By Connor Steel
FAREHAM TOWN maintained their recent resurgence and completed a second successive league victory as they hosted mid-table outfit Christchurch, beating their opponents four-nil with a good performance in front of over two hundred supporters at Cams Alders. And the result didn’t flatter the Creeksiders as they displayed a masterpiece of football with Jack Breed playing a key part; the midfielder scoring twice and assisting another for Graham Rix’s side as they warmed up for a hectic fortnight in style following last week’s big win at Hythe.
The Creeksiders started quicker despite swirling gusts and took the lead after three minutes as Christchurch goalkeeper Harry Dillon misplaced his clearance that fell kindly to Charlie Cooper; the winger’s ball reaching Josh Benfield via a touch from Breed and the striker stroked his effort inside the corner from a tight angle. In response the visitors nearly earned an immediate response when Connor Jevons was threaded through and missed his chance in the area; home keeper Luke Deacon further stopping a diving header after 13 minutes.
Josh Benfield and Tom Settle saw quickfire efforts taken away from danger by the winds before Curt Robbins forced a brilliant save from Dillion at a set-piece on twenty-four minutes as Fareham looked to quickly double the lead. But despite this succession of chances they seemed to take their foot off the pedal and this allowed Christchurch to gain some control in the midfield for a brief period; earning a number of corners that came to nothing except for a floating header from defender Callum Horton that skidded out to safety after 34 minutes.
Down the other end Fareham soon restored their early possession and saw Benfield go closer from Robbins’ free kick to be denied by Dillon; the Christchurch keeper furthermore denying a low effort from Jack Nicholas just eight minutes before half time. But the Creeksiders were not rueing the missed opportunities as they did double their advantages in first half stoppage time through Breed; who ran onto an incisive build-up passage between Robbins and Benfield to fire home past Dillion to make it two nil to the home side after 45+ minutes.
This second goal allowed nerves to settle upon the second half restart with Fareham now in complete control of proceedings; Ethan Jones smashing the crossbar as his floated cross caught the wind before a goalmouth scramble was ended by a block from away centre back Rafael Santos. Nicholas then dragged a shot into the side netting under pressure by the defender on 53 minutes before another effort from Breed was tipped away from Dillon flinging to his left side to perform this breath-taking stop and gain huge applause from home fans.
Perseverance did pay off for the Creeksiders after fifty-nine minutes when they added their superb killer third goal courtesy of Breed following neat possession around the box; Cooper breaking forward at pace and then finding the midfielder to side-foot a stunner inside the opposite corner for three-nil. This led to mass changes from the Fareham boss as three substitutions occurred to award youngsters including Jake Wright and Mark Smith valuable minutes, alongside ensuring that players were partially rested for their match versus Gosport.
Combined with similar changes from the visitors and the scoreline, proceedings seemed to drift towards their foregone conclusion before Fareham added the fourth goal on eighty-seven minutes; Wright running forward inside the area and being tripped by a trailing leg for a spot-kick. Up stepped Jones who made no mistake in slotting home past Dillon to conclude the goal-scoring despite a final opportunity for Smith in added time; the visitors hitting the crossbar in response through a flicked header as Fareham gained a deserved clean sheet.
This latest three points and improved goal difference mean Fareham moved to tenth in the current standings following results on Saturday; arguably harbouring hopes of a top half finish given recent form and games in hand. But Graham Rix’s team must now turn their attention to a massive Portsmouth Senior Cup derby clash against Gosport Borough on Tuesday evening (7:45pm); hundreds of supporters expected to attend this rare competitive encounter between two outfits with a feisty rivalry at the last eight stage of this local competition.
PICTURED BY FAREHAM TOWN FC: Home attacker lunges at the back stick and diverts the ball home into the corner for one of four goals for Creeksiders on Saturday afternoon; helping them leap to tenth in league.