Jay Rowland gives his assessment of how the season has gone so far for AFC Portchester. (Pictures by Jordan Colborne)
Now we are well into the festivities of December, AFC Portchester find themselves in a very comfortable position in the Sydenhams Wessex League Premier Division.
The Royals currently sit third in the division, level on points with fourth placed Hamble Club. Even better, they sit only a point behind second placed AFC Stoneham with two games in hand over the Eastleigh-based outfit.
It’s been a fantastic effort from everyone involved with AFC Portchester so far, however the season is not over yet. A busy Christmas and new year’s schedule sees the Royals play six league games in the space of a month.
The stand out game in this run of fixtures is a home encounter against league leaders Alresford Town, who sit six points clear of the pack.
However, they are in a spot of indifferent form, which will give the Royals some hope for an upset and a chance to close in on top spot.
Portchester boast the second-highest goal difference in the division, with no small part played by Dan Wooden, who has notched 12 goals in only 14 league starts.
The striker sits fifth in the division’s top scorers standings and has had a terrific season, winning the club’s Player of the Month award in October.
Portchester’s future looks bright with the recent introduction of young talented winger Patrik Hnath. The fleet-footed youngster has only featured five times in the league this season, once from the bench, but has made a serious impact in his time on the pitch.
Starting in the local derby against Fareham Town, he mesmerised the crowd with a mazy run down the touchline before squaring the ball brilliantly for Jason Parish to tap home.
His only goal this season was a wonderful effort in the Portsmouth Senior Cup against Denmead, which the Royals unfortunately lost on penalties.
Goalkeeper Brad Snelling has been another candidate strongly in the running for a potential Player of the Season award if he continues in his current form.
The shot-stopper has had a phenomenal season between the sticks, with recent heroics away to Shaftesbury preserving a vital 1-0 victory on the road – one of his many standout performances – as well as picking up the August Player of the Month award for outstanding performances in the Royals good start to the campaign.
Portchester’s next game, their last before Christmas Day, is a home game against ninth-placed Horndean, the first meeting between the sides this season.
Be sure to get down to the Crest Finance Stadium to support the lads as they look to continue their good run of form.