FAREHAM TOWN FC won their first game of the season and clinched the 200th home win of their Wessex League history in a thrashing at Cams Alders on Saturday, beating Southampton-based Hyde & Dibden (H&D) by seven goals and recording a first league clean sheet.
It was a brilliant all-round brilliant from the Creeksiders, who could have won by more in warm Bank Holiday weather on the South Coast.
With a slightly changed line-up from their FA Cup defeat to Alresford last weekend, Fareham started well and should have been 1-0 up in the first minute. Neat passing split the visiting defence in two and eventually saw the ball reach striker Dan Bennett. But the youngster missed the target from three yards via a deflection off Jamie Kaffo for a corner.
Kai Sterne and Charlie Cooper continued to look dangerous for Fareham as they dominated the opening 10 minutes, with the striker narrowly missing the far post from 15 yards after being put through on goal. Moments later Josh Benfield hit the side-netting with a flick header following a Cooper free-kick, but all the early pressure finally got rewarded on 18 minutes when the Creeksiders took the lead.
After a ball was cleared to safety, the resulting throw-in was launched into the penalty area by Ethan Jones. The delivery was accurate and missed a crowd of players in a defensive mix-up, thus allowing Benfield to head home into the bottom corner. It was 2-0 minutes later as Ashley Tattersall floated a forward pass that looked to be cleared away with a header, which landed at the feet of Benfield again and he smashed home via a cracker into the top corner on 24 minutes.
It should have been 3-0 to the Creeksiders on 34 minutes when Sterne forced a great save from H&D goalkeeper Connor Manderson down low, before Ryan Mackney fired over from close range. Down the other end ex-Fareham player Lawson Bright had the first shot for the visitors whilst Dylan Edwards fired wide when well placed down the right. But it was Fareham’s half and they deservedly led 2-0 at the break, with fans predicting more goals in the second 45 minutes.
This theory was proved correct when the Creeksiders tripled their advantage on 48 minutes as a long ball found Bennett through on goal. This time the striker made no mistake by advancing towards goal un-tackled, before calmly scoring to the keepers left into the corner. It was 4-0 seven minutes later as pressure on H&D left-back Kwadwo Frempong Manso forced a corner, which was floated via the right side. The delivery was perfect and found Archie Wilcox unmarked to head home, marking an immediate impact after his Portchester exit earlier this month.
By the hour mark this match was effectively over as a contest, meaning that fresh legs were brought onto the pitch as neither side risked injuries or suspensions for future league games. This stop-start passage of play lasted around 10 minutes before springing back into life. Curt Robbins fired over from a cut-back to the edge of the box, whilst Fred Goldring’s effort from a H&D free kick went close in the visitors’ best chance of the whole 90 minutes.
On 71 minutes Ash Tattersall fired over a free kick from 25 yards, but this missed chance did not stop the Creeksiders from adding number five with 18 left to play. Sterne was tackled with the ball falling to Cooper, whose effort swirled in the wind and wrongfooted the keeper as it flew into the net to seal a ‘five star’ display. But Town were not able to settle for five goals as Cooper and substitute Yemi Olabamiji went close, before Mackney smashed the crossbar on 87 minutes.
As the game hit the 90-minute mark Fareham knocked their visitors for six. Academy player Ben Rowthorn won the ball 23 yards out and spun his marker to create space. With all the time in his favour he shot towards goal and the effort hit the net via the woodwork. Sixty seconds later the Creeksiders reached seventh heaven as Ashley Tattersall advanced forwards and sent a low driven shot into the bottom right corner, completing the scoring as the referee ended H&D’s misery shortly afterwards.
The two sides will clash yet again next Saturday (September 4) as teams look to take advantage of a free weekend due to FA Cup ties, with the game at Clayhills kicking off at 3pm. The Creeksiders then play against Hamble Club and Christchurch away from home in the second week of September, before three home games conclude the month. For now Fareham sit in mid-table of the Wessex League with five points and a positive goal difference, which fans and staff will hope to build upon after an unstable opening to the season.