AFC Portchester comfortably progressed to the second round of the Hampshire Senior Cup on a warm evening at the On-Site Group Stadium, beating Knowle-based Infinity FC 6-0 in an overall clinical display in front of nearly 200 supporters.
Although the victory was on the cards, it was a welcome performance and result for the Royals as they look to rebuild following recent losses in the league & FA Cup over the last week.
Infinity, one division below the Royals, started well and looked to apply pressure as Portchester passed around the back. This tactic almost worked as captain Mitch Austin won the ball in midfield and advanced towards goal, but his effort flew past the post from the end of the penalty area. Minutes later the visitors had a corner that ultimately came to nothing and was cleared away by the home defence, with Portchester taking control as they named an extremely strong starting 11.
The home side took a lead on six minutes as a ball was played into striker Lamin Jatta, who found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper as he beat two defenders. Once level with Simon Parker between the sticks the dangerman simply lifted his shot over the keeper’s glove and into the far corner, past the legs of a retreating defender on the goalline. It was 2-0 11 minutes later when Lee Wort was played in-behind and tucked a low driven shot into the corner, with the striker clinching his second goal over the last two games.
A brilliant half an hour was secured when another Portchester goal made it 3-0 on 29 minutes as George Barker capitalised on a poor defensive clearance and let fly, with his shot hitting the bottom left corner past Parker in the Infinity goal. The visitors then saw their first effort on target as Kurt Watts fired into the gloves of Leon Pitman under pressure from the backtracking home defender on 33 minutes.
Eight minutes before half time, a clinical Portchester move saw the fourth goal as George Barker turned provider. The former Gosport midfielder turned and played the ball to the feet of Lee Wort who made no mistake in slotting home, giving the keeper no chance to respond. However in the battle between striker and goalkeeper was soon won by the shot-stopper as Steven Parker made an outstanding double save to deny a hat-trick, with the referee blowing the whistle for the break soon after.
With the match effectively over as a contest, the second half was a much quieter affair in comparison to the first, particularly with bigger games planned in the league this weekend. However Portchester were dominating both possession and attacking territory versus their Wessex League Division One opponents, but only saw two further chances before the hour mark. Lee Wort had a shot blocked at source by the visiting defender on 54 minutes, while Thomas Dinsmore saw his swerving effort go wide from 25 yards.
After a short lull due to substitutions and a couple of niggly injuries, Portchester created another chance on 71 minutes Lamin Jatta squandered a guilt-edge opportunity from close range following good work down the left. But it was 5-0 with 14 minutes left to play as a long ball was played onto the chest of Keiron Roberts around 30 yards out. The striker expertly took the ball down and faced forward before firing a low effort that hit the post and nestled into the net.
The Royals concluded their scoring as they added a sixth goal after 82 minutes. Right back George Colson took advantage of tiring legs as he advanced down the wing before crossing into the box. His delivery was met at the far post by George Barker, who scored his second goal of the match with a low header after evading his marker. Infinity had the final effort of the match as Brandon Douglas fired over the bar after being set up down the right wing, but there was no consolation goal for the visitors who had more than held their own against a strong Portchester squad that showed their qualities over the 90 minutes.
This win secures passage into the next round of the Hampshire Senior Cup as Portchester will host New Milton Town (on date to be decided); a good draw for both as they look to progress after last years cancellations of local and regional competitions. For now the Royals will hope to build on this victory as they play two away league games over the next seven days, with Bournemouth Poppies on Saturday and Alton FC on Tuesday evening (07/09). Portchester will next play at the On-Site Group Stadium on September 11 with their FA Vase tie versus Romsey Town FC in a local derby. Infinity will travel to Whitchurch United on Saturday afternoon in the Wessex League Division One, before a league cup game versus Baffins Milton Rovers on September 8 (Wednesday night).