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Bashley FC’s win against Willand Rovers puts them in third place

Southern League Division 1 South

Willand Rovers 0

Bashley 2

Bashley eased into a hectic schedule of five games in 10 days with a battling 2-0 win away to Willand Rovers.

After a string of postponements and occasional indifferent displays, the Bash had drifted near the danger area in the division, but this win – on a cold, wet, blustery afternoon in Devon – lifted them back to the comfort zone.

It meant Ollie Cherrett’s men had taken 15 points from their last six games, a statistic which put them in third place on current form behind only the two league pacemakers, Wimborne and Frome.

Ross Casey celebrated his 100th appearance for Bashley (Photo: Les Chase)
Ross Casey celebrated his 100th appearance for Bashley (Photo: Les Chase)

And to top it off, popular keeper Ross Casey was able to celebrate his 100th appearance for Bashley with a vital clean sheet.

With the conditions so poor, it was, inevitably, a rather dour game, with few chances at either end, but a couple of really smart opportunist goals saw Bashley through.

Despite missing Sean Wright through injury, Josh Bertie through international duty and losing skipper Brad Morris to an injury in the warm-up, Bashley generally had the better of things.

Bizarrely, Morris was not the only pre-match casualty – referee Jack Bromham also dropped out with a pulled muscle just before kick-off, which was delayed for 15 minutes while an extra official was identified.

When play finally got under way it was Bash who went closest to an early breakthrough. Frankie Monk, a really lively presence since rejoining Bashley on loan from Weymouth, made a typical barnstorming run down the left and sent a dangerous low cross into the goalmouth. Keeper Burton just snatched it to safety as Max Wilcock closed in.

The conditions were already making it a scrappy game, but it burst into life on 25 minutes when Ashton Pickles played in Monk down the flank. He left a defender stranded and crossed perfectly for the onrushing Luke Delaney to tap in.

The remainder of the half was end-to-end, with neither side really looking likely to work the scoreboard. With the wind gusting and the surface becoming slippy, any real sophistication about the play was virtually impossible.

After the break, Willand came out determined to repair the damage, and two minutes into the second half caused the most concern Bashley yet encountered. A corner was headed back across goal, causing a moment of mayhem before Willand’s over-eagerness cost them a free kick against.

Bashley soon replied, and keeper Burton had to make a superb stop with his leg after Wilcock played in Conor Whiteley for a fierce low left-foot effort.

Willand, however, come perilously close to an equaliser on 65 minutes. The Bash defence was deceived by Molden’s cross which caught the wind and drifted over Casey and back out off the far post – luckily with a Bashley foot first to the loose ball.

That reminded Bash that they needed a second goal to find the comfort zone – and they found just that after 71 minutes.

It was a testimony to the eager alertness of Frankie Monk, chasing down a long ball which seemed destined for a safe clearance. The Willand defence fluffed it, however, and Monk nipped in to score.

After that it was a case of managing the game out – which Bash did successfully to set themselves up for a rather more comfortable run-in to the season than it might have been.

The “comfort”, however, is on hold temporarily – after this match, and Tuesday’s home game against Westbury, Bashley head for Fawley on Thursday evening in the quarter-finals of the Southampton Senior Cup before a Saturday home game against Larkhall, and a trip to the Salisbury area on Easter Monday to face Bemerton Heath Harlequins.

Bashley: Casey; Webber, Steel, Rolls, Baughan; Delaney (Hodge 74), Ross, Pickles, Monk; Wilcock, Whiteley (Johnston 63). Unused Subs: Stanley, Frampton.

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