Bashley 4 Portland Utd 1
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
Photo: Double goal scorer Lewis Ross