Bashley 2 Shaftesbury 1
Bashley’s absentee problems were eased with the return from injury of Dan Munday and Tony Rolls who both came off the bench in the second half to help turn the game in Bashley’s favour.
Shaftesbury won the toss giving them the advantage of a dazzling low sun at their backs, a situation illustrated by Bash keeper, Jason Collins, clearing a late-seen shot from under the bar when falling back. The Rockies took full advantage of the conditions and play was mostly in the Bashley half. In one such attack, the inability of the home side to clear the ball ended with Shaftesbury frontman Steve Smith heading home from close range. This stung Bashley into action and almost immediately the powerful Cameron Beard was upended in the box by one of three defenders trailing in his wake. To the consternation of those behind the goal a penalty was not awarded.
The game was now ‘even-Steven’ with both goal areas seeing action, if not penetration, with the forward runs of Beard and Nathan Clements always a source of Bash hope but, as the half closed, it was a spin-turn and shot by Rian Drake from a Cameron assist that was Bashley’s best chance of levelling the score.
The home-side’s first half performance must have been on the halftime agenda as they were now the dominant attacking force, a warning recognised by the visitors who then brought on an extra defender. Then, after fifteen minutes of limited success, Bash midfielder Liam Farrugia decided to take matters in hand and after leaving two defenders for dead unleashed a 25-yard net-buster much to the surprise of goal-minder, John Hill.
Sensing blood, Bashley brought on goal-machine Dan Munday, desperate to shine after a four-week lay-off. The game was now open with Sam Jackson and Jack Smith, forsaking their defensive roles to move forward and Shaftesbury enjoying the extra space; it was Munday, however, who came nearest to breaking the deadlock when his well-timed header found Hill on great form.
A second shrewd change saw Bashley bring on central defender Tony Rolls whose presence at the back allowed part-time defender Hugh Dathan to slot into his preferred wingman role; a move that paid off almost immediately when he was brought down in the box. Food for a famished striker and Munday was not going to miss this opportunity and calmly sent Hill the wrong way to give Bashley a late lead. A lead retained thanks to fine save by Collins in the dying minutes that ensured three welcomed points.
Bashley: Collins, Smith, Dathan, Morris, Manufor, Thompson, Jackson, Farrugia, Beard, Drake, Clements
Used Subs: Munday, Rolls
Sponsors MOM: Sam Jackson
(Photo: goal scorer Liam Farrugia www.rjbfilmingandphotography.co.uk)