Moneyfields outshine Royals in festive cracker

By Connor Steel

MONEYFIELDS FC solidified their continuing ambitions of a ‘title push’ in the Wessex League Premier as they “hosted” fellow challengers AFC Portchester on Saturday afternoon; comfortably sealing a four-two victory from a thrilling match that was enjoyed by a huge crowd of nearly 400 fans at the On-Site Group Stadium in the last match before Christmas.

The Royals started well despite officially being the away side and saw this afternoon’s first chance within forty seconds; Lee Wort slicing harmlessly wide from range. In contrast Moneyfields were simply clinical and scored their first effort on target through Tom Jeffes, who guided between two defenders at a free kick and simply nodded into the bottom corner.

It was two-nil for Moneyfields on twelve minutes as lovely interplay released Marco De Sousa into space, and he made no mistake in lashing past Portchester keeper Steven Mowthorpe at his near post. There were also openings to extend this lead before the half hour; James Franklyn firing over the bar from an angle and Ryan Pennery forcing a good save.

Portchester were struggling and began to steadily work themselves into attacking positions but often lacked any quality final ball to break down a stubborn defence; Josh Benfield seeing his shot blocked at source. But this away momentum was halted in stoppage time after an injury to Moneyfields’ Jack Lee, which was the last notable action before half time.

Dave Carter’s side responded strongly upon the restart and halved their ‘deficit’ after forty-seven minutes through Wort; the attacker sending a header into the net from a corner. It should have been two-all moments later when Marley Ridge fed through Wort at an angle but Moneyfields keeper Dylan Kramer was quick to react to the onrushing danger to clear.

The hour mark passed without incident before Moneyfields inflicted a crucial blow on sixty-three minutes with their third goal; Pennery running towards the byline and cutting a pass to Franklyn who converted calmly. And this exact pair then helped add the fourth with seventeen minutes left on the clock; the latter stroking his fierce drive into the roof of the net.

To their big credit Portchester never gave up and scored their second on seventy-eight minutes as an inch-perfect pass from the right found Wort, who powerfully nodded home. But this only proved to be a consolation goal for the Royals as substitutions and game management ‘tactics’ from Moneyfields sealed their twelfth successive win in the league so far.

This was just Portchester’s fourth defeat this campaign and it leaves them third in the standings at Christmas; the three points ensuring that Moneyfields stay 4th with seven matches in hand on leaders Shaftesbury. Both sides have a home match next week with the Royals playing Brockenhurst, and Moneyfields hosting United Services Portsmouth on 30/12.

PICTURED BY NATHAN LIPSHAM: Players from both teams chase down a loose ball on edge of penalty box in derby.