Shaftesbury 0 AFC Portchester 1
Portchester battled their way to another victory on the road at Shaftesbury.
It was the Royals’ fourth away win in a row and they recorded their third clean sheet in four matches too.
This was a tight affair for a large part of the game and the home side had their chances to take the lead but once the visitors wanton front they should have gone on to record a much more comfortable victory.
Shaftesbury first troubled the Portchester defence after only four minutes when Oliver Lowes tried his luck following good build up play down the left but the shot didn’t trouble keeper Brad Snelling.
Two minutes later at the other end, Adam Cripps’ cross from the left was only cleared as far as Rob Evans on the edge of the penalty area and after he went past his marker, he hit a shot which went just over the crossbar.
On eight minutes, Shaftesbury had what proved to be their best chance of the game. Aaron Laney burst clear into the left hand side of the penalty area and unleashed a shot which Snelling diverted onto the crossbar and behind for a corner.
Four minutes later Sam Herrington took a free kick from 20 yards out but his effort hit the head of a defender in the wall and it looped up over the target.
On 17 minutes Portchester won a free kick on the right hand edge of the box. Ellis Martin hit a low shot which keeper Dan Card initially spilled but he gathered up the ball before any visiting players could pounce on it.
On 24 minutes the home side got clear down the left hand side again and Lowes’ low shot from inside the penalty area had to be turned away by Snelling.
Shaftesbury scored from the corner when the ball was headed home but it was ruled out for a clear shove on Snelling as the ball came into the six yard box.
A great move between Jason Parish and Owen Fee deserved a goal on 31 minutes. After the two players had exchanged passes, Fee breezed past two defenders but just as he looked to finish off the move a defender recovered to toe poke the ball away from his foot.
On the stroke of half time Jack Mitchell robbed Cripps of possession and then went past Liam Bush into the box. However, his shot lacked any power and Snelling easily gathered it up.
The home side went close again four minutes into the second half when Laney chased after a long through ball, cut inside his marker before hitting a low shot which Snelling had to get down sharply to to keep out.
Portchester got the only goal of the game on 59 minutes when Martin took a quick free kick on the half way line and his lofted pass found Fee on the right.
He cut inside towards the edge of the box before unleashing a shot which flew past Card and into the roof of the net.
Two minutes later the visitors should have doubled their lead when Parish was sent clear inside the box but he miss-kicked his effort and put it wide.
On 70 minutes Bush’s clearance sent Fee through one-on-one with the keeper but his shot hit Card in the chest. Three minutes later Patrick Hnath pulled the ball back from the left to Parish, whose curling, goalbound shot was headed clear by a defender.
Card was called into action again when he had to push away a shot from Martin. The ball was then worked to the right and after bursting forward Fee hit a shot across the keeper but it bounced away off the far post.
On 81 minutes Fee’s cross picked out Parish but he headed it back to where it had come from rather than into the net. Two minutes later Parish had another opportunity after beating a defender but he curled his effort from the edge of the box narrowly wide.
On 86 minutes Martin’s deep free kick picked out Parish and he played the ball into the path of Brodie Spencer but the substitute completely missed the ball. He had another chance shortly after this but Card made a fine one handed save to keep his effort out.
Hnath should have scored when he drove into the box but he blasted the ball into the side netting from six yards out and substitute George Murage had two shots from inside the six yard box blocked to prevent him from scoring too.
Shaftesbury almost snatched an equaliser in stoppage time when the ball was worked across the edge of the box following a throw in on the right. Nick Hewlett fired a low shot through a crowd of players but Snelling got down quickly to make a fine save.
GOAL: Owen Fee (59 mins)
LINE-UP: Brad Snelling, Reece Colebourne (replaced by Jack Barker on 53 minutes), Liam Bush, Adam Cripps, Ellis Martin, Olly Searle, Owen Fee, Rob Evans, Jason Parish (replaced by George Murage on 87 mins), Alex Baldacchino (replaced by Brodie Spencer on 74 mins), Patrick Hnath.
UNUSED SUBSTITUTE: Stuart McConnachie