Foursome Wort seals Portchester victory

By Connor Steel

LEE WORT was the star as AFC Portchester won their second successive league game on Saturday, scoring four goals in a comfortable 6-0 victory against Amesbury Town to move into ninth position in the Wessex Premier Table, leapfroging Fareham in the process.

But more importantly in a proud moment for everybody at the On-Site Group Stadium, the Royals held an immaculate 20-minute Remembrance ceremony before kick-off. It involved wreaths, two minutes of silence and an unveiling of a permanent wall to commemorate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, as well as donating all profits from this match to the Royal British Legion.

After this poignant display of unity, Portchester started in blistering fashion and may have been ahead after two minutes; Sam Pearce and George Barker breaking forward but the latter’s touch saw away defender George Plank clear. The hosts had their first shot moments later as good play found captain Steve Ramsey who fired over before Wort dragged a shot past the post following a long ball from the Amesbury backline. As the game moved towards the quarter hour mark, Portchester kept coming with only a series of defensive blocks and saves by the away keeper preventing them from taking the lead.

Pressure finally paid as Portchester scored the opening goal after 18 minutes, a long forward pass finding Wort in space via a Pearce header and the striker made no mistake in firing low inside the post. Barker nearly made it 2-0 just moments later as he went on a jinxing run but saw his shot blocked, before Pearce and Wort saw efforts saved well by the Amesbury shot-stopper, who in fairness was their player of the match. But he couldn’t stop a second Portchester goal as Wort found Pearce with a cut-back 29 yards out, the midfielder firing home a powerful drive off the post just before the half hour mark.

Momentum of the home side was briefly stifled by an Amesbury injury stoppage, but once play started again Portchester made it 3-0 within five minutes with a wonderful finish. Conor Bailey played a great ball to Marley Ridge and his pass found Wort, who flicked the ball over the defender’s head and volleyed home into the corner. Although Luke Cron headed wide for Amesbury on 43 minutes it was quickly 4-0 to the hosts as Wort sealed a 28-minute hat trick in first half stoppage time, the striker running onto an incisive through ball and calmly scoring in the opposite corner in the final notable action before the break.

The second half started slowly with the game already won as Amesbury sought to limit damage to their negative goal difference, Portchester going close with Jake Raine firing wide under pressure following a great run forward from inside his own half on 55 minutes. Moments later the Royals made their first change as Tyler Giddings replaced Curt Da Costa while Wort whistled an effort past the post after a defender’s header was partially cleared. Down the other end a rare spell of Amesbury attacks saw Billy Drever and Israel Matonga saw efforts on the Portchester goal but they weren’t able to test Steven Mowthorpe who had a fairly comfortable afternoon between the home sticks.

On 65 minutes Pearce beat two Amesbury defenders and advanced to the by-line with his cross finding Adam Tomasso at the back post, but somehow the midfielder misjudged his header wide of the post with the goal gaping from three yards out. Not that this opportunity cost Portchester as they did make it 5-0 on the 69th minute of play, Wort getting his fourth goal as he converted a low shot following a Ridge pass across the box. The striker was then substituted for U23 player Archie Lee-Greenough after a collision with the Amesbury keeper, receiving a standing ovation from the 240 supporters in the stands after 73 minutes.

Finley Bello replaced Conor Bailey and immediately played a great pass to Ridge, whose brilliant lobbed through ball found Pearce, the resulting volley saved easily by the away keeper. Ramsey then fired wide with an angled shot and Zak Sharp headed over from a corner, but it didn’t take long for the sixth goal to arrive for Portchester in the 90th minute. A low pass from Ramsey caused a scramble inside the penalty area and Lee-Greenough was quickest to react in slotting home, the referee blowing the final whistle shortly afterwards to end Amesbury’s miserable afternoon despite their best efforts.

Following this four-goal special Wort has reached 20 finishes this campaign becoming the fourth striker to hit the landmark in the league joining Horndean pair Zack Willett and Connor Duffin alongside Brockenhurst scorer Silvio Obeng with 25 goals this season. Portchester will hope that the goals keep coming for the striker and the team with 10 from their last two games alone. Dave Carter’s men face an away Portsmouth postcode derby versus Moneyfields next weekend before hosting Gosport Borough at the On-Site Group Stadium in the Senior Cup.

PICTURED BY DANIEL HASWELL: Despite four goals, Lee Wort appears frustrated as ball runs away from him