Fleet Town 2 AFC Portchester 2
AFC Portchester had to settle for a point from their trip to Fleet Town.
They looked to be heading for a comfortable victory until the game exploded into life in the final 13 minutes - when there were three goals scored and two red cards shown.
Fleet had the first chance of the game after only two minutes when a throw in from the right bounced through to Dan Bone and his shot went narrowly wide.
Three minutes later Jason Parish was bundled over near the left edge of the penalty area and Ellis Martin’s free kick beat keeper Aiden Upward but narrowly went over the crossbar.
A minute after this at the other end Malachi Thomas fired off a shot from the edge of the box which keeper Brad Snelling spilled but then gathered up at the second attempt.
On nine minutes Rob Evans was sent scampering clear down the right and his cross into the near post picked out Parish, whose flicked header was blocked by Upward on the line and the loose ball was hacked clear to safety.
Portchester eventually broke the deadlock on 17 minutes when Parish was put clear down the right and his cross to the far post was converted by Steve Ramsey from close range.
Two minutes later Adam Cripps intercepted the ball in midfield and drove forward with it but his shot went straight into Upward’s gloves.
Fleet tried their luck again from just outside the box and Snelling watched Kieran Nagle-Kelly’s shot sail over the top, while at the other end Parish flicked a long clearance on into the path of Nathan Paxton but he shot straight at Upward.
On 32 minutes Patrick Hnath beat his marker on the left, cut inside before hitting his shot narrowly wide and shortly before half time Ude Osim’s free kick from the edge of the box curled past the defensive wall and Snelling had to tip it over the crossbar.
Portchester almost doubled their lead three minutes into the second half when Hnath met a cross from the right but his shot was blocked. Evans hit a follow up effort straight against another defender and the danger was then cleared.
After one of the home side’s coaching staff was sent off, Portchester missed a glorious chance to double their advantage on 67 minutes. Paxton slid the ball through to Evans, who ran on for a one-on-one chance against Upward but the keeper blocked his effort on goal.
Fleet substitute Billy Oram flicked his header just wide and at the other end Craig Hardy’s header went the same way before the game exploded into life during its final stages.
Portchester should have been awarded a penalty on 77 minutes when a defensive error allowed Paxton to get in behind the home defence and as he shaped to shoot, it clearly looked like he had his legs taken from underneath him.
However, nothing was given and the home side quickly broke down the other end and Bone smashed home a cross from the right.
The home side took a shock lead four minutes later, again from the same combination as their first goal - low ball into the box from the right and Bone tucking his close range shot home.
Portchester got themselves back on level terms two minutes later following a cross into the box from the left and when the home side failed to clear their lines, Parish knocked the ball home from close range.
The visitors almost only needed another minute to score again when Paxton crossed from the right and Evans’ shot was blocked before Upward made a point blank save from Parish’s follow up effort.
A corner to the far post was headed down by Peter Castle but Upward tipped it over the target.
With two minutes remaining both sides had a player sent off when Ramsey tried to get the game re-started quickly after winning a free kick.
A shoving match ensued as he tried to retrieve the ball and the referee deemed that Ramsey and Cav Atkinson deserved red cards for incidents they became involved in.
GOALS: Steve Ramsey (17 mins), Jason Parish (83 mins) .
LINE-UP: Brad Snelling, Olly Searle, Ellis Martin, Peter Castle, Craig Hardy, Adam Cripps (replaced by Alex Baldacchino on 70 mins), Rob Evans, Steve Ramsey, Jason Parish, Nathan Paxton, Patrick Hnath.
UNUSED SUBS: Jack Barker, Liam Bush, Sutcha Shepherd