29th March 2018 - Mike Cranidge (Bashley FC) & Sheridan Sparkes (photo)

A determined Bashley were more than a match for league-leaders Andover Town and could well have been two up had they taken their chances in a scintillating first half that was a credit to the Wessex League. 

The Bluebirds were stunned by Bashley’s fast attacking play but not so stunned as the home supporters by their failure to score.

Dan Munday, Harry McGrath and Lewis Ross played out of their socks but were cursed in the efforts to hit the jackpot.

The feed and support from midfield plus an attacking high-line defence was breath-taking; however, the half was summed up when the unfortunate Ross hooked wide with the net at his mercy following a dazzling crisp, free-flowing move, which was heading for a goal of the season accolade.

It was too good to last. The luck that failed Bash now sided with the opposition and early in the second half a hopeful lob into the goal mouth left centre-back Tony Rolls screaming in agony with a torn hamstring, after he stretched to clear the ball, leaving Reece Rusher free to slot pass the diving Mike Edgar.

The game continued apace with the home side still searching for the elusive net when, to add salt to the wound, Andover were awarded a penalty.

Thus, does fortune strike and so did Joe Wright who scored from the spot.  Then, with eight minutes left Bashley were awarded a penalty themselves.  Ross, left standing on the spot whilst the visitors were allowed to make a slow substitution, then fluffed his chance. 

Two minutes later, Bash were back in it when Munday rifled home from 10 yds. The celebration lasted all of 10 seconds as Whiteley rushed to claim custody of the ball for the re-start from keeper Steve Mowthorpe who had staked maternal claim. 

Whiteley’s retrieval tactics were adjudged unlawful and a red card awarded.  An underserved result for an excellent Bashley performance that also leaves them two key players short for Monday’s game at Petersfield.

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