Creeksiders fly into ‘semi-finals’ with Folland success

By Connor Steel

FAREHAM TOWN clinched their seventh successive success of a hectic thirteen day period as they travelled across to Folland Sports on Monday evening; eventually beating their lower league opponents two-nil with a professional visiting display at the Arrow Arena and guaranteeing a place within the Russell Cotes Cup semi-finals due to be played in May.

The Creeksiders started with intense energy and saw the first chance on four minutes as Connor Underhill lashed over; a shot that was followed by Dan Bennett nodding off target. Down the other end Follands were finding joy down the left side through Fabio Manuel and his pass was met by Sam Austin whose header was calmly caught by the away keeper.

It took seventeen minutes for Fareham to really test the home backline as great pressure left Underhill with the ball; the winger beating a defender and saw his low angled drive cleared off the line for a corner. Sam Woodward then smacked the crossbar after 21 minutes and Charlie Cooper had the same with his rebound; the visitors continuing to get forward.

But Follands tweaked their approach and they prevented any testing opening for the fifteen minutes before the interval; their captain Ryan Long organising the fellow teammates in stubborn formations. And even when the away side did get through the defence they were denied by the keeper Leo Ryan-Webster, who denied Woodward’s curled free kick shot.

Follands saw their next chances upon the restart as Manual tested George Bonney with a crisp effort; the away keeper further making no mistakes to save a header under extreme pressure after fifty-one minutes. This was followed up by a finely worked move for the Creeksiders; Jamie Truckell hitting a neat drive straight at the keeper after a Matt Pates ball.

Substitutions then followed across the teams with Fareham dominating overall possession either side of the hour mark; Pates and Truckell joining up brilliantly again before the latter was ‘stopped’ by the home keeper. Truckell was involved yet again on sixty-eight minutes as he nodded inches over from Woodward’s inch-perfect delivery when better to score.

The deadlock was broken on seventy-eight minutes when Bennett picked up on a loose ball and flicked a cross into the path of unmarked Truckell, who converted at the near post for one-nil. Scrappy defending allowed Graham Rix’s side to double their lead in stoppage time when Breed sliced home from just six yards out to make it two-nil at the final whistle.

Fareham will now play Hamble Club in the semi-final, which is due to be played at Cams Alders on Saturday afternoon (May 4) with a 3pm kick off. The winners will advance to play Gosport or Hythe & Dibden in the finale match with these two teams set to face each other within the next two weeks; depending on Borough’s progress in the league ‘play-offs’.

PICTURED BY FAREHAM TOWN MEDIA: Attacker drops the shoulders and prepares a shot on target during first half.