AFC Portchester 1 AFC Stoneham 2
AFC Portchester were dealt another blow to their title chances by one of the leading Sydenhams Wessex League Premier Division sides on home soil.
In the previous home game to this one, leaders Alresford Town left the Crest Finance Stadium with all three points, and this time it was the turn of second placed Stoneham to inflict defeat on the Royals.
As in the game against Alresford, this one was another tight, tense 90 minutes and Portchester again felt they should have come away with something from this encounter.
But they were the losers by a single goal again and will now have to win the games they have on the sides around them to close up to the promotion positions once again.
Stoneham almost snatched the lead after only two minutes when a free kick from the left picked out Callum Laycock and he put his header against the crossbar before the ball bounced down and was hacked away to safety.
Two minutes later it was the home side’s turn to go close to breaking the deadlock. A cross into the box was only partially cleared as far as Adam Cripps, who pulled the ball back to Owen Fee and his shot had to be pushed away by keeper Tom Parker-Trott diving to his left.
Stoneham had another good chance on 12 minutes when they broke forward down the right when Ellis Martin slipped over and although Laycock raced clear he blazed his shot well over after driving forward into the box.
Portchester then had another chance of their own on 20 minutes when a ball over the top of the Stoneham defence was controlled by Fee on the edge of the penalty area but he was brought down as he looked to take the ball forward.
Martin took the resulting free kick but he curled his effort over the top.
The visitors took the lead on the half hour mark when the ball was played out to the left in midfield. Laycock drove forward and then slipped a pass to Scott Hills inside the box and he drove a low shot from eight yards out through keeper Brad Snelling’s legs and into the net.
Stoneham could have extended their lead three minutes later when they broke forward from midfield again and eventually the ball was slipped through to Nathan Clements on the left hand side of the penalty area but he hit his shot into the side netting.
Portchester equalised on 38 minutes thanks to a little bit of assistance from the blustery conditions. An in-swinging corner from the right was blown towards the net by a gust of wind. Tom Parker-Trott managed to parry the ball on the line as he tried to keep it out but Sam Lanahan was in the right place to step in and nod the ball over the line from two yards out.
Two minutes before the interval Ramsey picked up the ball 25 yards out and fired off a shot which was deflected but it rolled through to Tom Parker-Trott.
The home side had the first chance of the second half six minutes after the restart when after breaking through down the left the ball was played across the box to Searle but he blazed his shot well over.
Stoneham went back in front on 54 minutes when the windy conditions worked in their favour. Mat Bainbridge got the ball on the edge of the box and hit his shot past the defenders. A gust of wind got behind the ball and it flew into the net past Snelling.
Portchester would have been level just a minute later if it wasn’t for the visiting keeper. A free kick from the right picked out Lanahan inside the box and his low header looked to be going in until Tom Parker-Trott dived full length to his left to keep the ball out.
Tom Parker-Trott was called into action again on 58 minutes when Dan Wooden got clear down the left and hit a low shot which the keeper had to push away at his near post.
Portchester had another chance on 65 minutes when substitute Patrick Hnath nodded on a throw in from the left into the path of Jason Parish but his shot was blocked as it looked to be heading towards goal.
Two minutes later the home side thought they had equalised when Ramsey sent his free kick from 20 yards out flying towards the top corner but Tom Parker-Trott dived up to his left to push the goal-bound effort over the crossbar.
Stoneham looked dangerous on the break in the closing stages as Portchester pushed forward in search of an equaliser.
On 76 minutes Clements latched on to a long ball hacked forward and took it inside the penalty area before trying to hit his shot across the goal but it went high and wide of the target.
With four minutes remaining a clearance from a corner fell to substitute Tom Hogan as he raced forward but Snelling got off his line quickly enough to snuff out the danger.
GOAL: Sam Lanahan (38 mins)
LINE-UP: Brad Snelling, Jack Barker, Adam Cripps (replaced by Brodie Spencer on 78 mins), Sam Lanahan (replaced by Sucha Shepherd on 56 mins), Ellis Martin, Olly Searle, Rob Evans, Steve Ramsey, Dan Wooden, Jason Parish, Owen Fee (replaced by Patrick Hnath on 56 mins).
UNUSED SUBS: Liam Bush, Stuart McConnachie.