Portland Utd 2 Bashley 1
A welcome return of the sun but a depleted Bashley were not quite good enough on the day. Suspensions and injuries did little to hinder Bashley’s thrust and endeavour, but the balance shown in previous games was lacking with key personnel missing.
Portland dominated from the off and their strength and speed was an immediate problem. Bashley’s first attack was instigated by the diminutive Harry Bunce, whose terrier-like tactics caused problems for the hosts throughout the match; his forward pass to Ollie Smith was a defence breaker but the finish was not there.
Bash Keeper Harry Gravett saved the visitors’ blushes minutes later when diving bravely to claim the ball off the feet of the on-rushing Portland frontman. Another surge from will-of-the-wisp Bunce found Harry McGrath in a similar position and this time it was Blue’s keeper Steve Boore who returned the compliment.
Bunce’s eagerness to win the game at all costs was vocal as well as physical and his impetuosity earned a 10-minute cool off in the Sinbin followed closely by a yellow card.
Ollie Smith, who had been labouring with a foot injury for some time, was replaced at halftime by George Croucher. An inch perfect Lewis Ross cross found Billy Cooper alone in the box, but his spin and shot was sliced wide.
Bashley were now taking the game to their hosts and Croucher just failed to make contact to a Bunce assist whilst a Jamie Webber cross shot to the near corner was smothered by the diving Boore.
Portland during this early period had one attempt but failed to capitalise when Jamie Symes headed wide in front of an empty net. This changed however in the seventieth minute when a midfield error let in United’s no. 12 Jamie Beasley who was causing mayhem after coming off the bench. The resulting corner into the packed area was forced home to break the stalemate.
As happens often when the dam is cracked, Portland scored a second almost immediately with a 35-yard fizzer from the foot of Ben Morris.
Bashley, to their credit, drove forward and pulled one back when a cross-shot from an acute angle by McGrath spun over the keeper. Bash battled to the end, a thirty-yard effort from Dan Thompson whistled past the post and a McGrath shot was well saved.
Bashley: Gravett, Crowe, Webber, Morgan, Thompson, Morris, Smith, Ross, McGrath, Cooper, Bunce
Used Subs: Croucher, Betts