FAREHAM TOWN FC lost their second game in a row and continued some shaky form of late on Tuesday evening as they visited Gang Warily, falling to a narrow 2-1 defeat versus Blackfield & Langley FC in Southampton with a depleted side due to injuries and suspensions.
But in truth the hosts should have won by more; the Creeksiders were hugely disappointing in defeat, with a 10-day gap since their 6-1 defeat to Stoneham and refreshed legs in dry conditions.
In front of just 115 supporters the first 15 minutes were fairly equal without any noteworthy chances for either side, Blackfield trying to pump long balls forward and Fareham attempting to play down the middle not breaching the others’ defences. This was a pattern that continued until the 19th minute when the ball went out for a throw-in down the right, which was taken by Ethan Jones. The ball evaded a covering defender and landed at the feet of Gary Austin, who cleverly lobbed the Blackfield keeper Amadeusz Skexywaez into the bottom corner arguably against the run of play.
Falling behind seemed to spark the home side into life as they launched their response, Fareham goalkeeper Dan Kempson making a smart low save to stop Don Panesar-Dower from scoring on 26 minutes. From the resulting corner, Jack Barton’s looping header was caught easily by the shot-stopper with the goal gaping from a free header, before Luke Gray fired over the bar from range just before the half hour mark. On 35 minutes a sloppy Town pass saw Rafa Ramos go close as the hosts should have equalised, their dominance quickly rewarded with two goals before the break.
Good work down the right saw Wayne Robinson float an excellent looping cross into the corridor of uncertainty, which the Fareham goalkeeper could only get one hand to in order to parry away. Sadly the ball fell to Ali Zintany who made no mistake in firing home a low effort into the bottom corner to equalise on 39 minutes. No sooner had the match restarted, Blackfield & Langley were back on attack mode with a long ball causing a goalmouth scramble as Fareham struggled to clear. Up popped the alert Zintany who toe-poked a shot through the legs of Kempson, giving the hosts a 2-1 lead when the referee blew for half time shortly afterwards.
Fareham started well after the interval with Ethan Jones’ throw-ins arguably their biggest weapon, Dan Bennett the target as he headed one into the hands of the Blackfield keeper. Luke Slade and Curt Robbins also went close, but the visiting attackers were often left isolated by a lack of service with the hour mark reached without any further chances for either side. Town boss Pete Stiles made a series of changes to refresh key areas with Simon Woods replacing Ryan Mackney on 63 minutes, which did have a slight impact with better Fareham play as Austin set up Kai Sterne who fired wide, under pressure, from an angle.
In truth though Blackfield & Langley were in full control despite the Fareham chances, the visiting keeper having to make saves from Don Panesar-Dower and Rafa Ramos in quick succession. On 72 minutes Zintany nearly sealed a hat trick after beating two defenders, but his shot flew harmlessly over the crossbar from range when well placed before substitutes signalled a lull in play with 15 minutes left and the game already won. Debutant Ed Halliwell showed some glimpses of exciting play down the wing and saw his pace push Fareham back into defence, with his shot forcing a smart low save by Kempson between the sticks.
In the final 10 minutes Fareham started to push forward to get an arguably undeserved equaliser, with a series of corners that ultimately came to nothing. Substitute Bailey Newbury and Woods then went close with half opportunities before Robinson fired wide as the hosts looked to put the match to bed down the other end. In one last attack on 89 minutes home defender Harvey-Joe Bertrand was knocked out blocking a shot with his forehead, needing prolonged treatment that resulted with the player back on his feet, Blackfield & Langley taking the sting out of play in additional time with some calm passing before referee Andrew Batten blew his whistle to confirm a second straight defeat for Fareham.
Following three straight away matches Fareham will return to Cams Alders on Saturday afternoon, which will see the Creeksiders host Bournemouth Poppies in the Wessex Premier League. Horndean will then visit Town next Tuesday afternoon in a regional cup competition, before a huge FA Vase 1st Round Proper tie versus Jersey Bulls on October 23. This game next weekend will be a 2pm kick off at Cams due to the long journey from the visitors, who will be coming from the Channel Islands for the game. For Blackfield & Langley they will be playing top-of-the-table side Brockenhurst this weekend hoping to build on this win and move up from their mid-table position with games in hand.