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Midweek games: Bashley vs Brockenhurst, AFC Fawley vs Laverstock & Ford, Christchurch vs Portland United

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BASHLEY laid down a big marker with victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Brockenhurst, while Christchurch guaranteed their league status with a win over Portland United.

However, this week's Wessex Football League midweek fixtures were not kind to AFC Fawley, who lost 2-1 to Laverstock & Ford, leaving them hovering above the bottom three on goal difference.

Bashley's impressive New Forest derby victory makes it an unbeaten run of 14 games for Paul Morris's side, who now sit second in the league after champions-elect Hamworthy United defeated Shaftesbury.

Bashley keeper Ross Casey makes a save (photo: Les Chase)
Bashley keeper Ross Casey makes a save (photo: Les Chase)

The 1-0 defeat does not spell the end of Brockenhurst's promotion fight, who sit in the final promotion play-off spot with three winnable games remaining.

After a full-blooded start to the match which saw both sides fighting for every inch of turf, Bashley capitalised first when Ben Atiako-Hall, who came into the starting line-up only minutes before the start, pounced after a missed clearance from the Badgers defence.

Bashley should have been two up before the break after brilliant chances went begging. The first saw the typically lethal Adam Grange heading over from five yards out, and the second left the woodwork shaking when Ollie Bradley hit the post from a yard out.

With the break moments away, Mitchell Speechley-Price showed the Badgers were still in it with a brilliant header which needed a goal-line clearance to keep it at 1-0.

The second half saw no further goals, but both sides played in a manner worthy of the match's high stakes.

Christchurch came into the match against Portland United knowing victory would ensure their place in next year's premier division, and they did not disappoint the Hurn Bridge crowd, with 2-1 win.

The result is impressive considering Christchurch's shocking start to the season which saw them win only one of their first 14 league games until new manager Callum Brooks' arrival.

Sam Bayston opened the scoring after 23 minutes, timing his run to perfection before slotting past Mike Edgar.

Church appeared in total control five minutes later when imposing defender Luke Ansell's long throw-in found Harry Cooper, who bundled the ball across the line.

At around the hour mark, substitute Josh Taylor entered the fray before almost immediately departing again to spend 10 minutes in the sin-bin for dissent.

With seven minutes left, Portland pulled a goal back with a composed finish to set up a nervy finish. The whistle finally arrived with Church securing their league safety.

It was a tough night for AFC Fawley, who were on course for a hard-earned point until a superior Laverstock & Ford side scored an 88th-minute winner.

Sixth-placed Laverstock & Ford scored first through Archie Lovegrove, but the Oilers hit back before the break when Chae Sykes notched his first league goal of the season.

It appeared the Oilers had done enough to earn a point, but Sykes smashed home the winner with two minutes left before the referee brandished a red card to a Laverstock defender for some overzealous celebrations.

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