The Creeksiders won 6-2 on a wet and windy night at Cams Alders, hitting their 50th goal already this campaign across all competitions from 13 games so far and completed the double over their Dorset-based opponents after beating them 7-1 away on September 11.
In front of nearly 200 spectators braving the autumn downpours, Fareham started well and the ball was quickly worked into Luke Slade on four minutes, whose shot was blocked and from the resulting clearance led to Christchurch taking the lead. A misplaced pass was intercepted by Kieran O’ Donnell who was allowed space and time to shoot, with his effort well saved via home keeper Dan Kempson. However Eder Batista was quickest to react on the rebound, tapping into the bottom corner of the unguarded net.
Fareham didn’t let this early goal disrupt their confidence as they immediately got their equaliser on nine minutes; Charlie Cooper was able to waltz through the away defence and ultimately saw his powerful effort saved by keeper Ollie King for a corner. The delivery was inch perfect and allowed Archie Wilcox to rise highest, nodding home an unmarked header past a static defender on the line into the top corner to level up the scores.
Buoyed by this equaliser the hosts seemed to dominate possession and started to see chances, with the next opportunity coming on 14 minutes when Ben Rowthorn dragged wide following link-up play between Curt Robbins and Cooper down the right side. Another opening for Fareham saw Simon Woods fire over the crossbar with a header from six yards, but they weren’t denied for long as they took a lead after 26 minutes. A corner from the right was recycled by Slade, whose delivery was headed into his own net by Christchurch defender Raf Santos at the near post.
On the half hour mark Ethan Jones shot wide after a surging run down the middle, before Cooper saw a shot saved by away keeper King and Slade hit the outside post with a low effort on 39 minutes. Down the other end Ethan Maddocks fired harmlessly wide and home shot-stopper Kempson denied a Sam Shearer free-kick as Christchurch proved they could provide a threat going forward with the referee blowing for half time.
There was a slow start after the interval as both sides adapted to driving rain, made worse by gusty breezes surrounding the open ground at Cams. It took until the 56th minute for the first chance as Slade’s effort was deflected over the bar, which was followed quickly by Robbin’s going close on the hour mark. But in the 67th minute a foul on Simon Woods was given as a penalty, which was smashed into the net to make it 3-1 to Fareham with a quarter of play left.
Substitute Charlie Smith made his Creeksiders’ debut and nearly scored with his first touch as he met Cooper’s cross, but was denied by King’s feet between the away sticks. However the Christchurch keeper couldn’t deny a fourth goal for Town on 80 minutes as Cooper fired an effort from range following Jones’ pass, which took two deflections and wrongfooted the goalie into the net. Straight from the restart it was 4-2 as the visitors pulled one back with perhaps the goal of the evening.
Poor defending and a lack of pressure on Christchurch’s Ryan Ashford allowed the winger space from approximately 30 yards out, with his strike looping over Kempson into the top corner of the net. It was a strike that gained huge applause from everybody in the rain-soaked stadium except the Fareham keeper, who was fuming at his defence for allowing the shot in the first place. But instead of sparking a special comeback from the visitors, it encouraged Town to push forward to kill the game, a job completed with two quickfire goals in the final minutes as Christchurch made a goalkeeping change with Ryan Thorpe replacing King between the sticks.
It was 5-2 on 86 minutes as Wilcox doubled his tally for the evening, being allowed the freedom of the Christchurch penalty area to calmly slot into the corner. The energetic midfielder then attempted to clinch his hat trick with a driven effort but was denied by the substitute keeper, not that it mattered as the Creeksiders made it six and reached the 50-goal mark with just one minute remaining of normal time. Good play down the left saw an inital skidded effort saved by Thorpe, but Ryan Mackney fired home the rebound to complete the goal scoring, with the referee blowing an end to this eight goal thriller shortly afterwards.
Fareham have now moved into second place in the Wessex League Premier after 10 games, although some of the teams around them have played less matches and could overtake the Creeksiders as the season progresses. Town will now travel to AFC Stoneham on Saturday afternoon at 3pm, with fans asked to register their attendance online to access their complex in Eastleigh. It is not known if a midweek game with Denmead will take place on Tuesday night in the Portsmouth Senior Cup, with the information removed from the club website and Wessex League fixture list. A week’s break will then follow for the Creeksiders who are not due to play on October 9, their division having an uneven number of teams and next weekend is simply one of two without a fixture as a result.