Moneyfields ensure Bashley’s Wessex League promotion champagne remains on ice with Victory Stadium stalemate

Moneyfields produced a fine defensive display to keep Bashley’s Wessex League promotion champagne on ice.

By Simon Carter
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 10:56 pm
Moneyfields' Joe Briggs, left, had his side's best chances in the 0-0 draw with Bashley at the Victory Stadium.

Picture: Keith Woodland
Moneyfields' Joe Briggs, left, had his side's best chances in the 0-0 draw with Bashley at the Victory Stadium. Picture: Keith Woodland

The New Forest club assured themselves of second place in the Premier Division last weekend. But they entered tonight’s Victory Stadium showdown needing three points from their last two games to clinch automatic promotion back to the Southern League rather than relying on the lottery of a play-off.

Following a rare Wessex 0-0 draw, they now need to beat Christchurch on Saturday to seal a return to step 4 football for the first time in six years.

Bashley created the better chances but were frustrated by some fine stops from keeper Callum McGeorge and the sort of resilient defending Moneys have lacked on occasions against the top teams this season.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Indeed, this was the first clean sheet they had kept against a club currently in the top nine of the Premier Division in 2021/22.

The visitors were the better side in the first half and should have gone in at the interval leading.

On 15 minutes, Ollie Bradley’s right wing cross found striker Adam Grange, who under pressure from Harry Birmingham shot just wide from eight yards.

The nearest Moneys came in the opening period was when Joe Briggs’ lob - from a Steve Hutchings flick on - was easily gathered by Ross Casey.

Bashley forced corners at regular intervals throughout and, from one such flag kick, defender Sam Jackson rose unchallenged but headed over.

From seemingly out of nowhere, tempers rose on the Moneys bench midway through the first half.

Goalkeeping coach Karl Watson could be seen trying to lash out at assistant manager Fraser Quirke on the touchline, and was instantly shown a red card.

As frustrations mounted on the pitch, Hutchings and Tom Cain both picked up bookings as Bashley enjoyed the greater possession without really carving Moneys open.

The long throws of Dan Thompson gave the home defence some problems, but overall Moneys defended well.

McGeorge kept the score goalless at the interval with a great 43rd minute save, deflecting Bradley’s low shot away with an outstretched foot at the expense of a corner.

Shortly after the restart, McGeorge dived low to push away a Grange shot for another corner.

Around the hour mark, Moneys enjoyed their best period of the game. First, a curling free-kick from Jordan Pile was allowed to bounce in the 18-yard box and Corey Heath’s header was kept out by Casey.

Shortly after, Hutchings’ shot from the edge of the area took a deflection out for a corner.

Moneys boss Glenn Turnbull had been forced into a defensive change just after half-time, bringing on Adam Cripps for Harry Birmingham.

His second sub saw one young striker replace another, with Will Porter coming on for Evan Harris.

Lyle Simpson thought he had poached Bashley’s opener on 68 minutes, after scoring from close range at the far post, but a linesman’s raised flag cut celebrations short.

Though the onus was on Bashley to push for a winner - Moneys were playing purely for pride - McGeorge didn’t have any more shots to save apart from a regulation stop from a low Grange effort.

It was at the other end that the best chance arrived, and it fell to Briggs seven minutes from time. He had a clear sight of goal after taking a pass from Hutchings, but a Bash defender produced a superb block at the expense of a corner.

Had the shot gone in, a defeat would have been the same to Bashley as a draw. Either result would have meant they needed to beat Christchurch on Saturday. As it is, Bash are now unbeaten in 18 games, having won 14 of them, since a 4-2 loss at Horndean in January.

For Moneys, an eighth league clean sheet in 39 Wessex appearances will please Turnbull, given his side’s defensive struggles at times this season.

Up front, though, it was the first time one of his Wessex League teams had failed to score at the Victory Stadium. He managed US Portsmouth in 31 home league and cup ties over two pandemic-scarred seasons, and watched his side net in every one.

Moneys had also scored in losing to Shaftesbury last weekend - the club having to play their final two home games of the season away from Dover Road due to the building of the John Jenkins Stadium.

Moneyfields: McGeorge, Evans, Chandler, Birmingham (Cripps, 47), Heath, Cain, Pile, Boyd-kerr, Harris (Porter, 67), Hutchings, Briggs.

Bashley: Casey, S Jackson, Smith, D Thompson, Aimson, Farrugia, Bunce (Ross, 55), Morris, Simpson (Webber, 85), Grange, Bradley.