Thursday, 23 August 2012

Report: Bashley 2-1 Frome Town - Southern League Premier

BASHLEY: Opened with home win

BASHLEY battled their way to a first victory of the Frank Gray era, and while they may have been fortunate to snare all three points against Frome Town, Bash’s tenacity could not be questioned.

James Stokoe’s well taken double was enough for Gray’s charges to taste victory in a tense encounter despite Lewis Powell’s penalty putting the cat amongst the pigeons late on.

There were plenty of chances and a fair amount of needle throughout a gripping game, but Stokoe’s sharp shooting made all the difference, while his Frome counterpart Powell was wasteful in front of goal.

The visitors started well – Tom Evans’ long throws caused chaos in the Bashley backline with Powell flashing a header wide before Dean Flockton’s effort was questionably ruled out for offside.

Gray criticised his side’s defending after conceding three goals to headers at Cambridge City, and Bashley were vulnerable to the aerial threat again with new signing Ian Richardson patching up a disjointed backline – the former Totton centre half held it together though, enabling the home side to find some rhythm.

Stokoe might have been awarded a penalty a minute before his first goal, but even a free shot from 12 yards wouldn’t have been as simple to convert as Bashley’s opener – Knight whipped in a free kick from the right which Stokoe nodded into an empty net after ‘keeper Darren Chitty came out and got nowhere near the ball.

Bashley were playing some neat football, but Frome spurned more chances to score after the break – Powell’s shot was easily gathered by Kearn before Dave Evans planted a simple header wide, and they were soon made to pay as Stokoe grabbed a second, latching onto Brad Strickland’s hopeful punt forward and finishing coolly past the onrushing Chitty.

Powell again headed into the grateful arms of Kearn from six yards moments later, highlighting the difference between two well matched sides, but an error from the Bashley goalkeeper handed Town a lifeline.

Kearn came for a ball he was never going to reach with Gary Middleton nudging Matt Smith as he tried to attack the ball – Smith needed no invitation to go down and Powell converted to set up a grandstand finish. 

Frome nearly found an equaliser deep into stoppage time, but substitute Tom Colledge flashed his effort just wide with Kearn rooted to the spot.

The match exposed weaknesses for both sides that will be picked apart by stronger opposition in the Southern Premier, but the battling qualities possessed by both teams will see them take points from anyone who has an off day.

Bashley still need more quality, but Gray certainly got the best out of what he has in this match, and if they can capture more signings like Richardson, a better season may be in the offing for the men in yellow.

BASHLEY: Kearn, J Smith, Oliver, Strickland, Middleton, Richardson, Casey, Hill, Stokoe, Speechley-Price, Knight.

Unused subs: Gazzard, Green, Vokes, Lompato-Pires, Prodomo (g/k).

GOALS: Stokoe 28, 66.

FROME TOWN: Chitty, Thompson (Colledge 71) Evans (Ledgister 36), Flockton, Bennett, Lapham, M Smith, Evans, Powell, Lyons (Auckland 57), Wood.

Unused subs: Bowman, Herbert.

GOAL: Powell 83(p).

STAR MAN: Ian Richardson (Bashley)

Two men in Bashley colours found themselves in the right place at the right time – Stokoe plundered two goals while Richardson diligently mopped up after some messy defending. Richardson edges it on his debut for an all-round performance that not only stopped Frome in their tracks, but steadily built confidence throughout a frail looking team.

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