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Midweek football round-up including match reports from Brockenhurst, Bashley, Christchurch, Hythe & Dibden and Blackfield

IT was a frustrating night for most local sides in the latest round of midweek fixtures, with Brockenhurst’s victory over top-of-the-table AFC Stoneham the shining light.

Meanwhile, Bashley endured a miserable night at the GlenMex, losing 2-1 to bottom-of-the-table Exmouth, while Christchurch, Hythe & Dibden and Blackfield & Langley also lost.

With two goals in added time at the end of each half, Patrick McManus’s Badgers side shocked the league leaders to rubber-stamp their credentials as promotion play-off hopefuls.

Brockenhurst's Noel McCarthy-Gardiner raced clear to make it 2-0 (Photo: Les Chase)
Brockenhurst's Noel McCarthy-Gardiner raced clear to make it 2-0 (Photo: Les Chase)

AFC Stoneham played well in the opening 20 minutes without creating much of note before the game exploded into life, with the Badgers players covering every blade of grass in a heroic effort.

Keeper Amad Skrzyniarz had to be alert to make an excellent one-on-one save to deny Owen Fee, before Brock’s Toby Bailey rattled one off the crossbar.

The game’s first goal arrived in the 49th minute when debutant defender Dan Thompson, another player to move from Bashley to Brockenhurst this season, headed home at the far post from a corner.

The visitors became increasingly frustrated, and as they pushed and pushed for a leveller, a quick counter saw Noel McCarthy-Gardiner charge through the middle and finish into an empty net to put the game to bed.

New Bashley signing Josh Bertie came off the bench but did not get a chance to shine (Photo: Les Chase)
New Bashley signing Josh Bertie came off the bench but did not get a chance to shine (Photo: Les Chase)

Bashley could have ended their fears of slipping into a relegation dogfight by pulling out of reach of bottom-placed side Exmouth in a season where only one team will face the drop.

A superb free kick from Lewis Ross gave Bashley a half-time lead. However, Bashley never really clicked into gear.

Bashley were fortunate to be ahead at half-time and could not have any complaints about being on the wrong end of the scoreline at the finish.

By the 67th minute, Exmouth had deservedly pulled level, Ben Steer finding far too much room wide on the left wing to cut in and beat Ross Casey with a shot into the far top corner.

Five minutes later, he repeated that from an almost identical situation, and despite bringing on fit again striker Conor Whiteley and a new front-man signing from Winchester, Josh Bertie, Bash never looked like saving it.

Christchurch came into the contest on a three-game unbeaten run after two draws and a win, and they will feel hard done by to lose 3-2 against Hamble Club.

Church trailed by two goals after strikes from Sam Godfroy and Clayd Roach, but Lyle Simpson reignited his side’s belief when beating the offside trap and firing home.

Former Hythe player Nic Yeomans added his name to the scoresheet, giving his side a 3-1 lead at the break, but almost immediately after the restart, Church had a penalty, and Simpson made no mistake.

Hamble lost captain Matt Casey to a red card in the 50th minute, but they held on for the win.

Finally, Blackfield & Langley lost 2-1 to Laverstock & Ford after Callum Stratton’s goal for the Watersiders was cancelled out by Adam Bourner and Jude Jeffrey, while Hythe & Dibden lost 1-0 to Baffins Milton Rovers thanks to Tyrhys Lukonyomoi’s strike.

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