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Southern League Division One South: Bashley FC draw against Bishops Cleeve FC

Southern League Division One South

Bishops Cleeve FC 1

Bashley FC 1

BASHLEY dominated long spells of the game against Bishops Cleeve but had to settle for one point rather than the three they deserved.

Ollie Cherrett’s side were disappointed to have four penalty appeals turned down, two of which looked nailed-on certainties – and the frustration grew in the last minute of added time when Bishop’s Cleeve cleared one off their goal-line.

It’s been a frustrating time for Cherrett and his coaching team, who have rebuilt the side but have not had much chance to put together a run of games to build consistency – they had gone three weeks before this without completing a match.

Bashley's Harry McGrath was influential on his return from injury (Photo: Les Chase)
Bashley's Harry McGrath was influential on his return from injury (Photo: Les Chase)

Despite the lack of match practice, Bashley were the early pacemakers. Max Wilcock was soon in behind the defence on the right, but the alert defending of Josh Nelmesh blocked his left-footed effort.

After another 15 minutes of cagey cat-and-mouse midfield action, Bashley felt they should have had a penalty when keeper Lewis Clayton hauled down Brett Williams, but the referee would have none of it.

Bashley continued to have better chances, but despite all their pressure in the first half-hour, on 32 minutes, Bishops Cleeve took the lead after their first meaningful attack.

Blaine Waugh eluded Brad Morris’s tackle on the right and provided a pinpoint cross to the near post for Jay Malshanskyj to glance a header past Ross Casey.

Bashley might have had an equaliser early in the second half, but the referee waved aside another strong penalty claim after Williams was pushed in the back.

On 56 minutes, manager Cherrett decided to freshen things up in attack by removing Max Wilcock and Conor Whiteley and replacing them with two of the Black and Gold old brigade, Harry Bunce and Harry McGrath.

It was McGrath’s long-awaited return from the injury that kept him out all season, and he immediately showed his old sparkle. Almost immediately, he broke clear but chose the wrong option of squaring the ball instead of shooting, and Bishops cleared.

The Bashley pressure became relentless, and they won corner after corner. One of them had to produce dividends in the end, and sure enough, after 77 minutes, they equalised when the ball broke to Williams, who rattled it into the net from eight yards.

Bashley hunted for the winner, with McGrath carving out two excellent efforts in added time. The first drawing a remarkable save from Clayton before McGrath’s last-gasp header beat the keeper, but Nelmes nodded clear to rescue a point for the hosts.

Bashley will host Malvern Town on Saturday at 3pm.

Bashley: R. Casey, C. Baughan, C. Stanley, B. Jefford, S. Davidson, B. Morris, S. Wright, L. Ross, M. Wilcock, C. Whiteley, B. Williams. Subs: A. Rolls, H. Bunce, H. McGrath, J. Webber, K. Tshaka.

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