Hythe and Dibden 2 AFC Portchester 3
It was a case of third time lucky for Portchester after they overcame the challenge of Hythe and Dibden in the FA Vase on Saturday.
Hythe had already enjoyed a draw and victory over the Royals in the FA Cup this season so the visitors were keen to ensure the Wessex Division 1 side didn’t get the better of them again.
Portchester produced their best 45 minute display of the season so far in the first half when they nullified the home side’s game of passing their way out of defence and then setting their powerful attackers clear up front.
Mick Catlin’s side let a two goal lead slip in the second half before they netted a late winner to book their place in the First Round Proper of the national cup competition.
The Royals pressed the home side back relentlessly in the first half and if they had taken the chances they created they could easily have been four or five goals to the good by the interval.
In the opening minute a deep free kick from the right was knocked back across goal by Nathan Paxton but Dan Wooden couldn’t put his header on target.
A minute later the visitors had the ball in the net when Steve Ramsey scored after winning possession of a long throw in into the box but he was adjudged to have handled the ball.
A break down the right then saw Owen Fee picked out by the cross to the far post but he took too long to fire off a shot and a defender blocked his effort on goal.
Hythe showed what they are capable of on eight minutes when they won the ball in midfield and a pass put Zac Willis clear of the defence but when he got to the edge of the area he lifted his shot over the goal.
Another long throw in caused problems in the Hythe box but Wooden couldn’t get the power or direction on his shot to force the ball home.
Ramsey then had a shot blocked by a defender’s outstretched leg and another long throw in found Wooden in front of goal and keeper Josh Cotton had to make a fine one handed save to block his header.
Another long throw in from the right lead to Portchester opening the scoring on 31 minutes. As Ramsey tried to control the ball inside the penalty area he was shoved to the ground and he then picked himself up to fire the penalty past Cotton’s dive.
The visitors continued to create chances - Rob Evans fired well over when a pass picked him out inside the box and Mike Turvey then put Fee clear but his shot went just wide of the far corner.
A corner from the right then picked out Paxton and his rising shot was well saved by Cotton but the visitors should have had another penalty awarded to them on the stroke of half time.
Cotton spilled Ellis Martin’s free kick from the edge of the box but recovered to block Paxton’s attempt to turn the loose ball home. As Wooden tried to get to the rebound it looked like he was sent tumbling by a tackle but the referee didn’t point to the spot and then sent him to the sin bin - the first Portchester player to be sent to the sin bin.
The home side made a better start to the second half but they found themselves 2-0 down after 54 minutes.
Turvey picked up the ball and then passed it to the right where Fee was trying to get in behind the defence and he was chopped down just inside the box. Ramsey made no mistake with his spot kick - which again had the power and direction to beat Cotton.
Evans and Turvey both missed with long range efforts and the home side were still unable to put much pressure on the Portchester goal until two substitutions midway through the half seemed to change the direction of this match.
Cain Prentice almost pulled a goal back for Hythe on 71 minutes when he was put clear down the right but Brad Snelling came off his line quickly to block the ball with his legs.
Portchester should have made it 3-0 two minutes later when substitute Bradey Norton cut it from the left and picked out Wooden with a low ball but his low shot was turned around the post by Cotton.
Hythe got their first goal on 75 minutes when Sam Woodward chased after a ball down the middle and his shot was blocked by Snelling. However, the home side surged forward again and this time Christos Papakonstantinou picked up the ball and dispatched his shot past Snelling and into the net.
The home side almost equalised four minutes later when Woodward’s free kick from the edge of the box was excellently tipped around the post by Snelling and the corner found Tom Switzer unmarked in front of goal but he directed his header wide.
Before play re-started Portchester lost another man to the sin bin when Martin was forced to sit out the final ten minutes of the game.
Portchester almost restored their two goal advantage when Cotton got down well to smother Fee’s low effort and the keeper was called on again to make a point blank save from Wooden’s shot.
However, the home side made it 2-2 with five minutes remaining when they won what looked a dubious penalty. Prentice went down under a challenge as he went into the box and former Southampton Premier League star Jo Tessem fired home the penalty.
At this stage, with the momentum totally with the home side and the visitors still down to ten men, Hythe looked likely to be the winners but Portchester snatched the victory from them a minute from the end.
Norton and Fee combined to get the ball forward down the right before a pass was played inside to Turvey. He cut inside his marker before curling a low shot past Cotton and into the far corner of the net.
The home side almost took the game into extra time in the third minute of injury time when they worked the ball down the right and a cross was diverted towards his own goal by Martin. However, Snelling managed to stretch out a leg to divert the ball wide of the goal.
GOALS: Steve Ramsey (pen 31 mins, pen 54 mins), Mike Turvey (89 mins).
LINE-UP: Brad Snelling, Jack Barker, Liam Bush, Rob Evans, Josh Warren, Ellis Martin, Nathan Paxton (replaced by Bradey Norton on 72 mins), Steve Ramsey (replaced by Jordan Brooks on 68 mins), Dan Wooden, Mike Turvey, Owen Fee.
UNUSED SUBS: James Thomson, Olly Searle, George Murage.