Ground Number: 798
Saturday 22nd September 2018
Bashley 1-2 Fareham Town
BASHLEY FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was established in 1947 and joined the Bournemouth League three years later. They'd remain here until 1983 when they joined the Hampshire League. Starting in Division 3 they would win promotion in their second season after winning the league. A single season was spent in Division 2 before Bashley became founder members of the Wessex League in 1986. They were hugely successful here, winning the title three seasons in a row. They made the step up to the Southern League in 1989, starting out in the second tier Southern Division. A fourth successive league win saw them promoted to the Southern Premier. The 1991/92 season would see Bashley finish as high as 4th in what at the time was a step 2 league. Success didn't hang around for long though and the 1994 season saw them finish second-bottom and suffer relegation. Thirteen seasons were spent around various current step 4 leagues before they won promotion in 2007 as champions of the Southern League Division 1 South & West. An excellent 5th place finish was enjoyed in 2008 but gradually results slipped away. 2013/14 saw them win just 4 games all season and suffer relegation back to the Division 1 South & West. The next two seasons were even worse as they won just one league game across this period - the sole victory coming on Saturday, September 20th 2014 when they surprisingly won 2-0 at promotion-chasing Taunton Town. The inevitable relegation back to the Wessex League came in 2016 and since then they have finished 14th in both seasons. The club has enjoyed an excellent start to the season and sit 3rd in the table at the time of my visit.
Bashley's best ever FA Cup run came during the 1994/95 season. Havant Town, Hungerford Town, Dorchester Town, Cheltenham Town & Chesham United were beaten before a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Swansea City in the 2nd Round. The 2001/02 season saw a great run in the FA Trophy as Oxford City, Burnham & Bognor Regis Town before a narrow 1-0 defeat at Conference side Stevenage Borough in the 4th Round. The FA Vase semi-final was reached in 1988 as Bashley beat Newbury Town, AFC Totton, Havant Town, Dorking, Vale Recreation, Hounslow & Chertsey Town before a defeat over two legs to Emley. The first leg of that game saw the club attract their record crowd of 3,500. Local cup wins include the Russell Cotes Cup on three occasions.
With me choosing to do Lymington Town's 12.30 clash with Torquay United, I needed a 3PM kick off game to double it up with. As is often the case in these occasions, the Groundhopper app was my friend and out of the options that it threw up, I opted for Bashley v Fareham Town after discussing it with fellow hopper Anwar. I'd already been to the ground in 2007 whilst passing through the area, so I knew the ground was a decent one. It was also a ground with very little around it by way of pre-match food and drink. Usually, that would be a big drawback, but the short amount of time between the two games would make it ideal.
We left our previous game at Lymington at 2.30 and after a 15-minute drive parked up in the cricket club opposite Bashley's ground. It had been raining most of the day and there was still some drizzle in the air. Entry was £7 and included a ticket so I decided against buying a programme as I'm rapidly running out of space to store them. I was pretty peckish by now, so headed to the bar to see if I could get something to eat. I was pleased when I saw they were selling homemade pies from a local maker from Pokesdown, less than 10 miles away. I opted for a Forest Game Pie, which was filling and well priced at £3.50. It was also very tasty although the option of gravy like you get up north would have made it better. I later had a mug of Bovril, also good value at £1. The pies quickly sold out, so it proves that if a club has the nous to put something decent on, then they will do well for themselves out of it.
Both sides had brought a decent vocal support. One Bashley fan especially was very enthusiastic and had a decent repertoire of songs. Bashley had probably edged the game, but both teams had chances before the opening goal came on 35 minutes. A good through ball found Scott Hamilton who rounded Bashley keeper Jason Collins before slotting into the empty net. A couple of minutes later, the lead was doubled when Collins could only parry a powerful long-range shot and Hamilton reacted quickest to slot home the loose ball. The second half saw Fareham have to do a bit of defending and try to add to their tally as well. Bashley reduced the arrears on 68 minutes when a loose ball was bundled home by Nathan Clements. A great team move presented Scott Hamilton with the chance to complete his hat trick and seal the game for the visitors but his effort thumped against the bar. At some points during the game, the rain was torrential and the players did a good job to put on a decent spectacle.
We initially left in a disappointed mood. Wycombe had gone 1-0 up at Portsmouth but had gone on to concede a late goal to go 2-1 down. With the time at 4.55, it looked like we had lost as we nipped into the garden centre next door to see if they had any nice local foods or drinks. They didn't, but we were delighted when Joe Jacobson slotted home an equaliser from the penalty spot in injury time. We tuned the radio to BBC Radio Solent and listened to the post match reports and interviews. Pompey manager Kenny Jackett was very gracious in what must have been considered two points dropped for his side. A brief stop at ASDA in Eastleigh was made to top up with fuel and get a drink before continuing our journey home. The Radio 5 phone in made the journey go quicker and although there was a 10-minute delay on the A34 due to an accident. I dropped Anwar off at 8 and got home myself around 20 minutes later. I caught up on Twitter and YouTube subs as well as sorting some of the photos I'd taken and starting my blog. A few cans were had with the League 1 highlights and Match Of The Day before I went to bed around midnight.
BASHLEY ROAD is a great ground for the level, having seen service as high as the Southern Premier in recent years. The covered accomodation is all on one side with pride of place going to the 250 seater main stand. To the right of this are two metal terraces but extreme rust has seen one of these patched up and the other out of use. To the left, there is an overhang in front of what I assume to be the boardroom. The rest of the ground is open, with a couple of steps of terracing on the far side. It's set in a very nice location with trees surrounding the ground, although I didn't see a great deal around the immediate area. The bar isn't the greatest, there were only casn when I went. The tea bar is good though, with excellent local pies served. They also had an extensive range of merchandise in the club shop, though no old programmes that I could see.