Bashley 1-1 Hamble Club
Before several had settled in their seats a long-lofted cross caught-out Bash keeper Jason Collins and the ball squirmed from his grasp to fall kindly at the feet of a shocked but delighted Coby Wilson. This could have signalled the start of a long night for Bashley, but the Gold and Blacks took a deep breath and settled into their normal passing game: working the ball well and leaving their visitors chasing shadows.
Front runners, Dan Munday and Nathan Clements assisted by Tyler Rutten, feeding from the direct pace of Hugh Dathan, were a constant threat whilst Jack Smith, lucky to survive a kamikaze tackle, dazzled both spectators and opposition with his darting moves and match awareness. It took until almost halftime for their efforts to be rewarded when a searching cross from Rutten was met at the far post by Hugh Dathan whose well time run put him in the perfect position to equalise.
The second half continued where the first had left off with the hosts playing all the football and the visitors relying on long balls in the vague direction of their isolated target man Nathan Lynch. Despite height disadvantage, Dan Thompson and Brad Morris were solid at the back, giving Sam Jackson, Brad Strickland more time to support the industrious Harrison White in patrolling the middle ground.
With 20 minutes remaining Bashley laid siege to the Hamble goal, Cameron Beard came off the bench to add his muscle to the onslaught. The Hamble net was blessed with a charmed life: a pull-back from Dathan was crunched against the post by Munday who had another close-range shot blocked on the line; a fine save by keeper Rory Anderson kept out a Dathan rocket who was foiled again when his powered header from an excellent White freekick was clawed away by Anderson.
The best (or worse) came late, when a perfectly timed far-post-run-in by Jackson to greet a corner was only surpassed by his Alan Shearer-like bullet header that smashed unforgivingly against the upright.
Ironically, after all this excitement that had the thrill-rich Bash supporters on their feet, it was the visitors that nearly snatched the laurels with a breakaway the ended in a goal-mouth scramble that could have easily resulted in a most undeserved winner.
Bashley: Collins, Smith, Jackson, Strickland, Morris, Thompson, Dathan, White, Munday, Rutten, Clements
Used Sub: Beard
Sponsors MOM: Dan Thompson