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Buoyant Bashley one win from promotion after victory against Shaftesbury

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BASHLEY pulled away in the second half to beat third-placed Shaftesbury, leaving them needing just one win from their last three games to ensure promotion.

More than 100 Bashley supporters descended on Cockrams, one of the highest football grounds in England at 750 feet above sea level, as goals from Lyle Simpson and Lewis Ross left them on the cusp of achieving Southern League Division One status.

The Rockies, who play on a 3G pitch, dominated the early exchanges as the visitors adjusted to the surface.

Shaftesbury's Brad Hill and Ben Satterley close down Bashley's Ben Atiako-Hall (photo: Les Chase)
Shaftesbury's Brad Hill and Ben Satterley close down Bashley's Ben Atiako-Hall (photo: Les Chase)

Apart from a shot which hit the bar, most of Shaftesbury's goalmouth crosses were plucked from the sky by the impressive Ross Casey, while Adam Grange's uncharacteristically lacklustre showing was explained when he left the field with a back injury.

Both teams came out for the second half with renewed vigour, but Bashley took over and fashioned decent chances.

The opening goal came after young Simpson took off like an Olympic sprinter before cutting in and shooting across the keeper, the ball hitting both posts before finishing in the net.

Simpson had another chance saved before being taken off with player-coach Matt Tubbs, fresh from his hat-trick in the last game, coming on to see out the game.

The Rockies hadn't crumbled, but neither had Casey, and a near-post save to preserve the lead was breathtaking.

With six of the 12 minutes of added time played, Bradley's fizzing effort collided with a Shaftesbury defender before Ben Atiako-Hall's shot found Ross, who broke smashed home to make it 16 unbeaten, sparking wild celebrations from the players, coaches and fans.

Bashley: R. Casey, J. Smith, D. Thompson, S. Jackson, L. Aimson, B. Morris, L. Farrugia, L. Ross, B. Atiako-Hall, A. Grange, L. Simpson. Subs: S. Thompson, M. Rossi, B. Bennett, M. Tubbs, O. Bradley.

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