AFC Portchester 2 Hythe and Dibden 2
Portchester snatched a late equaliser in Saturday’s tie to give themselves another chance of progressing in the FA Cup.
However, it was a chance they didn’t really deserve after their Wessex Division 1 visitors made it a torrid afternoon for the home side.
The Royals can count themselves lucky to have forced a replay from this Extra Preliminary Round tie - which will be played this coming Tuesday at Hythe (kick-off 7.45pm).
Lady luck certainly wasn’t smiling on Portchester until the closing stages of the game. The first 15 minutes or so went the home side’s way but after taking an early lead, the Royals went in at half time 2-1 down with two players having to be substituted due to injury.
On five minutes Ellis Martin, making his debut after signing from Chichester City, got clear down the left before playing the ball to Mike Turvey.
He beat two players before trying to curl a low shot into the net but it went straight into the hands of keeper Josh Cotton.
Two minutes later Dan Wooden found some space in the box and tried to place his shot into the net but it went just wide.
Portchester took the lead on 13 minutes when Martin put Owen Fee clear down the left. He cut inside the penalty area before pulling the ball back to Steve Ramsey on the edge of the box and he rifled his shot into the net.
Hythe fired a warning shot of what was to come when they worked the ball up to the edge of the box but Cain Prentice couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet. The ball rolled into the path of Zak Willis who hit a shot which keeper Brad Snelling had to push over the crossbar.
The visitors were back on level terms on 20 minutes when they again worked the ball up to the edge of the penalty area. This time it ran to Willis and his low first time shot was propelled into the net by the gale force wind which blew continuously throughout the match.
Three minutes later and the home side lost Ramsey to injury before Willis had another opportunity to score but Snelling gathered up his shot at the second attempt.
Hythe took the lead on 33 minutes from a move which started in their own half. They surged forward and the ball found Sam Woodward inside the box. His goalbound shot was blocked by Snelling but Filippos Terzidis was first to reach the rebound and he smashed a low first time shot into the net.
Wooden almost got the home side back level immediately when his free kick from the edge of the box left Cotton rooted to the spot but it just missed the target before Wooden had to leave the field injured.
The visitors almost made it 3-1 when Terzidis put Woodward clear inside the box but Snelling blocked his low shot with his legs.
At the beginning of the second half substitute James Thomson had two good opportunities to equalise for Portchester but both of his efforts lacked the power to trouble Cotton. A cross-shot by Martin almost snuck in at the near post too.
At the other end though, the visitors continued to get in behind the home defence and Willis fired into the side netting when the better option was to square the ball to one of his team mates in front of goal.
Portchester had a decent opportunity to score when Martin’s cross was flicked on by Thomson to Fee and Cotton had to push his shot away.
On 69 minutes Hythe almost got their third when former Southampton player Jo Tessem tried to fire home a free kick from out wide on the right but Snelling was alert to the danger and tipped his shot over the top.
It looked like it wasn’t Portchester’s day at all on 78 minutes - even though they won a penalty when Turvey was shoved to the ground as he chased a loose ball. Thomson took the spot kick but blasted it well wide of the goal.
Three minutes later Hythe won a corner on the right and when it was crossed into the box Prentice had a free header but his effort dropped wide.
Fortune finally went Portchester’s way when they forced an equaliser with six minutes remaining. Thomson picked up the ball in the left hand side of the box and as he drove towards goal he was sent tumbling by a tackle.
This time Martin was on spot kick duties and he blasted the ball home into the net.
The outcome was harsh on the visitors but the two sides will battle it out again on Tuesday evening, with the winners at home to Horndean in the next round.
Goals: Steve Ramsey (13 mins), Ellis Martin (pen, 84 mins)
Line-up: Brad Snelling, Rob Evans, Ellis Martin, Jordan Brooks (replaced by Stuart McConnachie on 61 mins), Jack Barker, Olly Searle, Mike Turvey, Steve Ramsey (replaced by Jack Breed on 23 mins), Nathan Paxton, Owen Fee, Dan Wooden (replaced by James Thomson on 38 mins).
Subs not used: Brodie Spencer, Bradey Norton, Liam Bush, Adam Cripps.