Darke’s late salvo evens the score

Bemerton Heath Harlequins 1 Bashley 1
(Wessex Premier)

A ninetieth-minute canon-ball shot from young Rian Drake holed Bremerton Heath’s hopes of raising their flag in honour of three points. A draw was fair result in a game that rarely rose above the mundane, but it was the Bashley fans that left the ground in a high spirit of justification.

Bashley’s first half performance was numbingly indifferent with Matty Fredericks in the Bemerton goal a disinterested spectator. Not that Harlequins were setting the pitch on fire but with burley frontman, captain Jake Burgess, taking no prisoners they were always looked the most likely to score. When, after 28 minutes of play, the goal did come it was from the boot of Jack Slade, but honour there was none, as the ball was deflected into the net by a Bashley defender with Own Goal being credited the glory.

Bashley were early to the pitch to start the second half and whatever was said at halftime should be bottled and stored. Within minutes of the restart Brad Morris was on a mission and his forward run out of defence led to Dan Munday shooting just wide; whilst at the other end, Bash keeper Jason Collins did well to deflect a goal-bound shot from Burgess past the post. The visitors then increased the pressure by claiming the flanks in bringing on tricky Nasim Meddah to play left-field and nippy Jack Smith to patrol the right.

This opened the game and the home side’s goal area become a war zone. Jamie Webber just failed to finish a measured Smith cross. Harrison White was shooting on sight and it was only a fine save by Fredericks that stopped one net-bound effort. The tension was increased by the active Burgess bruising the Bash defence when taking a robust interest in every cleared high ball.

With a minute to go, goalkeeper Collins moved forward to take a free kick just short of the halfway line; his high delivery into the crowded area was half cleared, only to be met and volleyed from 20 yds out into the underused net by the lurking Drake, leaving both sides a frozen tableau. There was just time for White to almost steal the game, but he sent a Drake pass the wrong side of the bar.

Bashley: Collins, Drake, Aimson, Morris, Thompson, Rolls, Drew, White, Munday, Webber, Beard.
Used Subs: Meddah, Smith, Sims.