Royals dismantle Fareham in ‘El-Creekio’ thriller

By Connor Steel

AFC PORTCHESTER completed a perfect week of results with an “El-Creekio” league double as they hosted Fareham Town on Saturday afternoon; comfortably thrashing their fierce local rivals six-two with this overpowering and dominant attacking performance watched by over eight hundred fans at the On-Site Group Stadium to mark this Easter weekend.

But it did not start well for the Royals as Fareham broke the deadlock within sixty seconds through Jamie Hoskins, who collected a threaded pass and dribbled past Steven Mowthorpe before firing into the empty net. This was followed by a flurry of home attacks with Harrison Brook, Brett Williams, Josh Benfield, and James Cowan all going close with drives.

The deserved equaliser finally arrived in the twenty-fourth minute when Portchester won a corner on the left, which was whipped into the ‘box’ and Kane O’Keefe was fast in heading home for one-all. And the hosts did add their second goal just after the half hour as Cowan cut inside and sent a powerful effort towards goal; the ball ‘rocketing’ high into the net.

It was three-one moments later as Williams won the ball in midfield and fired across away keeper Josh Bird at the near post; the attacker showing great footwork in dribbling past three defenders. He further scored the fourth goal in the last minute before half time as a counter attack was fed to the left side and he made no mistake in nestling past the keeper.

The home momentum continued after the interval with a multitude of testing corners and Brook was looking particularly dangerous in the air, heading over the crossbar before he saw a header blocked. But a fifth goal came via Cowan after fifty-five minutes as he stepped up for a free-kick, hitting his shot underneath a jumping wall and beating Bird for power.

Substitutions followed across both teams as the Royals seemed to dominate possession, but arguably took some sting out of all proceedings with the match over as a contest. This allowed Fareham to have two chances as Sam Woodward had a shot dip over the crossbar on 74 minutes before Lewis Colvin went close; a Portchester attack soon drifting wide.

Fareham were still battling hard and scored a ‘consolation’ goal after 82 minutes as Matt Pates was found in space; the young midfielder curling into the net with his long-range shot. This goalscoring was completed down the other end as a scramble in the box resulted in Portchester celebration for their sixth which was awarded as an own goal by the official.

Dave Carter’s team sit fourth in this Wessex League table and have now sealed a place in the promotion play offs with six league matches left to play; their next one being the trip to Andover New Street on April 6. Their attentions however immediately turns towards Tuesday night as they play high-flying AFC Stoneham in the Wessex League Cup ‘last four’.

PICTURED BY DANIEL HASWELL: Corner is flicked towards goal with Fareham defence attempting to clear ball away.