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Southern League Division One South football: Triumphant Bashley buoyed by battling Exmouth display

Southern League Division One South

Exmouth Town FC 0

Bashley FC 1

Having drifted nearer to the foot of the table than they would have liked, Bashley needed victory against rock-bottom Exmouth – and despite again having a depleted side, they gave a battling performance to achieve it.

Exmouth were determined to get the pitch just about fit enough to pass an inspection despite incessant rain over the previous few days, with a soggy surface, a sharp end-to-end wind and occasional blustery rain showers making conditions almost impossible for decent football.

Bashley's Lewis Ross won the match with a second-half free-kick (Photo: Les Chase)
Bashley's Lewis Ross won the match with a second-half free-kick (Photo: Les Chase)

In the end, it was a matter of slogging away to grind out the points, and on the day, Bashley did that better than their hosts, winning it on the back of a superb free-kick by Lewis Ross.

Bashley came into the match without in-form striker Conor Whiteley, classy full-back Callum Baughan through injury, and Sean Wright, before losing midfielder Ashton Pickles after only nine minutes.

There was little goalmouth action at either end in the first half, Bashley’s best effort coming from Luke Delaney, whose lobbed volley was well-read by home keeper Chris Wright, who pulled it down from under the bar.

The keeper was also well-placed to hold onto a Max Wilcock header and another fizzer from Delaney.

Exmouth looked quite lively for a time in the middle of the half, Aaron Denny flashing a shot across the goalmouth with nobody able to touch it in, then Louis Morrison having a similar experience, thwarted by a timely interception by Jamie Webber.

The second half was livelier and when Tony Rolls was harshly penalised on the edge of the penalty area, Casey watched Levi Landricombe’s shot all the way for a routine save – although the Bashley keeper had to be a lot sharper to make a superb flying save when Ben Steer broke clear.

Bashley keeper Ross Casey made vital interceptions (Photo: Les Chase)
Bashley keeper Ross Casey made vital interceptions (Photo: Les Chase)

The breakthrough came on 62 minutes, when substitute Eddie Hodge weaved his way across the edge of the area before being chopped down. Ross stepped up with a trademark free kick, which beat the wall and left the keeper stranded as the ball curved into the corner.

It seemed likely that struggling Exmouth would lose confidence if they went behind, so it proved. They were seldom dangerous again, while Bashley almost doubled their lead when Wright had to produce a terrific diving save to his left to keep out a thunderbolt from Brett Williams.

After the match, Bashley manager Ollie Cherrett was proud of the team effort. He said: “That was a massive three points. In some performances recently, we deserved more points than we got, but today, it was right.

“I believe in this group of players – a good, honest group. We were solid at the back.

“Dan Thompson, coming in at right-back, did brilliantly, Sam Steel and Tony Rolls won their battles, and Jamie Webber, out of position at left-back, did all we asked of him.

“Also, in Ross Casey, of course, we have one of the best goalkeepers in the league.”

He added: “We have some important games coming up, four in succession at home, and we have to build on this confidence.

“The lads are buzzing about today’s result, and I’m pleased for them and all the supporters who travelled a long way today and gave us terrific backing.”

Although still third from bottom in the Southern League Division One (South), Bashley still have games in hand on most clubs above them – and now has a run of four home games, starting on Saturday with Paulton Rovers at 3pm.

Bashley: R. Casey, D. Thompson, J. Webber, A. Rolls, S. Steel, B. Morris, L. Ross, A. Pickles, M. Wilcock, J. Johnston, L. Delaney. Subs: C. Stanley, M. Frampton, B. Williams, E. Hodge.

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