Royals seal derby delight with late Fareham winner

By Connor Steel

AFC PORTCHESTER completed their fifth successive victory and ensured the local El-Creekio bragging rights as they consigned rivals Fareham Town to defeat in the Wessex League Premier; the Royals scoring in the eighty-ninth minute to complete a two-one comeback after a tight encounter watched by almost seven hundred supporters at Cams Alders.

It was an anxious opening for both teams and it took fifteen minutes for the first notable chance; Joe Johnson’s delivery reaching Curt Robbins who couldn’t bundle home in a crowded area. Down the other end Portchester saw a quick pass find Lee Wort who beat his man at pace and cut inside down the right, but had a driven shot well saved by Jordi Valero.

Proceedings continued to be cagey as both sides struggled for control; the next shot on target coming from Portchester on thirty minutes as Wort was again denied. In response the hosts pushed forward and scored the opener in cute style; Sam Woodward finishing a rebound with an overhead shot from 10 yards after Robbins hit the post with an initial effort.

Dave Carter’s team reacted quickly to falling behind as Josh Benfield forced an outstanding ‘fingertip’ stop from Valero; the home keeper also denying Wort on two separate occasions. But the visitors weren’t left rueing missed opportunities as they equalised moments before half time; Ryan Woodford reacting quicker and heading home an inswinging corner.

The Creeksiders came out brightly upon the interval and should have restored their lead after forty nine minutes; Lewis Colvin hitting the post with a snapshot from a corner with Woodward missing the rebound from close range. Matt Pates then played a great cross into the path of Robbins on the hour mark, but the attacker saw his low angled effort blocked.

But this momentum swung towards Portchester as the hosts were reduced temporarily to 10 players; Colvin sent to the sin bin for dissent after a tangle with Wort. And the away side used this advantage to regain control as multiple corners were scrambled away to safety by Fareham defenders, whilst Valero made two fine stops to deny Wort at close range.

Sam Makhloufi then fired wide and Ryan Wilkins saw his effort blocked as the Royals ramped up intensity; their reward coming after eighty-nine minutes when Woodford buried a free header from a corner to make it two-one. And the away side held on for all three points despite rejected last gasp penalty appeals for Fareham as the striker was bundled over.

Portchester sit in third after the weekend’s result and will face another two away league games; playing Petersfield and Cowes Sports before October 10 alongside a home cup tie versus Frimley Green this week. Meanwhile Fareham have a week off before they face league leaders Shaftesbury next weekend as they aim to end the losing run on 3G pitches.

PICTURED BY DANIEL HASWELL: Ryan Woodford celebrates scoring a late winner that beat rivals Fareham in derby.