to be replaced by Jamie Webber.
With the game still in the balance, both teams exchanged early forays, with Webber joining the mercurial Bunce in tormenting the back-peddling Brockenhurst defence, while at the other end ex-Bash favourite, Mitch Speechley-Price, hit the post and later headed wide when gifted an open goal.
It was Bashley in the end, and especially Morgan who broke the impasse. His blistering run on goal, following a bout of mouth-watering interplay, was blocked at the vital moment by a Wilson tackle; then, after latching onto a precision pass from Brad Morris another muscular run followed, but this time there was no one to stop his rapier, net-bound, shot.
Webber working the left flank in partnership with Aimson was calling the shots and he was part of a build-up that included Morgan and McGrath that ended with a pass to the edge of the area into the flight-path of the advancing Lewis Ross whose twenty-yard cracker across the face of the goal found the net and nailed the match for rampant Bash.
The final 20 minutes saw bench changes and was dominated by an urgent McGrath desperate but unable to add to his goal tally.
Bashley: Gravett, Smith, Thompson, Strickland, Aimson, Bunce, Morris, Ross, Morgan, Whiteley, McGrath
Used Subs: Webber, Cooper, Betts