Bashley 2 Andover New Street 0
Saturday 4th August 2018
Bashley, in conditions not out of place in North Africa, open their league season with a well-deserved victory against newly promoted Andover New Street. The Bashley Road pitch, having survived the rainless summer, was a baked challenge under an unforgiving sun with the only the water breaks for relief.
Bashley with the core of last year’s team interspersed with several fresh faces settled down immediately to their passing game, a style matched by their opponents, resulting in few chances in the opening ten minutes. Without key striker Dan Munday, Bashley had Harry McGrath in a central role alongside mercurial new signing Nasim Meddah whose movement and speed proved a constant threat. It was McGrath who opened the scoring when, after narrowly beating the offside trap, he set his GPS to goal and rounded the on-rushing Dave Tasker to slot home. Bashley were now in charge with the two Brads, Morris and Strickland, dominant in midfield and a sound defence fortified by the presence and directions of new keeper, the experienced Jason Collins. In a mirror image of the first goal, Meddah was unlucky not to open his account but this time goalkeeper Tasker came out the winner.
Within minutes of the second half, Bashley extended their lead: a cross from the left was headed high across the goal-line by Sam Jackson and, in a bout of aerial ballet, the ball was returned by the head of Lewis Aimson only to brush the underside of the bar sending it into the space occupied by the rising McGrath who found sanctuary in the Andover net for the air-sick ball. Play continued at apace despite the relentless sun and Andover to their credit continued to push forward but Collins in goal was never troubled as the Bash defence, with Tony Rolls and Dan Thomson in superb form, never faulted. Despite New Street reverting to a back-four, the home side looked the more likely to score with Jackson always a powerful menace when breaking forward. Bashley brought on all three subs giving new signings Jamie Webber, Cameron Beard and Jack Smith a taste of Wessex Premier action.
The final whistle brought relief to all on the field of play and both teams and officials were applauded off the pitch by an appreciative crowd sheltering in the shade of the stands!
Bashley: Jason Collins, Rian Drake, Lewis Aimson, Brad Morris, Dan Thompson, Tony Rolls, Sam Jackson, Brad Strickland, Harry McGrath, Harrison White, Nasim Meddah.
Used Subs: Jamie Webber, Cameron Beard, Jack Smith.
MOM: Brad Morris.