By Connor Steel
BOURNEMOUTH POPPIES produced an outstanding performance against Fareham on Saturday afternoon, beating the Creeksiders five-nil under lovely autumn sunshine at Cams Alders. And it was nothing short of a richly deserved away victory as they gave their hosts a lesson in clinical finishing throughout the 90 minutes; Fareham missing multiple chances as the club paid their own tributes to Her Majesty the Queen with a highly respectful minute of silence and rendition of the national anthem of front of almost three hundred supporters.
The home side started brightly upon the kick-off as they created the first opening after just 2 minutes; Ashley Tattersall linking up with Artur Kenton before forcing the away goalkeeper Jack Robertson into a brilliant save tipping the ball over the crossbar from twenty yards. Another huge chance came as Charlie Cooper’s looping cross was headed inches wide by Calum Benfield lurking at the back post whilst Ethan Jones fed through an overlapping Josh Benfield on twelve minutes; the striker’s powerful driven effort drifting wide from the angle.
But it was Bournemouth that opened the scoring on seventeen minutes after absorbing home pressures with their first attack, winning a corner that was played low into the crowded penalty area and found Lewis Harvey who made no mistake in slotting home a first time finish inside the bottom corner. In response Fareham saw a free-kick from Jones fly over the crossbar from 25 yards and Josh Benfield fired harmlessly over within the 24th minute; away defenders clearing multiple corners and crosses that may have otherwise caused issues.
Home dominance of possession led to further openings after the half hour as Calum Benfield brushed wide a header from another free kick, whilst Connor Underhill also going close twice with low efforts that drew smart stops by the away keeper. However this momentum was ended as Bournemouth added their second on forty one minutes as a cross reached Michael Freak who forced a first save from home keeper Luke Deacon, the rebound falling to Lewis Freak to calmly side-foot a placed shot into the net for two-nil at the half time break.
The Creeksiders made a half-time substitute as Morris Dench replaced Jacob Wood and they were denied a penalty appeal after 48 minutes as Keiron Clark seemed to get clattered chasing a high cross from Underhill. The frustration only served to push Fareham into attacking areas as Josh Benfield fired straight at Robertson from twelve yards and Cooper drove into the side netting following great passing; Bournemouth further going close as the unmarked Freak narrowly missed a header at the back post on 58 minutes after a pacey cross.
Proceedings went from bad to worse for Fareham on sixty-four minutes when Bournemouth made it three-nil and killed the game off as a contest. It came from a counter attack down the left which ended in a cross-field pass finding Joe Freak who was unmarked in the penalty area, making no mistake in slotting past Deacon at his near post. This knocked the stuffing out of the hosts and they were no longer creating openings against a packed away defence, substitutes and a minute’s applause for Her Majesty on 70 minutes starting a big lull.
Dan Bennett went close as he forced Robertson into a save off his chest with Fareham seeking a late goal in consolation. But instead Bournemouth made it four-nil on 83 minutes when a long pass hit Joe Smith and fell kindly to the attackers, who made no mistake in taking advantage of this defensive mistake. And in additional time scores became five nil when Neemo Nixon found too much space, making it count as he calmly slotted home a fifth goal to seal a miserable looking scoreline for the Creeksiders who were taught multiple lessons.
Fareham won’t have long to wait for their next match as they look to launch their recovery from a chastening 90 minutes, which was the opposite to their credible two-nil defeat against Winchester City in midweek. They are scheduled to play another Wessex League encounter on Tuesday evening with Alresford Town FC set to visit Cams Alders, before Graham Rix’s team travel to Bradford Town in the FA Vase next Saturday; finishing the month of September with another short trip to United Services Portsmouth in the Portsmouth Senior Cup.
PICTURED BY BOURNEMOUTH POPPIES TWITTER: Away striker prepares to fire at goal from a corner as they take their chances at Cams Alders, winning five-nil despite Fareham arguably seeing a majority of play.