By Connor Steel
LEE WORT proved the difference in a highly watchable local derby as the hotshot striker helped his side beat Fareham in the Hampshire Senior Cup 3rd round on Wednesday night, scoring twice in a 2-0 victory for Portchester at the On-Site Group Stadium to continue recent good form.
It represents a first derby win over Fareham for Dave Carter, who would have been delighted at the performance and result in a match that nearly didn’t go ahead; a power cut and electric issue before kick-off delaying the start for 300 fans by 45 minutes until 8.30pm.
And when the game kicked off Portchester started the better as they shaded possession but could not convert this into early chances; both sides cancelling each other in a scrappy midfield battle. It took 11 minutes for the first half-opportunity as Curt Robbins flashed a cross into the box and a deflection took it harmlessly wide. Down the other end Portchester continued their ‘dominance’ and took the lead on 19 minutes with an opening clear cut chance, a long ball finding Wort who beat a sliding Kai Sterne and calmly side-footed past Fareham goalkeeper Declan McCarthy at his right post.
Just before the hour mark it was almost 2-0 to Portchester when Marley Ridge fizzed a low cross into the penalty area to find Steve Ramsey just 12 yards out; the captain ultimately dragging his shot wide of the far post with the goal gaping. Down the other end, Fareham nearly equalised in the 36th minute when the returning Casey Bartlett-Scott cut inside and hit a stinging effort straight at Royals’ keeper Steven Mowthorpe, whilst Jack Breed fired over the bar shortly afterwards. The last notable chance fell to Portchester as Harvey Aston’s effort was deflected away before half time.
The hosts started the better after the interval, Wort firing wide and Lamin Jatta’s effort being saved by McCarthy in the away sticks within the opening 10 minutes. Fareham had their first chance of an exciting second period on 57 minutes when Robbins beat three defenders and set up Bartlett-Scott who fired wide under pressure, whilst Gary Austin headed over a corner minutes later from the right. The hour mark then brought substitutions for both sides, leading to a slight lull to this derby before great passing ended in Sam Pearce firing over the crossbar with his powerful 25-yarder.
Fareham created their last notable chance on 73 minutes when Ryan Mackney cut inside and fired a shot that failed to beat Mowthorpe at his near post. From this point Portchester dominated as Jatta fired into the side netting from an angle and McCarthy performed a brilliant save to deny a powerful free-kick Conor Bailey, tipping over the crossbar on 84 minutes. But the Royals eventually put the tie to bed with three minutes remaining in normal time, Ridge’s diagonal through ball landing right into the feet of Wort who took one touch before firing an unstoppable shot into the net to seal derby joy.
Following this victory the ‘creek is now orange’ and Portchester now look forward to learning who is waiting in the quarter finals; big teams such as Portsmouth U23s still in the draw. Attention however must turn to their home clash versus Hythe & Dibden on Saturday afternoon before travelling away to Portland seven days later. Fareham hope to avoid a third straight loss in league and cup when they travel to Amesbury this weekend before hosting Downton in the Wessex League Cup on Tuesday night. Hamworthy will then visit Cams for the final match before Christmas on December 18.
PICTURED BY CLIFF PLEDGE: Floodlights shine on El-Creekio derby between Portchester and Fareham