BASHLEY’S move to Fawcett’s Field has moved a step closer with the news that New Milton Town have resigned from the Wessex League.

Linnets gave notice to quit just before the March 31 deadline – but the club confirmed they also still have the option to rejoin without financial penalty should the move not go ahead.

The New Forest outfits have been negotiating about a renamed Bashley moving into New Milton’s current home to play in the Southern Premier from next season.

Bash are awaiting Football Association approval to change their name to Bashley & New Milton, different to the original proposal Bashley New Milton, as well as planning permission to make necessary ground improvements to Fawcett’s Field.

Confirming New Milton’s decision to leave the Wessex, chairman John Breaker told the Daily Echo: “The FA have been very helpful in understanding the situation.

“They say they need more information before the move itself is approved but their help with the Wessex League means we can, hopefully, move things along now.”

Bash chairman Richard Millbery added: “Our discussions with the FA are ongoing but they are moving along in a constructive way to push this move towards fruition. We have no particular timeframe at this stage but we are getting very positive feedback.”

Meanwhile, Bash and Linnets endured differing fortunes on the field in today’s matches.

Bash took a major stride towards Southern Premier safety as Ian Richardson’s late goal sealed a 1-0 home win over Weymouth.

The victory handed Bash an 11-point cushion over the relegation places.

However, Milton were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in their Wessex Premier basement battle against neighbours Lymington Town. Ben Thomson got the Linnets goal as both teams finished with 10 men after Tom Donaldson and Ben Rizzo were sent off in separate incidents.

Bash: Moore, Case, Oliver, Strickland, Middleton, Richardson, Casey, Gradwell, Stokoe, Gamble, Knight (Moth, 53). Unused subs: Hill, Cooper, Gazzard, Kearn (g/k).

Linnets: Hookway, Blackburn, Booker, Barge, Rose, De’ath, Egerton, Norian, Holloway, Donaldson, Thomson.