Andrew Bascome returns as BAA leapfrog Boulevard in promotion race
Andrew Bascome made a timely return to the BAA bench on Monday night, coaching his team to a 5-1 victory over Paget in the First Division to reclaim second place in the promotion race.
Bascome, who was sidelined earlier this month with an undisclosed illness, used all his coaching experience to help pull off the victory as Paget made it difficult for their opponents after a goalless first half. Their resistance was finally broken, however, with four goals sent in the last nine minutes securing the three points for BAA.
BAA took the lead in the 51st minute through Tre Burgess, only for Kyhon Smith to make it interesting with an equaliser in the 76th minute.
Burgess scored his second goal of the game in the 81st minute to give BAA the lead for good, before a hat-trick in five minutes by Patrick Quinn flattered the victors.
Quinn netted in the 83rd minute and again in the 86th from the penalty spot before completing his hat-trick in the 88th minute.
Mike McGrath, the BAA president, welcomed Bascome back to the fold while also acknowledging the work done by the rest of the coaching staff in his absence, including assistant coach, Mark Mills.
“It’s great to have Andrew back, the team is working hard and they’ve got a good team of coaches so everybody is trying their best and doing a great job,” McGrath said.
“It was a little bit later when the goals came but they didn’t lose their heads, they just kept going. It was good guidance and good perseverance from the guys.”
BAA, who returned to the league this season after a two-year absence, have surprised many by mounting a serious promotion challenge with a new team, with Bascome, their longtime coach carrying on where he left off.
“We’re very pleased with how the team has bonded so well this season, our first season together as a First Division side,” McGrath said.
“They have excelled above all expectations and it’s going to come down to an exciting end to the season by the looks of it.”
McGrath was referring to the winner-takes-all clash between BAA and Boulevard on April 3. Barring an upset between now and then, that will be a similar scenario to the Premier Division title race that looks like being decided a week later on April 9 when Dandy Town and PHC meet, also at Goose Gosling Field.
“It’s always great to have someone of Andrew’s experience and knowledge as part of the team, so it’s always a plus when he’s about,” McGrath added.
“He was the coach when we got promoted the last time, so he’s obviously got the tricks on how to get BAA into the Premier Division.
”All the other guys stepped up when Andrew wasn’t there. Everybody’s a leader on that team and everyone bonded together from the back room staff to the players.
“It is our first season back in the league and we wanted the players to enjoy themselves and set a foundation. I think they have been enjoying themselves quite a lot by the look of the results.”
BAA are two points ahead of Boulevard but second place could change again tomorrow at Goose Gosling Field (9pm) when Boulevard play their make-up match, albeit a tough one against the unbeaten league leaders Hamilton Parish.
Parish clinched the first promotion spot on Sunday with victory over St David’s and are now looking to seal the league title with a win over Boulevard.
After tomorrow’s match, Boulevard will play Ireland Rangers on Saturday in their penultimate match before the BAA clash, while BAA will play Young Men’s Social Club on Sunday.
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