Royals progress to cup quarters with Portland victory

By Connor Steel

AFC PORTCHESTER guaranteed their place within the Wessex League Cup quarter finals as they made the very long journey across to Portland United on Tuesday evening; comfortably beating their fellow Premier Division opponents 3-0 with an outstanding away performance at the Camp & Satherley Stadium despite largely heavy rain through this match.

The home team adapted quicker to the quick surface and created their first attempt after nine minutes when Brin Doyle let fly from forty-five yards out; the ball narrowly missing the crossbar. Portland went even closer sixty seconds later as Archie Woolford turned his marker and had his shot blocked at source from an angle before Doyle missed the rebound.

Doyle further saw two efforts saved by away goalkeeper Steven Mowthorpe before the Royals started to work their way into proceedings; Lee Wort seeing his low drive saved well by Harrison Bruton and Harrison Brook driving wide after 20 minutes. In response the hosts were unlucky not to be ahead as Luke Sheehy beat the defender to a cross but hit over.

The deadlock was broken on twenty-four minutes when Brook played a fine ball into the corridor of uncertainty and was unfortunately deflected inside the left corner for an own goal than gave Portchester their 1-0 lead. A sluggish spell soon followed as the interval loomed with little goalmouth action; Joe Wickham’s set piece being blown away from the target.

Dave Carter’s team came out firing upon the restart with Brook sending a free-kick inches wide of the post before Wort was expertly denied by Bruton’s fingertip stop at range. But the visitors weren’t to be denied on fifty-three minutes from the resulting corner as Jake Raine rose quicker to the delivery and nodded into the corner through an onrushing crowd.

But Portchester weren’t content and scored a third on the hour mark through Wort; the attacker superbly linking up with captain Marley Ridge and then slamming past Bruton inside the bottom right corner. And it could have easily been four-nil soon afterwards with Ridge hitting his effort wide, whilst Brook was unfortunate in missing a deep cross across goal.

Substitutions then followed across both teams and this seemed to boost Portland’s confidence in attack during the final fifteen minutes; Sheehy blasting the left posts and Jacob Coombes forcing a smart stop from Mowthorpe. But the hosts were unable to get a consolation against a resolute defence from Portchester, who easily saw out the remaining action.

These two sides will play versus each other on Saturday afternoon in the Wessex Premier, with many pitch inspections due to be held at the OnSite Group Stadium in the coming days as Storm Ciaran approaches. Portchester are then due to travel to Lymington Town on Remembrance weekend before next playing Christchurch in the Hampshire Senior Cup.

PICTURED BY AFC PORTCHESTER: Players celebrate scoring one of their three goals in heavy rain on South Coast.