By Connor Steel
FAREHAM TOWN finally ended their winless run in the Wessex League Premier on Tuesday evening, recording their first three points since January as they destroyed Cowes Sports 7-0 in a one-sided affair at Cams Alders. It was a hugely impressive display from the out-of-form Creeksiders, who not only kept a clean sheet against good opposition but hit the century landmark of goals scored this season; Archie Wilcox scoring a hat-trick of headers against the Yachtsmen on a chilly but dry night.
Proceedings started in a cagey fashion with the early kick-off time of 7:30pm with Fareham scoring from the first notable attack on ten minutes; Charlie Cooper beating his man for pace down the left and playing a fine cross into the feet of Josh Benfield to convert past Cowes goalkeeper Ed Hatt at his near post. In response the visitors had their first chance as Jimmy Mumford dragged wide from a tight angle with an unlucky shot on 13 minutes, John McKie’s shot also drifting over 60 seconds later.
Fareham doubled their lead on sixteen minutes as Casey Bartlett-Scott was set away down the right and his looping cross into the penalty area was narrowly missed by Stuart Morgan, only for Wilcox to power home his header past Hatt at the far post. This second goal started a quiet spell for both sides with the Creeksiders dominated; efforts from Cooper and Morgan going close for the hosts whilst an ambitious effort from Cowes midfielder Scott McFarlane drifted harmlessly over on thirty minutes.
Wilcox turned from scorer to provider on 36 minutes as Fareham made it three-nil, gliding into space on the edge of the box and finding Morgan with his cut-back; the midfielder winning his battle with a sliding defender and goalkeeper with the ball trickling over the goalline. Further opportunities came in the form of Benfield for Fareham as his shot was blocked by Hatt’s legs, whilst right back Harrison Dempsey fired wide from a tight angle in stoppage time with the referee blowing for the break seconds later.
Although Cowes started the better upon the restart with an angled shot going wide from McKie, it was four-nil to Fareham on fifty minutes when they won a free-kick in a dangerous position on the left side; Bartlett-Scott’s delivery finding Wilcox who made no mistake with a header past Hatt. And the midfielder confirmed a hat-trick of headers two minutes later as he nodded home an inswinging corner past a defender on the line; thus making it 5-0 and killing the game off as a meaningful contest.
The Creeksiders weren’t content with scoring five goals and added a sixth just before the hour; Josh Benfield finding Gary Moody who fluffed his first shot before converting his second effort with calm composure into the bottom corner. Down the other end Cowes created their best chance as the left winger broke forward down the wing and saw his low drive parried by the home goalkeeper Henry Woodcock before being cleared away as the ball rolled towards the net just before the sixty minute mark.
Substitutions with the game already won signalled a lengthy lull in proceedings that only really came back to life in the final ten minutes, Gary Austin hoping to score his 100th Fareham goal with at least two half chances that didn’t test Hatt in the away goal. But the hosts did add a seventh in their final foray forward as Bartlett-Scott found Benfield in space with a looping cross, the attacker nodding the ball home without pressure past a stranded keeper before the referee ended the visitor’s long misery.
Following this huge win the Creeksiders have risen to thirteenth in the table on goal difference with Blackfield & Langley; two games remaining for Pete Stiles this campaign with the highest realistic position being twelve over Alresford Town. They will host bottom side Amesbury Town on Saturday afternoon at Cams Alders for their final home game of the campaign, before travelling to top-of-the-table Hamworthy United on the last day over the Easter weekend hoping to pop the Dorset promotion party on their artificial surface.
PICTURED BY FAREHAM TOWN MEDIA: Man-of-the-match Archie Wilcox receives his award from the night’s sponsors on Tuesday evening after scoring three goals and adding an assist to his performance.