By Connor Steel
FAREHAM TOWN FC recovered from their humbling defeat against Bournemouth Poppies as they hosted a struggling Alresford Town side on Tuesday evening, winning five-two in a brilliant display of football under the floodlights at Cams Alders. In dry conditions it took a clinical exhibition of calm 2nd half finishing to ensure all three points for the hosts who were frustrated throughout the first half against stubborn opposition, four goals across just thirty minutes of football ending away resistance watched on by a respectable crowd of 200 fans.
The hosts started on the front foot with some good possession and a few corners but proved sadly unable to fully endanger the away goal until the ninth minute, Dan Bennett looking to take full advantage of a defensive clearance but fouled a home defender and seeing yellow for his over-the-top efforts. Otherwise it was a fairly even start to the opening fifteen minutes of the evening as both sides struggled to create and took a while to settle down into any momentum; leading to a midfield battle that neither wanted to lose in these early stages.
That was until the 23rd minute as Alresford were reduced to ten men as goalkeeper Calum Smart came out of his area chasing a through ball, only to handball under pressure with a straight red shown by the referee and the free kick wasted by Fareham. But this disadvantage didn’t seem to stop the visitors as they stunned Cams with the opening goal; which came from nothing as Liam Campbell’s cross seemed to float into the top corner after fooling everybody inside the area past home goalkeeper Luke Deacon who was left scrambling.
Home fans must have been fearing a repeat of Saturday but to their credit Fareham responded brilliantly to falling behind; equalising on thirty five minutes following a good passage of play. A strong throw from Ashley Tattersall found Ethan Jones whose floated cross found Stuart Morgan at the back post; his powerful header hitting the crossbar and bouncing over the line. There were also chances to make it 2-1 before the interval as Calum Benfield drove wide and Morris Dench flashed a cross over the crossbar; the scores level at half time.
Graham Rix replaced midfielder Arthur Kerton with Ethan Fox upon the restart and the slight tweaks seemed to push Fareham forward to take the lead on fifty-three minutes; Casey Bartlett-Scott’s deep cross finding the substitute who made little mistake in slotting home the second goal past the stand-in goalkeeper at his post. Opportunities then came for Alresford as they saw Nick Yeoman’s shot saved sharply by Deacon diving low alongside a number of counters, but the Creeksiders cleared away this spell of possession on the hour mark.
Charlie Cooper was denied by the goalkeeper on 63 minutes before a slight lull due to minor stoppages and substitutions, Fareham bringing the game back into life with their third goal inside the seventy-third minute as sloppy play fell to Bartlett-Scott. He stole the ball and sprinted down the right side before placing a cross into Morgan, who doubled his tally with a fine header inside the bottom corner. But from kick off Alresford hit back as James Parker-Trott ran through and reduced their arrears at three-two with a tidy finish from twenty yards.
There was however no comeback from the visitors as Fareham made it 4-2 in the 80th minute, Fox creating just enough space to thread a pass into Mark Smith and the debutant attacker calmly dinked over the keeper inside the corner to kill the game off. And the 5th goal for the Creeksiders soon followed as Bennett collected a loose pass an found Jack Breed via a path from Jones; the experienced international midfielder turning his marker before firing home into the corner after 83 minutes in the game’s final notable action before the end.
A comfortable victory and other results mean the Creeksiders rise to 6th place in the newly updated Wessex Premier after six games, winning four and losing the other two before they host Laverstock & Ford at Cams Alders on October 1. But their attentions should now turn to 2 cup matches across the next week as they will travel to Bradford Town (Somerset) in the FA Vase on Saturday afternoon (24/09) before returning to United Services Portsmouth on Tuesday in the Wessex League Cup; having beaten them three-nil early this month.
PICTURED BY FAREHAM TOWN FC: Attacking player heads towards goal for Fareham in crucial midweek win over Alresford Town on Tuesday, lifting them up to sixth in the early Wessex League Premier standings.