FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round Preview: Bashley v Moneyfields
Tabloid newspaper sub-editors would have a field day with this one: on Saturday Bashley host Moneyfields in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round, with a brown envelope stuffed with 300 tenners being posted to the winners. At least, that’s the method I like to imagine The FA likes to pay its prize money.
Wessex Premier side Moneyfields will be hopeful of causing an upset against a side from two leagues above, having already progressed through two rounds to reach this stage, and, according to Bashley’s website, Moneyfields have only lost once in the league all season. I can’t find Moneyfields’ latest results on the club’s impossible to navigate site, or on the Wessex League’s site, which is a shame. The only insight I can offer is that they beat Hayling United 3-1 in March.
New Forest side Bashley started the season with a promising 0-0 draw away to Biggleswade Town, while Tim Sills’ late header secured a share of the spoils at home to Truro City three days later. The signs looked good for new management duo Paul Gazzard and Stewart Kearn, but the village side has struggled to push on from there and has yet to register a victory this term.
Bashley almost merged with neighbours New Milton Town over the summer; a rejuvenated club emerged from the wreckage after the proposed deal collapsed. New ideas and a positive attitude have brought great hope to the club’s supporters that it can make a good fist of it this season. Gazzard and Kearn played their hearts out for the club over the last couple of decades and have worked hard to bring in the likes of Sills, who was a dependable scorer at Aldershot Town and Torquay United and was relocating to the area.
This club has cup pedigree: back in 1994 Swansea City came to town in the Second Round proper, escaping with a 1-0 win after Bash hit the woodwork late on. The cash and morale boost a decent cup run can bring is just what the Bashley side needs to really kick-start the new regime. The club’s PR department has gone all-out ahead of the clash, with an amusing poster appearing on the Bashley FC News Facebook page.
But with the lower-ranking Moneyfields looking at the form book and licking their lips, it will be far from plain sailing for the hosts. An intriguing cup tie awaits.