By Connor Steel
FAREHAM TOWN’S winless run come to a sudden halt with arguably their best result and performance this campaign on Saturday afternoon, beating Wessex League leaders Horndean 5-1 away at Five Heads Park. In freezing winds goals from Stuart Morgan, Gary Austin, Gary Moody, and a double from Jack Breed saw the Creeksiders win their first league win since mid-October versus Bournemouth Poppies at Cams Alders; a dreadful statistic that manager Pete Stiles wasn’t expecting to end this weekend as he missed the match due to illness, but will be delighted at this three points.
With Fareham not facing the wind and on the preferred end of an uneven pitch surface, they made a dream start after four minutes when they took a surprise lead. Possession play found Breed who beat a defender to create space before firing past Cameron Scott from 25 yards out; the effort gaining extra pace and swerve in the stormy condition. Upon the restart the Creeksiders were in real dreamland when they doubled this advantage on 6 minutes on their next attack, Ben Rowthorn wriggling free down the left and floating a cross to the back post to find Moody who headed home.
Play then turned into a cagey midfield battle with Horndean creating their first chance in the tenth minute as Harry Jackson cut in down the right but saw his effort saved by returning Fareham keeper Declan McCarthy. This opportunity was followed up by a shot by Zac Willett drift wide of the far post after a jinxing run, whilst Fareham saw Moody head over a corner and had a penalty appeal turned down by the officials as a shot by Ethan Jones was diverted away by a defender’s hand. Kai Sterne then saw a great chance on the half hour but his effort was cleared off the line after finding space.
Horndean then went close as good build up play released Willett down the wing, but his shot didn’t have another curl to test McCarthy who gathered easily down low. The hosts were further dealt an injury blow as Jack Lee was replaced with Liam Kimber, who almost made an immediate impact as a corner reached his feet but he fired over. But the home side did get rewarded in first half stoppages as they won a free kick following a strong foul by the booked Gary Austin; the delivery only partially cleared away and Willett made no mistake in firing home powerfully with the last kick of the first 45.
Despite playing uphill into the wind Fareham made a bright start to the second period as Ross Kidson played a great forward pass to set Austin away, the striker’s low effort stopped by Scott’s legs in the Horndean goal. In contrast the hosts’ first chance saw Ben Anderson feed Alfie Lis who fired over the bar on 49 minutes, whilst Connor Duffin was booked moments later for a foul. This allowed the away side to regain control as Sterne again went close, before a third goal arrived on 56 minutes as Austin found Breed who steered home just inside the left far post leaving Scott routed to his line for 3-1.
Fareham got their fourth goal on the hour mark as Archie Wilcox broke free down the wing and did well to pick out the lurking Austin, who took one touch to get the ball out of his feet before slotting a calm finish into the net past Scott. Substitutions for both sides did halt the game’s momentum but it wasn’t all one way traffic as Willett was again denied by McCarthy and Robbie Taw flashed his effort wide from an angle. Frustration then began to build as Luke Dempsey was booked, although this did not stop Horndean from hitting the side netting as Chad Field broke free with 20 minutes left to play.
Although Horndean were creating more chances Fareham were simply outstanding in defence and it was confirmed when a cross caused goalmouth scrambles in the penalty area with twelve left on the clock. Somehow all of Duffin, Kimber and Willett’s effort were blocked off the goal line before being cleared away, goalkeeper and defenders all applauding each other for putting bodies in the way. This allowed Fareham to add a fifth goal through substitute Morgan on 88 minutes; Breed threading him into space and the young midfielder smashed home with the last notable action of the whole match.
These much welcomed three points moves the Creeksiders into ninth place in the Wessex League table after 19 matches played this campaign, leapfrogging local rivals AFC Portchester following other results on Saturday afternoon. Fareham will be hoping to build on this fantastic result when they host Hamble Club on Tuesday night before playing Dorset-based Portland United next weekend at Cams Alders. Away trips to Portchester in the Hampshire Senior Cup and then Amesbury Town on December 11 await Pete Stiles, hoping to put together a run of form to counteract defeats recently.
PICTURED BY MARTYN WHITE: Horndean’s Alfie Lis is stopped by Fareham defending