AFC Portchester 4 Shaftesbury 0
AFC Portchester cruised through their opening game of the season with a comfortable victory on Saturday.
They could have won by a greater margin if they had had their shooting boots on as the Royals created hatfuls of chances, particularly as the game wore on.
But the visitors hung in there after being reduced to ten men after 23 minutes and if they had converted one of the chances which came their way, this game could have had a very different outcome.
While there is a very long way to go in terms of determining who will win the Premier Division and promotion this season, the home support would have been happy with the attacking intent their side showed against Shaftesbury.
James Thomson, Owen Fee, Dan Wooden and Mike Turvey were an attacking threat all afternoon, while Steve Ramsey and Jordan Brooks both performed well in the centre of midfield.
Keeper Brad Snelling and his defence had a relatively quite afternoon but they had to remain alert throughout to ensure the visitors didn’t capitalise on one of the few half chances which came their way.
Portchester opened the scoring on eight minutes when they won possession of the ball in midfield and a pass picked out Turvey driving forward down the right.
From the right hand edge of the box he cut inside before hitting a low shot across keeper Luke Hutchins and just inside the far post.
Five minutes later Fee got the ball in space on the right and then spread a pass to the left. The ball was worked back across the penalty area to Fee at the far post who tried to fire off a shot.
He didn’t connect with the ball properly but his effort forced Hutchins to partially block the ball before a defender hacked it away before it crossed the line.
Shaftesbury should have drawn level on 17 minutes when Sam Reily latched on to a ball down the left and his first touch took it past Snelling who had raced off his line to try and clear the danger.
The ball rolled into the box and a home defender did just enough to force Reily fwide and his shot at an empty goal only found the side netting.
The visitors were far from happy about Jack Mitchell receiving a straight red card on 23 minutes but it looked to be a late, dangerous tackle from behind leaving the referee with little option but to give him his marching orders, despite the protests.
Portchester then looked to stretch their lead and Turvey fired wildly over when the ball was knocked down to him in front of goal and then Ramsey’s cross found Wooden in the six yard box but his header went just over the target.
Shaftesbury had another good chance to equalise on 39 minutes when a free kick picked out Michael Walker inside the box but he could not direct his header on target after out jumping the home defence.
At the other end Turvey almost made it 2-0 when a pass picked him out inside the box but he got no power behind his shot and the ball trickled through to Hutchins.
Portchester went close to scoring again on 53 minutes when Ramsey won possession and found Wooden, who had spotted the keeper coming off his line but his chipped shot sailed just over the crossbar.
Three minutes later the home side were denied again when a cross from the left was deflected into the path of Thomson and Hutchins had to dive to his right to push the shot away.
Just before the hour mark another good move forward by the Royals sent Turvey towards the byline. His back heel found Fee who tried to place his shot into the net but he hit it well over.
Turvey then turned provider for Wooden but he fired his shot wide and from the next attack he shot straight at Hutchins when well placed in the penalty area to score.
Despite the home attacking dominance it was still only 1-0 after 70 minutes and Shaftesbury almost snatched an equaliser when a pass picked out substitute Sam Herrington as he made his way into the box.
He unleashed a low shot which had Snelling scrambling across his line and the ball rolled just wide of the post.
Portchester eventually doubled their lead on 73 minutes when a free kick floated into the box picked out Turvey. He miss-kicked his shot but the ball rolled to Wooden who rammed his effort home from ten yards out.
Fee almost made it 3-0 a minute later when he cut in from the right and Hutchins had to get down to his right to turn a goal-bound shot away from the target.
Then a clearance fell to Ramsey who hit a first time shot from 30 yards, which looked to be heading towards the top corner before it took a big deflection off a defender and even then it only just flew wide of the target.
Fee then cut in from the right again and after beating a defender his shot forced Hutchins into making another sharp save to deny him a goal.
Shaftesbury thought they had repelled another home attack on 81 minutes when they cleared the ball as far as Ramsey 40 yards out. However, he unleashed a rocket of a shot which smashed against the crossbar with the keeper rooted to the spot.
Portchester made it 3-0 with five minutes remaining when Wooden picked up a loose ball in midfield, took it forward before unleashing an unstoppable shot from 25 yards which flew into the net - an early contender for goal of the season.
Ramsey tried his luck from distance again and shot narrowly wide and Wooden almost completed his hat-trick when he broke clear and tried to dink the ball over Hutchins.
The keeper’s save dropped down and hit a defender and this touch of the ball almost saw the Shaftesbury man put it into his own net.
However, from the corner the ball was played short to substitute Brodie Spencer and his shot from the left edge of the penalty area took a big deflection off a defender and rolled into the net.
Goals: Mike Turvey (8 mins), Dan Wooden (73 mins and 85 mins), Brodie Spencer (89 mins).
Line-up: Brad Snelling, Rob Evans, Liam Bush, Jordan Brooks, Josh Warren, Olly Searle (replaced by Jack Barker, 83 mins), Owen Fee, Steve Ramsey (capt), James Thomson (replaced by Bradey Norton, 65 mins), Mike Turvey (replaced by Brodie Spencer, 87 mins), Dan Wooden.
Subs not used: Efu Kazadi, Stuart McConnachie.