Southampton Senior Cup football: AFC Netley 1 – 4 Bashley
Southampton Senior Cup
AFC Netley 1
BASHLEY are through to the quarter-finals of the Southampton Senior Cup – but they had to huff and puff for it against a side of battlers from four divisions below.
On a bumpy public park pitch in bitterly cold weather it was never going to be a classic – or the cakewalk win many might have expected.
In fact, a strong Bashley side laboured for nearly 30 minutes before opening the scoring, and went through much of the second half holding just a 2-1 lead.
In the end, the expected outcome was established with a couple of fine late goals and Bashley left with the prospect of a home tie now against Fawley.
There is a degree of “revenge” about that one, because Fawley nudged Bash out of the Russell-Cotes Cup earlier in the season.
That night the underdogs staged a massive and successful rearguard action after taking a first-minute lead and defended it, desperately, through to the end.
As the game at Netley unfolded, there was seldom the likelihood that the home side, although getting stuck in, would actually steal a goal and pull off the same trick – but they made sure this was never going to a runaway win for the Southern League side.
The opening stages were mainly a tale of frustration for Bashley. Harry McGrath, making his first start of the season, saw a header cleared off the line – as did Max Wilcock moments later.
Wilcock, however, was looking the liveliest of the Bashley front line and he got his reward on 29 minutes, waltzing past three tackles as he cut in from the left before planting the ball well out of the keeper’s reach.
Wilcock had another cleared off the line before, after 40 minutes, he made it 2-0. A neat build-up between Luke Delaney and Eddie Hodge left the striker just the task of finishing – which he did with ease.
The scene was set for a runaway Bashley win in the second half – but that didn’t materialise.
In fact, Netley got the reward for their determination with a smartly taken goal after 50 minutes. Sloppy play by Bashley in midfield led to a ball over the top of a square back line from Kalon Robinson and a neat chip by Ryan Shirley over Ross Casey as the keeper rushed out.
After that, Bashley laboured for a time, always in control of the game, but seldom threatening against some determined defending.
They were denied a certain penalty when Harry McGrath was chopped down in full flight, and Delaney, beginning to run the game down the left flank, sent a couple of efforts narrowly wide.
Brett Williams came into the game as a sub, and immediately made an impact. Netley found it hard to deal with his wily, ex-pro skills, and on 75 minutes he traded passes with Wilcock and finished with typical power and poise.
And it was Williams who also set up the fourth, putting the ball on a plate for Delaney to blast it high into the net from 20 yards.
Afterwards, Bashley manager Ollie Cherrett said: “Our quality won us the game, which it should do, and that’s the most important thing. The pitch was certainly difficult and we’ve had to handle that.
“Scoring four goals was good – we could easily have had four or five more – but credit to Netley, they were brilliant, threw themselves in front of everything and gave us a real good game. “However, in cup competitions, whether you win 1-0 or 21-0, it puts you through to the next round.”
Two under-23 players, Blu Sexton-Chadwick and Jake Fletcher, were given their chance during the second half and the manager was pleased with their contribution.
He said: “They did really well. We have an excellent under-23 set-up – it’s vital for the club that we have this pathway through to the first team.”
BASHLEY: Casey; Rolls, Stanley (Fletcher 81), Wright, Webber; Morris, Delaney, Johnston (Sexton-Chadwick 59); Hodge, Wilcock, McGrath (Williams 69). Subs not used: Whiteley, Woodsford.