By Connor Steel
FAREHAM TOWN FC ended their winless streak against Wessex League strugglers Amesbury on Saturday afternoon, beating the Wiltshire-based outfit by eight goals to nil in a crushing win at Bonnymead Park. Goals from Jack Breed, Ethan Jones, Ben Rowthorn, Casey Bartlett-Scott, Declan McCarthy, Josh Benfield, and a double by Gary Austin sealed the huge win for Pete Stiles; whose side have moved up to tenth in the table and improved their goal difference before an action-packed festive period.
Amesbury saw the opening chance of proceedings as their tricky winger Luke Greenway collected a through ball but saw his shot flash past the right side of McCarthy’s away goal. Down the other end Fareham were also looking good in attack, Stuart Morgan feeding Breed who saw his lobbed effort blocked by Harry Woodcock; the Amesbury goalkeeper impressing throughout with brilliant handling and shot-stopping particularly in drizzly conditions that turned out to be persistent across the ninety minutes.
On the quarter hour mark Morgan broke clear from Tom Settle’s long pass and beat his defender as he advanced into the box, hitting the post with his shot from a very tight angle. Shortly afterwards a moment of controversy saw Kai Sterne receive a pass inside the box, seemingly being tripped by the legs of George Plank; the referee waving away the appeals from the away side. But the Creeksiders didn’t let this frustration build as they saw another chance on the half hour mark with Jones firing straight at the keeper.
Fareham took an inevitable lead after 38 minutes following a spell of game management tactics to absorb away pressure, the goal coming in spectacular fashion that could be finish of the season. A deep cross from Settle was only partially cleared and fell kindly into Bartlett-Scott; the right back’s volley from over thirty yards out hitting the net with pace and power. This lead was doubled just 60 seconds later when Jones’ cross was flicked into the path of Breed who made no mistake in placing a header home in the six yard box.
Both sides had chances as the second half began as Greenway fired over from distance whilst Breed’s acrobatic shot drifted wide of the post down the other end. Fareham also saw chances from Settle and Rowthorn before a third eventually arrived on 53 minutes; Jones heading home a training ground corner routine home with a bullet nodded effort. And after Morgan’s shot was blocked away from goal by a defender the fourth goal came just after the hour mark; Rowthorn netting a harsh spot kick on the second attempt following a handball.
Substitutions for either side saw a slight lull with Fareham adapting to the fresher legs quicker as both Breed and Elliott Holmes going close. It was the latter who was key to the fifth goal as his cross hit the arm of the defender and the referee again pointing to the spot; Town goalkeeper McCarthy running 80 yards to smash the penalty into the top corner of the net. Still pouring forward Fareham’s attackers continued to dominate with opportunities from Morgan, Jones and Josh Benfield all going close to a sixth goal.
This ultimately arrived after the away keeper suffered a head injury and had to be substituted with ten minutes left on the clock; Morgan beating three defenders before playing a low cross into the path of Gary Austin who tapped home. It was seven-nil on 85 minutes as Kieran Clark whipped in a fine looping cross that was fired home by Benfield at the back post, whilst Breed saw a great stop by the replacement keeper. But an eighth goal did arrive in stoppage time for the final notable action as Austin collected a long ball and was given time to control, before driving home into the near left post.
Ending their awful run of form was priority for Pete Stiles, who will be delighted with the result and the professional performance throughout the afternoon. They were brilliant in all areas of the pitch in uncomfortable weather conditions and in truth could have scored more against Amesbury, who remain second from bottom with five points so far. For Fareham they return to Cams Alders for their Wessex League Cup quarter final versus lower-league side Downton before hosting Hamworthy next Saturday; whilst their last game of 2021 will see a short trip to Baffins Milton Rovers on December 27.
PICTURED BY FAREHAM TOWN MEDIA: Visitors point the way in crucial finishing at Amesbury Town