AFC Portchester 0 Fareham Town 1
It is somewhat ironic that in the week of Hallowe’en, this El Creekio defeat was something of a statistical nightmare for Portchester.
Fareham became the first side this season to prevent the Royals from scoring in a match as they snatched victory thanks to a goal of their own in the 85th minute.
In 20 games before the derby clash so far in the 2019-20 campaign, Portchester hadn’t failed to find the back of the net but on Tuesday night they rarely threatened to continue their goalscoring run.
This loss also ended an unbeaten run of nine matches and it was only the Royals’ second defeat in any competition since the end of August.
The much anticipated derby proved to be a disappointing spectacle for the crowd of over 200 - two sides who scored ten goals between them at the weekend produced a scrappy, disjointed game with neither side really able to break free from the shackles their opponents put on them.
Dan Wooden got clear of the Fareham defence after three minutes when Steve Ramsey headed on a throw in from the right but he screwed his shot well wide.
On 14 minutes Rob Evans hit a pacey cross into the six yard box from the right but the ball was diverted up into the air rather than towards the target.
Fareham’s first half chance of the night came on 21 minutes when a free kick from the right picked out Archie Wilcox but he put his header wide.
Three minutes later a long clearance by the Fareham keeper Declan McCarthy fell to Josh Benfield after a miss-kick by a home defender but he hit his shot straight at Royals stopper Brad Snelling.
A minute later Benfield was sent clear into the penalty area by Luke Spade but his shot across Snelling went wide of the far post.
On the half hour mark a cross from the right found Nathan Paxton at the far post but his header dropped into the hands of McCarthy.
Paxton went close to breaking the deadlock four minutes later when he picked up a loose ball in midfield and when he spotted McCarthy off his line, he sent his shot past the keeper but it drifted wide of the target.
The start of the second half brought more half chances for both sides - Wooden headed straight at McCarthy and Snelling got out quickly to smother the ball at the feet of Lewis Stockford as he tried to burst clear inside the penalty area.
Portchester had a decent chance on 55 minutes when a defender partially blocked Owen Fee’s cross from the left. The ball bounced up towards Wooden at the near post but he wasn’t able to apply a strong touch to the ball.
On the hour mark Fareham had their best chance of the game so far when a free kick from the right was knocked back across towards Wilcox who from ten yards out unleashed a ferocious shot which a defender blocked behind for a corner.
On 68 minutes an attack down the right by the visitors led to a cross into the box which fell to Benfield, who shot through a crowd of players but the ball went straight at Snelling.
A minute later at the other end, Wooden chased after a deep cross from the right and played it back across goal on to the head of Paxton but he couldn’t keep his header down and it went well over the target from a few yards out.
On 75 minutes Snelling produced a fantastic save to prevent Fareham taking the lead. Connor Messingbird got clear down the right and pulled his cross back into the path of Benfield and from close range he tried to hit the ball home but somehow the home keeper spread his body to prevent it from crossing the line.
With six minute remaining home captain Ramsey was sent to the sin bin for something he said to the referee and a minute later Fareham netted what proved to be the winner.
After working the ball down the right wing, a throw in was knocked on across the penalty area where it dropped to William Harris and he quickly unleashed a low shot which flew into the net.
There was no way back for Portchester after this - the closest they got was when Wooden got on the ball, took it inside his marker and tried to dink a shot past McCarthy but it went straight into the keeper’s hands.
LINE-UP: Brad Snelling, Olly Searle, Ellis Martin, Adam Cripps, Josh Warren (replaced by Liam Bush on 48 mins), Callum Chugg, Rob Evans, Steve Ramsey, Dan Wooden, Nathan Paxton, Owen Fee (replaced by George Murage on 75 mins).
UNUSED SUBS: Brodie Spencer, Jordan Brooks, Jack Barker.