By Connor Steel
SHAFTESBURY FC extended their winning run in the Wessex Premier Division to five games with a ‘highly impressive’ victory over Fareham Town on Saturday; beating the Creeksiders six-one with a dominant display at Coppice Street as the visitors continued their struggles on artificial pitch surfaces and fell to their second successive defeat in the league.
But Fareham started brighter and created the first chance under glorious skies as Curt Robbins saw his drive deflected for a corner; Sam Woodward narrowly missing a ball from Ethan Jones on eleven minutes. In response the hosts broke at pace with Brett Pitman looking dangerous and he opened this deadlock after 15 minutes; firing home a neat delivery.
The home side used this goal as fresh impetus to attack and should have doubled this early lead on multiple occasions before the half hour; Fareham goalkeeper Jordi Valero denying Greg Peel and Pitman in quick succession. But they did not rue missed opportunities as Pitman netted the second of the afternoon, placing calmly inside the bottom left corner.
Things worsened for the Creeksiders as their hosts added the third goal on thirty-eight minutes; Peel allowed too much space and he made no mistake in nestling past the stranded Valero. And it was four-nil to Shaftesbury at the interval in similar circumstances; Peel intercepting an awful pass in the defence and running through to complete a dominant half.
Fareham attempted to begin the comeback upon the restart with Sam Kessack hitting the post with a bullet header and Robbins dragging wide soon afterwards; Shaftesbury responding with a chance as Peel curled inches past the far post. But the hosts were not to be stopped as they were awarded a penalty which was converted by Pitman to seal a ‘treble’.
Substitutions followed on the hour and made an almost immediate impact for Fareham as they reduced the arrears on sixty-nine minutes; the visitors playing some neat football that was ended with a brilliant shot from Joe Merrett nestling into the net. And it could have been five-two seconds later as Joe Johnson was found through on goal but lobbed over.
Instead it was Shaftesbury who scored the final goal of the afternoon as an outswinging cross was played into the area and looked to be cleared away; the officials giving a penalty for handball despite no home appeals. Up stepped Pitman to score his fourth goal of the game and the final minutes saw little attacking play, other than a neat effort by Joe Ryan.
Other results on Saturday saw Shaftesbury maintain their five point advantage at the summit of the table with Fareham slipping down to twelve place on goal difference at this early stage. Graham Rix’s team will look to bounce back to their winning form next Saturday as they host Laverstock & Ford at Cams Alders before playing two ‘knockout’ cup matches.
PICTURED BY FAREHAM TOWN FC: Away striker brushes the side netting with header as visitors are beaten six-one.