By Connor Steel
AFC PORTCHESTER continued their outstanding start to the New Year with a crushing away victory against Blackfield & Langley on Saturday afternoon; thrashing their ‘struggling’ opponents five-two after this entertaining Wessex Premier League match at Gang Warily despite the heavy surface and chilly over-head conditions throughout the ninety minutes.
The Royals started strongly and saw their first chance after six minutes when Charlie Williamson had a shot blocked at source; the ball falling kindly to Marley Ridge who fired over the crossbar. And the visitors were then rueing this missed opportunities in the 12th minute; Jahiem Dotse being fastest to a flicked cross and slotted the tidy shot past the keeper.
Ryan Wilkins forced a fingertip stop from Blackfield goalkeeper Ollie Harrison soon afterwards whilst James Cowan cut inside and saw his curling drive deflected wide on 29 minutes. But Portchester did equalise seconds later as a free-kick was flicked into the path of Scott Jones and the striker showed fine composure in placing his shot inside the far corner.
The away dominance continued with Wilkins seeing a header saved by Harrison on thirty-six minutes; the home keeper further being fast enough to deny Lee Wort’s low shot moments later. The Royals however weren’t rueing these missed chances as they did score again in added time to make it 2-1; Jones doubling the tally by easily converting a fine cross.
Blackfield made a double substitution at the interval and briefly halted the pressures from Portchester, the hosts seeing Dotse and Joe Roberts going close in quick succession with varying shots. But this next goal came from the visitors on fifty-eight minutes through Cowan as he ran inside onto his favoured side, before then curling accurately past Harrison.
Proceedings passed the hour mark without incident as injury stoppages and multiple changes signalled a big lull, which was broken when Jones sent a piledriver over the crossbar in pursuit of his hat-trick. Wort then killed the match off as a contest on seventy-nine minutes as a free-flowing move was slotted home by the striker, leaving the keeper no chance.
To their credit Blackfield hadn’t given up and did get a deserved ‘consolation’ goal with just nine minutes left; the winger sending a powerful long distance strike into the corner off the far posts. Dyllan Roocroft went close to a third home goal before the Royals added their fifth deep into stoppage time; George Barker converting a shot across the keeper for 5-2.
Dave Carter’s team stay third in the Wessex League Premier after this result and are eight points off leaders Stoneham although Moneyfields have multiple games in hand over the Royals. Attention now turns to ‘cup action’ as they travel to Sholing in a rearranged Russell Cotes encounter on Tuesday evening, before they host Lymington Town next Saturday.
PICTURED BY AFC PORTCHESTER TWITTER: Teams on the ‘Gang Warily’ pitch before match kicks off on Saturday.