Solent University 3 AFC Portchester 4 (played at AFC Portchester)
Portchester picked up their fifth win in sixth games by edging out this seven goal thriller.
Although officially an away game, this encounter was switched to the Crest Finance Stadium as the university side were having problems with their home pitch.
On 19 minutes the home side played the ball up into the box and a defender got underneath the cross and headed the ball straight up into the air. It fell to Jason Parish (pictured above) six yards out but he pulled his shot across goal and wide of the far post.
The Students took the lead on 27 minutes with a fantastic finish. After quick passing through midfield, Luke Mitchell picked up the ball on the right hand edge of the penalty area and played a quick one-two before firing an unstoppable shot past keeper Brad Snelling and into the far corner of the net from 25 yards out.
However, their lead was short-lived as the Royals equalised three minutes later. Persistence on the edge of the box as the ball bounced around eventually saw it fall to Sam Lanahan and he had the time and space to stroke the ball past Dominic Oakes from 15 yards out.
The sides were level pegging for only three more minutes when the Students got their noses in front once again. The ball was picked up on the left near the half way line by James Goodey and his deep through ball picked out Ryan Penny, who got in behind the Portchester defence. He took the ball to the edge of the box before stroking his shot home past Snelling.
Portchester were chasing an equaliser again and in the closing stages of the first half, a long through ball just ran away from Dan Wooden and he then flicked a cross from the left just over the top.
The Royals dominated the start of the second half and they made it 2-2 on 50 minutes. Wooden picked up the ball in midfield and played it left to Patrick Hnath. His low cross was partially cleared but Rob Evans was waiting near the penalty spot to fire the rebound home.
After Ellis Martin curled a free kick from the edge of the box straight into the gloves of Oakes, Portchester took the lead for the first time in the game on 56 minutes.
Lanahan and Olly Searle combined down the right wing until Searle pulled a cross back towards the near post, which was partially blocked by a defender and the loose ball was tucked home by Parish.
However, the Students drew level again with their next attack two minutes later. A through ball from midfield caught the Royals’ defence out again and substitute Ethan Taylor got clear before being tackled on the edge of the penalty area.
However, the ball rolled to fellow substitute Callum Beasley, who side stepped a tackle before shooting home past Snelling.
At this stage of the game there was a real sense the result could go either way, with the Students looking more than capable of pulling off a shock victory.
On 59 minutes a long ball forward almost caught out Oakes when it plugged in the mud but he re-gathered it before Lanahan could get a touch to turn it home.
Four minutes later Oakes prevented Wooden’s header from sneaking in when he made a fine one-handed save as he dived to his right.
What proved to be the winning goal for Portchester came from the penalty spot on 72 minutes. Wooden was bundled over as tried to meet a cross into the box and Martin tucked the spot kick low into the bottom corner of the net.
The visitors were not finished yet though and they almost drew level again five minutes later. The ball was worked forward down the right and crossed to the far post where Goodey was waiting.
His shot looked to be flying into the net until Josh Hanratty somehow managed to divert the ball over the crossbar from on his own goal line, preventing a certain goal.
In the final minute Hnath’s cross set up Parish but his shot lacked the power to trouble Oakes and Joe Noakes then set up Hnath but he blazed his shot well over.
In injury time Goodey got the ball on the right and his in-swinging cross was caught by the wind and started curling towards the goal but fortunately for the home side it dropped just over the top.
GOALS: Sam Lanahan (30 mins), Rob Evans (50 mins), Jason Parish (56 mins), Ellis Martin (pen, 72 mins)
LINE-UP: Brad Snelling, Olly Searle, Ellis Martin, Peter Castle, Craig Hardy, Josh Hanratty, Rob Evans, Sam Lanahan (replaced by Joe Noakes on 59 mins), Jason Parish, Dan Wooden, Patrick Hnath.
UNUSED SUBS: Jack Barker, Liam Bush, Adam Cripps.