By Connor Steel
FAREHAM TOWN crashed out of the FA Cup at its preliminary round stage as they lost their Wessex League Premier derby on Saturday afternoon, losing two-nil to Blackfield & Langley at Gang Warily in Graham Rix’s first game as manager. In dry but breezy conditions in Southampton the hosts produced a sucker blow with two goals in the first period, a score-line that the Creeksiders were unable to overcome despite multiple clear opportunities and an early second half goal as they exited England’s famous football knockout competition.
The Creeksiders had injuries and work commitments affecting their team selection with Blackfield attempting to make a quick start with wind going in their directions, playing long balls into the channel. This tactic almost paid dividends on nine minutes when Jamie Johnson released Marcelo Rossi in space down the left with the attacker firing over the bar, which was soon followed by former Sholing player Alex Sawyer shooting straight at Fareham goalkeeper Luke Deacon and Charlie Rattley dragging his ambitious shot wide from an angle.
After weathering early pressure Fareham saw their first chance in the 19th minute as Josh Benfield was well released down the right wing but could only fire straight at the home goalkeeper Connor Maseko at his near post, whilst Dan Bennett drove wide on the right after cutting inside the left. Yellow cards were also shown to Fareham duo Arthur Kerton and Charlie Cooper for 2 petty challenges by the referee before another chance for Blackfield saw Harry Edmondson’s low effort blocked at source by his sliding marker on the 31st minute.
Blackfield took the lead on 36 minutes after Callum Benfield had a great effort brilliantly saved by Maseko, a long ball down the flanks caught out the away defence with Clayd Roach taking full advantage as he evaded Jacob Woods before playing a deep cross onto the head of Sawyer who made no mistake. And it was 2-0 in the forty-first minute as another pass found Roach through on goal in the last big action before half time, the striker making no mistake in slamming home under the outrushing Deacon low inside the bottom left corner.
The hosts almost trebled this advantage on 51 minutes as Roach linked up with Edmondson in space from an angle, his shot missing the target with Ashley Tattersall preparing to put his frame in the way. Down the other end a spell of possession saw the Creeksiders reduce the arrears just before the 60 minute mark when Cooper broke free down the right, advancing towards the by-line and crossing kindly into the path of Callum Benfield to head home. A spell of pushing and shoving in the aftermath saw four players shown yellow cards.
Further changes came for Fareham as Tom Settle fired over a curling free kick and Keiron Clark flicked wide of the far post, whilst Roach and Edmondson went close to adding a potential killer goal in quick succession. Cooper then created a brilliant chance as he beat his marker with an one-two passing move but dragged his shot wide via a slight deflection; injury related stoppages and a spate of substitutions across both sides sadly disrupting any momentum being built up by the visitors who now had some strong gusts now in their favour.
Marvin Rodgers replaced Settle in an attacking tweak and this nearly made an impact as he fired straight at the Blackfield goalkeeper Maseko, the shot-stopper furthermore saving a shot from Josh Benfield at his near post. In truth though the Creeksiders ran out of creative steam as the hosts stood firmly against multiple late crosses and indeed set-pieces into the box, a last big chance for Fareham coming in the 93rd minute when Gary Austin linked up with Rodgers to flash wide of an advancing attack in the final action of the encounter.
Blackfield progress to the 1st qualifying round stage of the FA Cup for a second successive campaign, with the team set to find out their opponents on Monday lunchtime before hosting Fleetlands during midweek in the Hampshire Senior Cup. For Fareham they host Alton on Tuesday evening before another home match versus Romsey next weekend at Cams Alders, hoping to progress into the next round of the FA Vase. The Creeksiders’ next league game is scheduled to take place on September 3 after three weeks of cup action.
PICTURED BY FAREHAM TOWN FC: Players challenge for corner into the box on sunny but often breezy afternoon at Gang Warily, where Blackfield & Langley knocked the Creeksiders out of the popular FA Cup.