AFC Portchester 3 Hamworthy United 2
AFC Portchester staged a late comeback for the second Saturday running to ensure they picked up all three points.
The Royals were comfortable after taking the lead in the first half but once the visitors got their noses in front, it looked like the home side were heading for defeat and a huge blow to their promotion chances.
However, they showed their battling qualities once again to turn the game back in their favour and then hold on in the closing stages to secure the victory.
The visitors should have taken the lead after eight minutes when a throw in from the right was knocked down into the path of Eddie Hodge. He tried to place his first time shot from ten yards out into the top corner but his rising effort was too high.
Portchester took the lead two minutes later. A throw in on the left from Adam Cripps found Dan Wooden inside the box and he worked some space to try and fire off a shot.
He didn’t catch the ball as he would have liked but his shot rolled into the path of Nathan Paxton and he ran in to fire a shot home from five yards out.
On 13 minutes Wooden won the ball on the left wing and after cutting inside he pulled the ball back across the edge of the box to Rob Evans but he hit his low shot straight at keeper Tom Rees.
Two minutes later Hamworthy created another chance when Connor Cocklin was sent racing clear from the half way line and he drove forwards into the penalty area. However, with just keeper Brad Snelling to beat he pulled his shot well wide.
On 19 minutes Ollie Davis beat Liam Bush on the right and sent his cross in towards goal and Jordan Rose had to get back to clear the ball off the line.
Three minutes later there was a chance at the other end when Rees tried to punch clear a corner from the left and the ball fell to Craig Hardy six yards out but he skied his shot over the target.
A drop ball almost undid the home defence on 26 minutes when Jamie Beasley’s cross-field ball flew across the six yard box but there was no Hamworthy player there to take advantage of the chance.
The visitors did draw level on 35 minutes after Wooden had tried to latch on to Steve Ramsey’s through ball but Rees cleared the danger.
The ball was then played in over the top of the home defence and Lee Francis latched on to it before slotting the ball home past Snelling.
Portchester had the first opportunity of the second half on 56 minutes when Wooden played a cross from a free kick back across the six yard box but Paxton put his header wide.
On the hour mark, the home defence initially dealt with a Hamworthy free kick from the left but the visitors won back possession and after Hodge had worked some space inside the penalty area to shoot, he curled his shot just wide.
Hamworthy took the lead on 63 minutes when Beasley picked up the ball on the left and had the time and space to send in a cross to the far post and Hodge smashed his shot home off the underside of the crossbar.
Things were looking bleak at this stage for the home side but they continued to create half chances to try and get themselves back into the game.
On 68 minutes Wooden latched on to a ball down the right and crossed it to the far post into the path of Bush but there was no power behind his shot and Rees gathered the ball up easily.
Portchester begun the process of turning this game around on 74 minutes when they drew level again. After an initial attack on the left the ball was crossed back into the box from the right and Paxton managed to fire off a shot on goal from near the penalty spot.
Rees parried his effort but it went straight to Wooden and he turned the rebound home from six yards out.
The Royals went 3-2 up four minutes later when Ramsey crossed his corner from the left to the far post and Hardy’s header bounced into the net.
Hardy almost snatched his second four minutes later from another corner to the far post but as he slid in on the loose ball his shot cannoned back off the post.
With four minutes remaining Wooden went close to netting his second goal of the game when he was put clear from the half way line but as he shaped to knock the ball past Rees, a defender got back to block the shot behind for a corner.
In the final minute Wooden picked up a cross from the right inside the penalty area but he drilled his shot wide of the post.
GOALS: Nathan Paxton (10 mins), Dan Wooden (74 mins), Craig Hardy (78 mins)
LINE-UP: Brad Snelling, Jack Barker, Liam Bush, Rob Evans, Craig Hardy, Jordan Rose, Nathan Paxton, Steve Ramsey, Jason Parish, Adam Cripps, Dan Wooden.
SUBS NOT USED: Brodie Spencer, Reece Colbourne, Sam Lanahan, Sutcha Shepherd.