Midweek Wessex League games: Bashley dent Brockenhurst hopes, Ringwood Town beat Bemerton Heath Harlequins, Christchurch draw with Bournemouth Poppies and Blackfield & Langley hammer Hythe & Dibden
BASHLEY overcame the league leaders Brockenhurst 3-1 to claim the New Forest derby spoils and significantly dent the Badgers' title hopes in front of 489 spectators at the Glen Mex Stadium.
In the other local midweek Wessex League Premier fixtures, Christchurch continued their remarkable reversal of form to draw one-all with Bournemouth Poppies, and Blackfield & Langley smashed Hythe & Dibden 6-2.
And in the Wessex League Division One, a nine-goal thriller, where Ringwood Town clinched an extraordinary last-minute victory to defeat league leaders Bemerton Heath Harlequins 5-4.
Brockenhurst's 11-game unbeaten run came to an end against fifth-placed Bashley, whose performance was spearheaded by two-goal Harry Bunce and player-of-the-match, goalkeeper Sammy Thompson.
Bashley struck the woodwork early with a Lewis Ross free-kick, but Brockenhurst broke the deadlock when 17-year-old Christie Ward raced away to capitalise on a defensive mix-up to sweep the ball under the keeper.
After Bashley's strong start, the Badgers were very much in the game, and it took a brilliant save at the post by Thompson to thwart the visitors.
After the break, Brockenhurst keeper James Mayo thwarted several chances, but he could do nothing when River Smith got on the end of Dan Thompson's throw-in to equalise.
Six minutes later, Bashley's Jack Smith sent a well-measured cross into the goalmouth, where Bunce leapt Ronaldo-esque before sending a header into the back of the net.
The Badgers responded well, but keeper Thomson was on top form and repelled multiple efforts before Bunce settled the match after going through one-to-one, with the visitors pushing for an equaliser.
Christchurch picked up a vital point in their fight to avoid relegation, drawing one-all with Bournemouth Poppies, who sit two points higher than the Priory outfit.
Christchurch's form has improved drastically since replacing their manager, with five points collected from the last four games after taking just three points in the previous 16.
Christchurch started the match looking anything but relegation fodder as they went close with an ambitious bicycle kick before winning a penalty after just 14 minutes. Eder Batista coolly dispatched the spot-kick past a diving Harry Gravett.
The Poppies saw a decent free-kick effort saved, but in truth, Christchurch eased through the half a goal ahead.
Conor Jevon blasted a gilt-edged chance over the bar as the hosts looked for a leveller. However, Christchurch could feel aggrieved when the goal came after their keeper was clattered in mid-air while punching the ball away at a corner.
Both sides had chances to win the match, but Christchurch defended resolutely for periods as they took home a well-earned point.
Blackfield & Langley ruthlessly dispatched Hythe & Dibden 6-2 as Hythe's struggles continue with no points after 17 league matches.
Blackfield's Owen Fee, playing in his first match since rejoining from Lymington Town, scored one goal and was the game's best player.
The rest came from Rafa Ramos, with two, while Sami Makhloufi, Harvey-Joe Bertrand and Wayne Robinson added the others.
Ringwood Town shocked league leaders Bemerton Heath Harlequins with a last-minute winner under the floodlights at Long Lane.
Ringwood took the lead after 14 minutes when captain Ben Harris delivered a floated ball to the back post for Josh Taylor to cushion home a first-time finish.
Bemerton levelled 10 minutes after the break before Harrison Clarke won a penalty after having his shirt pulled. Harry Smith stepped up to grab his 12th goal of the season and restore Ringwood's one-goal advantage.
Josh Taylor made it 3-1 with a tap-in before Bemerton pulled one back.
With the nerves jangling, Harrison Fay benefitted from a good advantage played by the referee to finish low into the far corner.
With the game entering added time, Bemerton appeared to break the hosts' hearts with two quickfire goals to level the match at four-all. However, Charlie Hitchings reacted brightly to fire home from eight yards out after the ball dropped loose from a corner to delight the home fans and end Bemerton's unbeaten start.