Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Report: Bashley 0-0 Cambridge City - Southern Premier

STAR MAN: Bashley's
Gary Middleton

Substance very nearly trumped style in a game of cat and mouse between Bashley and Cambridge City, but in truth any more than a share of the spoils would have been a travesty for these shot-shy sides.

The Lilywhites, on the back of five away wins out of six in the Southern Premier, produced flowing football at times but drew just one save from Bash custodian Stuart Moore as the hosts harassed and harried in the style expected from boss Frank Gray.

And the New Forest outfit arguably had the better chances to win despite spending much of the night chasing the ball, though their Achilles Heel of failing to find the net continues to stifle progress.

The Scot will be pleased with his side’s sixth clean sheet of the campaign, but a seventh home league match without scoring offers the biggest reason for Bashley’s perilous position.

More familiar strike pairing Mark Gamble and James Stokoe handed Gray’s team more punch in the final third, but the defensive shift that Bashley’s goal-getters had to put in amongst City’s slick passing meant opportunities were limited.

Had Gamble managed to catch Cambridge cold in the second minute it could have been so different, but after latching onto George Colson’s throughball, the former Farnborough man saw his low drilled effort fizz wide of the far post.

City soon recovered and signalled their intent by pressing the hosts back for long spells with Mitchell Bryant at the thick of the action while Ieuan Lewis’ deflected effort forced Moore to adjust his dive and make his solitary stop of the night.

Quite how Adam Marriott missed with a far post header from Jackson Ramm’s drilled cross midway through the first half is anyone’s guess, but it epitomised the kind of evening City were in for.

If it wasn’t wayward finishing, it was brave Bash defending as Matt Finlay, a late replacement for the injured Tim Stephenson, denied Marriott a one-on-one opportunity with Moore.

At the other end, visiting keeper Zac Barrett had trouble with a few routine balls before clawing Colson’s far post header away from Charlie Knight’s cross on the stroke of half time.

Both sides found another gear and played at a higher tempo after the restart, but it was Cambridge who continued to keep the ball well and gradually pressed Bash back further and further.

The hosts were almost caught out when Ian Richardson sold Moore short with a backpass, but the young Reading loanee blocked at the feet of Marriott before Gary Middleton cleared any lingering danger and Bash nearly reaped the rewards of their resolute rearguard action in the final ten minutes.

Gamble’s angled effort drew a fine low save from Barrett before Stokoe’s flicked header beat the City stopper but bounced just wide of the far post as the hosts tried to complete something of a smash and grab.

Two teams with two very different styles ended this match with same problem – both goalkeepers had far too little to do – but it is hard to imagine that either manager will be too disheartened with a solid display and a point that may yet have a bearing on whether they meet in this division again next season.  

*BASHLEY boss Frank Gray gives the Bournemouth Echo his post match thoughts here

BASHLEY: Moore, Strickland, Oliver (Knight 10), Finlay, Middleton, Richardson, Casey, Colson, Stokoe, Gamble, Hill. Unused subs: Gradwell, Foster, Gazzard, Kearn (g/k). 

CAMBRIDGE CITY: Barrett, Ramm, Blanchett, Theobald, Chaffey, Nightingale, Lewis, Prada, Bryant (Midgley 78), Marriott, Fuller. Unused subs: Cambridge, Cleaver, Pepper.

STAR MAN: Gary Middleton (Bashley)

As always, in the right place at the right time, winning headers, charging down shots and more importantly, mopping up behind when loose balls dropped in the penalty area. Narrowly beats Matt Finlay to the award on a night where all of Bashley’s back three did so much to stifle City’s attack. 

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