AFC Portchester 5 Tadley Calleva 1
AFC Portchester got back to winning ways on home soil with this comfortable victory over Tadley Calleva.
The Royals had lost three home league games in a row since victory over Horndean on December 21, as well as being knocked out of the Russell Cotes Cup by local rivals Fareham Town.
The six goals provided some warmth to the watching crowd on what was a bitterly cold evening.
Portchester made all the early running and almost took the lead on seven minutes when Steve Ramsey’s cross from the left picked out Alex Baldacchino but he put his header over from close range.
The home side did go in front on 12 minutes when they were awarded what looked a soft penalty. After breaking down the left wing the ball was played inside to Jason Parish and as he tried to turn past a defender the referee judged that he had been hauled down.
Ramsey made no mistake with his spot kick, sending keeper Jack Martin diving the wrong way as he dispatched the ball low into the corner of the net.
A flowing forward move almost brought Portchester’s second goal three minutes later when Baldacchino picked up a clearance on the halfway line and then spread the ball wide to Parish. After surging forwards towards the penalty area he crossed the ball to Nathan Paxton (pictured above), who pulled the ball back inside to Rob Evans but his shot from the edge of the box was easily saved by Martin.
After this Tadley started to come more into the game and a quickly taken free kick on 22 minutes got them in behind the home defence but Nicholas Bignall put his low shot from a tight angle into the side netting.
Two minutes later Andrew Charsley got his head to a corner from the right but the ball looped up into the air and was easily gathered by home keeper Brad Snelling.
The visitors drew level on 27 minutes when a ball from midfield sent Clive Macon racing clear and as he tried to get past Snelling inside the penalty area, the Tadley forward went down under the challenge and a penalty was awarded. Jordan Goater hit his spot kick low into the corner of the net.
However, the home side were back in front nine minutes later when Ramsey played the ball out to the left to Dan Wooden, who hit a cross to Baldacchino at the far post. After controlling the ball he cut inside his marker before dispatching his shot past Martin and into the net.
Tadley almost snatched another equaliser six minutes before half time when Macon robbed Craig Hardy of possession. However, as he looked to unleash a shot from close to the six yard box a defender got back to block the ball behind for a corner.
Portchester made a strong start to the second half by creating a series of chances shortly after the re-start.
A long throw in from the left was flicked on to Paxton, who hit a shot on goal from inside the six yard box but Martin tipped it around the post. From the corner Parish headed the ball towards goal but Martin made another save to tip it around the post.
Parish and Paxton then both had shots blocked by defenders before the ball was crossed back into the box but Wooden steered his header wide of the target.
The Royals eventually got the breakthrough they were looking for on the hour mark. A quick free kick put Parish clear in space but after his run was halted the ball fell to Wooden, who planted his shot into the net off the post.
A flowing move from midfield created Portchester’s fourth goal on 66 minutes when Patrick Hnath drove forward before crossing the ball low into the six yard box and Paxton ran in to slot the ball home from close range.
Tadley had a rare chance on 72 minutes when Goater curled his free kick from the right hand edge of the box around the defensive wall but his shot went straight at Snelling.
Substitute Joe Noakes was an instant threat on the left when he came on with his forward runs, and he set up a chance for Hnath who fired his shot against the base of the near post.
Noakes also set up a chance for Parish but the striker put his effort straight at Martin.
Portchester completed the scoring with seven minutes remaining when a ball from midfield sent Patrick Hnath racing clear and the youngster took the ball into the box, around Martin and he then rolled the ball into the empty net.
The visitors closed the evening with a half chance on 88 minutes when the ball was played inside to substitute Adam Bartlett but his low shot rolled straight through to Snelling.
GOALS: Steve Ramsey (12 mins, pen), Alex Baldacchino (36 mins), Dan Wooden (60 mins), Nathan Paxton (66 mins), Patrick Hnath (83 mins)
LINE-UP: Brad Snelling, Jack Barker, Adam Cripps, Rob Evans, Craig Hardy, Olly Searle, Nathan Paxton (replaced by Joe Noakes on 70 minutes), Steve Ramsey, Jason Parish, Alex Baldacchino (replaced by Patrick Hnath on 46 mins), Dan Wooden (replaced by Sutcha Shepherd on 75 mins).
UNUSED SUBS: Liam Bush, Brodie Spencer