By Connor Steel
FAREHAM TOWN fell to another league defeat as top-of-the-table Horndean got their revenge on the Creeksiders for a 5-1 victory in late 2021, beating the hosts two-nil in front of a large crowd at Cams Alders. Despite a professional display from Pete Stiles’ men and plenty of good opportunities, Connor Duffin showed his opposite strikers how to finish with a clinical double to seal the 3 points.
Horndean started the better on a dry and chilly evening as Duffin pounced on a loose ball within the area, seeing his low snapshot brilliantly stopped by home goalkeeper Jay Morris at his near post. On the next attack Zack Willett was allowed to cut inside but saw his curling effort skim the crossbar and Harry Jackson’s drilled cross into the penalty area was cleared away to safety in the fifteenth minute.
The visitors took the lead on 18 minutes as Jackson and Willett linked up down the left wide, with a fine cross finding Duffin who slide home a low effort past Morris into the corner; sparking scenes of relief amongst the away contingent. In response Fareham saw their opening opportunity as Stuart Morgan was able to find Gary Austin whose shot was blocked at source by an away defender’s legs.
The Creeksiders created another chance on 25 minutes as they won the ball and broke forward with a shot by Ryan Mackney saved brilliantly by Horndean keeper Cameron Scott via a deflection. Austin then saw an effort gathered by the away shotstopper after a throw-in from Ethan Jones caused huge problems in the penalty area, whilst Curt Robbins fired over the bar under pressure from Rob Taw.
Horndean captain Ash Howes then went close with an angled effort, whilst Fareham saw dangerous winger Charlie Cooper find space and play a great cross to Austin in the area; the striker’s scissoring overhead effort looping into the gloves of Scott. The Creeksiders were then dealt another blow with an injury to Cooper seeing an enforced change of Casey Bartlett Scott in the last action of the 1st half.
Fareham started the better in the second period, seeing Austin and Jones going close in a matter of minutes, but were ultimately luckless with their finishing touch. The game then seemed to settle into a midfield battle that neither side wanted to lose, both teams working hard and denying any chances to the opposition; although Duffin saw an ambitious shot fly harmlessly over in the sixty-first minute.
Substitutes for both sides continued this pattern as Josh Benfield replaced Austin for the hosts, a big change that nearly made an immediate impact when the striker broke free and placed his low effort inches wide of the post. Down the other end Jackson managed to collect a long ball forward catching the home defence in two minds, but similarly to Benfield fired wide under pressure from the keeper.
And after Fareham went close again through Morgan as the midfielder flicked the side netting with a low angled shot, Horndean dealt a hammer blow as they won a soft free kick thirty yards out. Duffin took the set piece and fired a low skidding shot on the ground, beating the home goalkeeper’s diving efforts to nestle into the bottom left corner to give the visiting side a two-nil lead in the 75th minute.
This second goal killed any momentum of the Creeksiders as the match drifted towards its ending as Horndean’s defence stood firm to protect a clean sheet, although Benfield saw a header over the bar from a corner on the 83rd minute. Frustrations then rose high as Morgan was sent to the sin-bin after dissent, whilst Jackson was further shown a red card for two yellows in the last actions of the match.
Following Hamworthy’s draw versus Amesbury Town, Horndean have extended their lead at the top of the Wessex League to two points, whilst Fareham remain in eleventh place with twelve games to play this season. Their next match will see them play AFC Stoneham at Cams Alders, hoping to get 3 points to avenge their six-one defeat virus their Eastleigh based opponents earlier in the campaign.
PICTURED BY FAREHAM TOWN MEDIA: Cam Alders was the scene of a Horndean revenge mission as they beat the Creeksiders 2-0 on Tuesday night, following five-one defeat in late 2021.