Royals-Hamble abandoned after big injury

By Connor Steel

AFC PORTCHESTER saw their second match abandonment in just twelve months on Saturday as they saw their home Wessex League encounter halted at the half time interval on Saturday afternoon; the away player picking up a serious looking injury that occurred in first half additional time with the Royals two-nil ahead. But health and safety will matter more than football as the player waited over 4 hours for an ambulance to attend the scene at the On-Site Group Stadium, with medical staff praised for ensuring a further injury was avoided.

The injury occurred at approximately 3:45pm when Hamble defender Bailey Honeysett lost his footing when clearing a ball, momentum seeing him crash head first into the pitch side barrier down by the corner flag. An immediate stoppage was called by the referee Thomas Farr and all medical staff from both sides were there within seconds; concern growing that the away defender had suffered a fractured neck or spine. Emergency services were immediately called and the officials spoke to both managers, giving 1 hour for any resolutions.

With no ambulances available and the play unable to safely resume with the player near to the touchline, the match was eventually abandoned just after 5pm with the scores voided and fans left the stadium offering well wishes. The emergency services did finally arrive at approximately 8:40pm as Honeysett received round the clock care in the meantime; physios from both sides holding his head still and ensure no movement occurred in the spine or neck. He was stretchered off the pitch and taken to hospital for urgent scans soon afterwards.

And in a promising online update from Sunday morning, Hamble announced that Honeysett was discharged from hospital within the early hours; x-rays confirming no break in either the neck or spine. The Southampton based club also thanked Portchester for their calm words, support, and hospitality whilst dealing with the big incident, which could have been much worse as the player looks to make a full recovery. The match will now have to be replayed from its start at a future date, which is not expected for at least a month due to the diary.

Before this incident fans were treated to forty-five minutes of attacking football that saw the Royals cruise to a two-nil lead just after the quarter hour mark; taking the lead in the eleventh minute of play. It arrived with a quick passing move down the right opening the Hamble defence, Brett Pitman and Marley Ridge combining to set up Liam Robinson in space; the winger’s shot curling into the bottom corner beating away goalkeeper Henry Newman into the net. And it soon got better for the hosts after sixteen minutes with their second goal.

Another fine attacking move saw James Cowan pick up a loose long ball down the left wing and released the onrushing Harrison Brook, who hooked a low first time angled shot past the outrushing keeper inside the net for two-nil. And it could have been three-nil as Brook sent a curling effort towards goal but was denied by the diving Newman at his near post, the resulting corner headed wide by the advancing home defender. Pitman then went close with a long range effort as Will Gange headed a fine delivery over the crossbar in response.

Further opportunities came for the home side through both Pitman and Brook, who linked up at an attacking free kick with the former sliding home but seeing the offside flag raised on the far side. The Royals also saw Cowan drag wide under pressure in the penalty area and Brook again go close as he forced Newman into a good save; Hamble creating their best chance on 38 minutes when Braydon Douglas’ effort was tipped over the bar from Steven Mowthorpe and had penalty appeals turned down before the above incident halted play.

Following the abandonment, which joins bad weather related circumstances against Christchurch back from October 2021, Portchester now sit second in the table after other results; Bemerton overtaking the Royals on goal difference only with a comfortable home win against Alresford Town on Saturday afternoon. Portland are the next game for Dave Carter’s team on November 5 away on the south coast after seven days off, before 2 home matches in a week see them host Bournemouth Poppies on November 8 and Alresford Town on 12/11.

PICTURED BY DANIEL HASWELL PHOTOGRAPHY: Home attacker goes around Hamble defenders as the hosts race into early two-goal advantage before a sickening injury to Bailey Honeysett ends the match early.