OWEN Royl’s sweetly struck half-volley got Sholing back to winning ways in the Sydenhams Premier Division.

The Boatmen’s 1-0 home victory over Bashley lifted them back to third in the table, leapfrogging Hamworthy United who came unstuck 3-1 at AFC Portchester.

The result was a welcome relief for manager Dave Diaper who had branded Sholing's 2-0 midweek defeat at Fareham Town in the Russell Cotes Cup “one of our worst performances of the season.”

Bash had the better of the first half, forcing Sholing 'keeper Ryan Gosney into several saves – the pick of them from Dan Munday’s drive - and Kabba Jack firing over when it had looked easier to score.

The home side had more about them after the break and struck gold on 65 minutes.

Substitute Royl, who had replaced Jack Smith just 12 minutes earlier, latched onto Lee Wort’s pass into the box to gleefully fire in the Boatmen’s first goal of 2018.

The remaining 25 minutes were played mostly in Sholing’s half and they managed to defend their slender lead.

Diaper said: "We came into the match on the back of one of our worst performances of the season at Fareham.

“It’s been a tricky couple of weeks for the club, having also lost at Hamworthy, and our confidence had been knocked.

“With key players missing in both defeats, we welcomed back Byron Mason (from suspension) and Jack Smith (from illness) and we edged the game 1-0.

“I thought the senior players were excellent in the way they led by example and got in the faces of the Bashley players and it was a vast improvement from Tuesday.

"We all know we are still below par and it’s baby steps, but I think I should also mention just how well Bashley played.

“They kept the ball and their movement caused us problems. On another day, with better finishing, they could have put the game to bed before half-time.”

Bashley secretary Mike Cranidge agreed: “If it is possible to have a good loss, then this was it.

"Bashley and their supporters can take heart from a dominating performance against high-sailing Sholing that had everything but a goal.”

Former Fareham midfielder Bradey Norton has left Sholing to spend a year in Australia.

The Boatmen's scheduled Southampton Senior Cup tie against Hamble Club tomorrow evening (Tuesday) has been rained off.

*New joint-boss Mick Catlin celebrated his first victory at the Portchester helm as goals by Steve Ramsey, Jake Morgan and 16-year-old sub Brandon Miller eclipsed Hamworthy (Jamie Beasley) at the Blanchard Wells Stadium.