A defiant performance from a Bashley side whose inevitable relegation was confirmed today coupled with a below par performance from the Swans saw the visitors return from their longest trip of the season with merely a single point rather than the three they would have been expected to pick up. On another day, Slimbridge could have ended the game in double figures, with far more opportunities than they had when they put six past Bashley at Wisloe Road last month, but in the end it was the hosts who were celebrating at the final whistle, as they collected only their second point of the season.
On a hard and very uneven surface, playing football of any quality was always going to be a challenge, and it took a while for the game to settle down – the Swans made the best of the earlier chances – Adam Mace forced a smart save from Bashley Keeper Joe Promodo with eight minutes on the clock after being playing in by Sean Lawson in the first real goalmouth action. On 18 minutes, Mace returned the favour and set up Lawson, who saw his effort blocked. From the resulting corner, Promodo made a simple stop from Jamie Martin’s header.
Three minutes later, Lawson was through on goal after neat work from Sam Babatunde and Martin, but again his effort was blocked as the visitors pressed hard for an opener. Still the chances came and went – Rich Thwaite’s header from a Mace corner just off target, Martin going close with a shot after turning his man in the Bashley penalty box, and then Martin again collecting the ball after a collision with Promodo while chasing a through ball, only to see the Keeper get back and stop his goalbound effort.
Promodo picked up a knock in the challenge, and continued after lengthy treatment, but was alert to make a superb stop from Babatunde’s header on 37 minutes, before leaving the field with suspected concussion as a result of the original clash with Martin. Bashley Reserve Keeper Joe Coombes took over between the sticks for the home side.
Bashley went close to scoring themselves just before the break – but a magnificent save from George Burton deniedHarry Smith, who drilled a very dangerous shot in as the ball fell to him in the Slimbridge box.
Just before the half, Adam Mace was off target with a free kick on the edge of the area, leaving the sides level at the break.
In the first five second half minutes, Slimbridge could have scored three times as they pressed hard to break the deadlock – Babatunde’s effort was just off target, Mace beat two men only to skew his effort the wrong side of the post, and then Lawson saw another effort blocked by Coombes after Martin had played him through on goal.
On the hour, Paul Fahy was pulled back on the edge of the Bashley box by Callum Lee, who picked up a yellow card for his trouble, but Mace’s free kick lacked power and Coombes was able to make another stop.
Mace was again denied on 66 minutes, when his goalbound piledriver his the back of a Bashley defender to be deflected for a corner, as it looked more and more like it was going to be one of those days for the visitors.
With 20 minutes remaining, Bashley had their second decent effort of the game, Will Heather going close with a long range effort which was just too high.
As the game petered out, Mace had one last opportunity to break deadlock, but his Free kick as time wound down was again too high, and the home celebrations kicked into high gear as Referee Anthony Foster brought the game to a close.
The Swans remain on their travels this week, visiting Larkhall Athletic on Wednesday (7.45pm), and then making another long trip down the A34 to Winchester City on Good Friday (3.00pm). They then return to Wisloe Road a week Saturday, (April 2nd, 3.00pm) when Tiverton Town are the visitors.
Team: Burton, Turl, Brown, Hoyle, Rich Thwaite, Ward, Babatunde (Twyman 60), Turner, Lawson (Mahmood 65), Martin (Fahy 55), Mace
Supporters Man of the Match: Dean Turner