Bashley kicked off without their injured top scorer, Kabba Jack, and then lost both striker Clive Makoni and defender Lewis Aimson to injury within the first 39 minutes. A misfortune from which they never fully recovered.
The odds were against the visitors from the very start when Portchester netted in the 3rd minute. A poorly defended corner was gratefully received by the unmarked Nathan Kirby whose close-range header gave Bash keeper, Joe Prodomo, little chance.
Bashley were stung into action and a free kick taken by Jesse Gould rattled the side-net. Gould was in action again in the 17th minute when his sharp cross from the right was chested into the net by the on-rushing Makoni. This heralded a purple period for the Bash with a shot from Makoni being held by Cameron Scott in the Portchester goal and a header from Tony Rolls being cleared off the line.
This period of Bash pressure came to an end soon after when the unfortunate Makoni was helped from the field to be replaced by Taylor Leonard. As this was not a straight like-for-like substitution, the Bash formation was reorganised with Taylor taking a left midfield role.
Whilst the visitors settled, the home side took control and an all-out assault on the Bash goal was thwarted by three excellent saves by Prodomo within a five-minute period.
Just as Bashley were adjusting to their positional changes, Aimson went down injured to be replaced by Lewis Brailey and, as before, Portchester took advantage of this by turning up the pressure; this time with success with Miles Everett scoring from close range as the half ended.
The Royals took charge after the break but despite being on the back foot the Bashley defence stood firm with Prodomo once again the final barrier.
Things looked more promising once Hugh Dathan took an advanced position but Bash lacked firepower in the box. Shane Sheridan was replaced by Connor Hoare whose first action was to be helped off after taking a ball hard in the face.
Luckily he was fit to continue after treatment. A rare chance in the 79th minute saw Leonard connecting with a well-weighted Dathan cross only for his shot to slide past the post. In the closing minutes Bashley fought hard for an equalizer but failed to convert this energy into goal chances.
7th November 2016 - Mike Cranidge
Article reproduced by kind permission of South Coast Journalism