By Connor Steel
FAREHAM TOWN FC stretched their poor run of league form to two straight defeats and one win from six games since mid-October on Saturday afternoon, losing 1-0 to US Portsmouth at Burnaby Road to fall further away from the Wessex League’s top six.
In grey and overcast conditions at the Temeraire-based stadium, it was 90 minutes that failed to inspire the fans who came to watch this local Portsmouth postcode derby, which was settled by ex-Portchester signing Lamin Jatta as he capitalised on a defensive mistake in a rare moment of excitement.
Fareham gave debuts to two players – Adam Lewingray starting in goal and Liam Crosswell playing at left back – as Pete Stiles’ side struggled with many injuries throughout the defence. But this didn’t stop them starting on the front foot as Bailey Newbury tried to lob US Portsmouth goalkeeper Dylan Kramer with the ball dropping inches wide of the far post after just three minutes. Shortly afterwards the attacker flashed a header over the crossbar from a right sided corner before this bright start was dampened as Ben Rowthorn left the field with injury to be replaced by Jack Breed after 15 minutes of action.
US Portsmouth created their first chance in the 19th minute as the ball was worked around the box, falling kindly to recent loan signing Tom Dinsdale whose effort curled round the far post from 20 yards out on the right. Minutes later, Cameron Quirke had his shot saved by Lewingray and Ryan Smart fired wide under pressure on the half hour mark, while Fareham saw Kai Sterne’s effort inches adrift of the bottom corner via a deflection and Garry Moody head over the resulting corner in the final chance before the interval.
Not that the 15 minutes break made any improvement as the second half began, despite two changes as Simon Woods and Ash Tattersall came off the bench during the interval. After shots from both Sterne and Charlie Cooper posed no threat to the US Portsmouth goal, they went close on 62 minutes when a curling effort from Floret Vajec narrowly floated the wrong side of the post. The hosts quickly won a free kick on 66 minutes which was taken by Dinsmore and headed over the crossbar by captain Tommy Jeffes as Fareham lived slightly dangerous going into the final 20 minutes.
US Portsmouth’s spell of dominance finally paid off after 73 minutes when they took an arguably deserved lead, winning a corner with the delivery causing a spate of chaos in the area. With two Fareham defenders and the goalkeeper failing to deal with the pinball, it fell to the lurking Jatta who simply needed to tap into the open net from five yards. Although Fareham had half chances through both Breed and Curt Robbins as they pushed for an equaliser, it was the hosts who created the best opportunity to double their advantage on 86 minutes as substitute Owen Scammell found himself in space but fired over the crossbar from 20 yards. But the Creeksiders were unable to take advantage of this let-off as US Portsmouth avenged their 6-1 defeat at Cams Alders earlier in the season, moving away from the relegation zone with these three points.
Fareham have now slipped to eighth in the Wessex Premier League with seven wins, 3 draws and six defeats from 16 games played this campaign. The Creeksiders also face a busy fortnight of action as November progresses, starting with a home match versus Harvest at Cams Alders on Tuesday in the Portsmouth Senior Cup. Town will then travel to Alresford next Saturday in the league before a home clash versus Abbey Rangers in the FA Vase seven days later, hoping to match last season’s run in the non-league road to Wembley. For US Portsmouth they will travel to Hamble Club next weekend before hosting Alton three days later at home.
PICTURED BY FAREHAM TOWN MEDIA: Teams line up in autumnal sunshine before kick-off