Sydenhams Premier: Christchurch FC 2-1 Bashley
CHRISTCHURCH FC kept pace with league leaders Alresford Town after beating Bashley 2-1 at Hurn Bridge.
Goals from Max Wilcock and Brad Cherrett sealed the victory for the hosts, but the game was marred in the final minutes by two red cards. Cameron Beard scored in the second half on his comeback game for Bashley.
After a minute silence before kick-off, Bashley, who had not played in three weeks, immediately went on the attack and an early strike from Harry Morgan was just wide.
This dominance was short-lived and Christchurch, with height advantage at both ends, countered with speed and anticipation that handcuffed Bash’s passing game.
However, it was the visitors that almost opened the scoring when an outswinging corner from Morgan was anticipated by the advancing Dan Thompson who fired over the bar with a powerful header.
The home side continued to press until Bashley hit form in the final five minutes of the half. A flowing training move ended with Morgan shooting just over followed by a long-range strike from Thompson that hit the post and then keeper Lewis Gunstone-Grey as it sped across the open goalmouth.
Then, with the post stopped still shaking, a throw-in from specialist Ron Frost caught Bash napping, leaving Max Wilcock free to open the scoring from close range at the end of the first half.
It took just three minutes for a rejuvenated Bashley to get back into the game. Smart work by the ever-active Harry Bunce found Beard in space 10 metres outside of the box, and his penetrating drive hit the back of the net.
Minutes later, another Bunce assist sent Beard goal-bound only to be fouled in the penalty area. Midfielder Lewis Ross took the spot-kick, and his hard, low shot was superbly stopped by the diving Gunstone-Grey.
Unperturbed by the penalty miss, Bashley continued to apply pressure with the best chance falling to Bunce who shot wide.
With 24 minutes left to play, Bashley’s wall of confidence cracked when a lofted free-kick was headed home from above the stretched hands of keeper Dan Kempson by Brad Cherrett and, despite protests of impediment, the goal stood.
Bashley almost equalised shortly after when Harry McGrath netted after an explosive run by Thompson, but he was deemed offside.
In the closing stages, the game took a turn for the worse as Beard was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Ben Satterley. It was quickly followed by another red card for Christchurch’s Frost for kicking out.
Christchurch: Gunstone-Grey, Cherrett, Ohameje, Frost, Wright, Blake, Satterley, Swann, Stone, Wilcock, Graham. Subs: Neale, Kirkham, Cormack, Haynes, Frampton.
Bashley: Kempson, Webber, J. Smith, Morris, Thompson, Strickland, Bunce, Ross, Beard, Morgan, McGrath. Subs: Browning, Gravett, Croucher, Cooper, O. Smith.