Southern League Division One football: Torrential rain spoils it with buoyant Bashley beating Paulton Rovers
Southern League Division One
Paulton Rovers FC 0
Bashley FC 1
TORRENTIAL rain robbed Bashley of the chance to climb the table, with the second deluge of the afternoon making the Paulton pitch unplayable after the hour mark.
At the ground where their play-off hopes ended on the final day of last season, Bashley were in sight of a revenge win when the weather brought a premature halt to the match after 67 minutes.
Bashley had been quickly out of the blocks, and inside two minutes, Paulton survived a huge scramble around their goalmouth with the ball scraped off the line.
With the weather suddenly turning to wind and driving rain, Paulton found their feet and, following a corner, Bash was grateful to see Brett Williams back helping out with the timely clearance.
When the rain eased, at the other end, Williams broke clear on a now-soggy pitch but was pulled up by the narrowest of offside flags. Conor Whiteley then scattered the Paulton defence with a mazy run from his half, ending with a shot deflected wide for a corner.
Bashley’s next near-miss came from an unlikely source, Sam Davidson, whose usual menace to opposing defences is in the air, for once had a shooting chance, a thundering effort which flicked the bar and went over instead of under.
Max Wilcock was next to go close, stinging the keeper’s fingertips as he deflected the ball away from goal.
The breakthrough came on 51 minutes. Whiteley was proving a handful for the home defence, and when he was brought down in the box, penalty king Williams rattled in the spot-kick.
Ten minutes later, manager Ollie Cherrett decided that Harry Bunce’s trickery might cause Paulton some headaches on a slippery surface, and Williams gave way.
It was a long-awaited return for Bunce, now the club’s U23 coach, having signed first-team forms again last week. But his comeback only lasted five minutes – the torrential rain returned, and after 67 minutes, the referee had no choice but to abandon the game for safety reasons.
Bashley manager Ollie Cherrett said: “After a really good performance last week, we said we had set ourselves standards. Today, from the first minute to the 67th, we well deserved the lead, so obviously, it was frustrating the way it ended.
“We had a great chance to continue our good run, but it was hard for the referee. He called the managers together at half-time and said he wanted to continue but that if it started raining again, he would have a problem.
“We said to him that if one team scored, then both teams would want to carry on, but it started hammering down, so in fairness, he probably made the right decision.”
Bashley’s veteran player-coach Craig Stanley, whose career spans almost 25 years, played in central defence. He said: “That was the first time I have ever been involved in an abandoned game. A great pity because we were in front and playing well – but we will train hard this week and be ready to go again.”
Bashley hosts Exmouth Town on Saturday at 3pm.
Bashley: R. Casey, C. Baughan, C. Stanley, S. Davidson, B. Jefford, S. Wright, B. Morris, L. Ross, M. Wilcock, C. Whiteley, B. Williams. Subs: A. Pope, H. Brooks, J. Webber, D. Walster, H. Bunce.