AFC Portchester 6 Amesbury Town 2
AFC Portchester swept to a comfortable victory against the Sydenhams Wessex League Premier Division’s bottom side.
What was more significant about this game on March 7 - but was not known at the time - was this was to be the Royals’ last game before the shutdown caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Portchester were due to face Portland United at home on March 14 but this game was called off on the day of the game due to illness in the visiting team’s camp.
Amesbury had the first chance of the game on four minutes when when the ball was played down the centre of the pitch and Billy Connor’s shot beat keeper Brad Snelling but rolled wide of the target.
Four minutes later a free kick from the right picked out Peter Castle but he put his free header on goal wide. Castle then had another headed chance following a corner from the left but this effort went wide as well.
On 19 minutes Amesbury went close again when Ewan Haylor received the ball from the right and his shot from 25 yards out was deflected only just wide.
The home side took the lead on 38 minutes following Dan Wooden’s shot from the left hand edge of the box beating keeper Jordan Tewkesbury but it was cleared off the line by a defender.
From the corner into the near post the visitors failed to clear their lines and Alex Baldacchino forced his low shot home at the far post.
Portchester then doubled their advantage three minutes later when a defender miss-kicked his attempted clearance from a corner on the right and Castle rammed his shot home into the roof of the net.
Nathan Paxton almost made it 3-0 a minute later when he burst clear down the centre of the pitch but he put his shot straight at Tewkesbury.
Amesbury had a chance just before half time after making good progress down the left. The ball was played inside to Matthew Page but his low shot went just wide.
Portchester made a quick start to the second half and they almost scored two minutes after the re-start when Rob Evans crossed from the right and Wooden flicked his header just wide.
The visitors pulled themselves back into the game on 50 minutes when a corner to the far post picked out Zak Pickett, who had been left unmarked, and he smashed his shot into the roof of the net.
The home side were really rocking at this stage and three minutes after that goal, Haylor curled his free kick past the defensive wall and Snelling had to be at full stretch to tip his effort over the crossbar.
After Snelling partially punched the ball clear Page’s overhead kick looped just over the top and Lewis Chambers then hooked a shot past Snelling but his effort also dropped just over the crossbar.
At the other end, Parish and Wooden combined to set up a chance which saw Parish miss the target with his diving header.
Portchester restored their two goal advantage on 64 minutes when Parish was hacked down as he burst into the box and Baldacchino fired his penalty high into the net.
Substitute Patrick Hnath almost got himself on the scoresheet less than a minute after coming on when he latched on to a through ball from Parish, cut inside on the edge of the box but he hit his shot straight at Tewkesbury.
On 68 minutes the visitors almost pulled back another goal when Tyler Rutten picked up the ball in midfield and slipped a pass through to Connor, who pulled his shot past Snelling but it ran just wide of the post.
Portchester had a 4-1 advantage two minutes later when a ball down the centre of the pitch from midfield sent Wooden sprinting clear and he slammed his shot past Tewkesbury and into the net.
The home side got their fifth goal straight from the re-start when Parish chased down the ball and ran clear before hitting a shot which Tewkesbury got a hand to but he couldn’t prevent it from rolling into the net.
The Royals were threatening to run riot at this point and a cross from the right almost ran into the path of Wooden but his slide couldn’t quite apply the finishing touch to the ball.
Portchester went 6-1 up on 78 minutes when a low cross fell to Wooden and although his first shot bounced back off the keeper he made no mistake with the rebound from close range.
Two minutes later the home side threatened to score again when Hnath’s cross from the left was met by Sam Lanahan’s header, which was blocked by a defender and the follow up shot was blazed well over the top.
Parish then burst clear of the Amesbury defence again and with only Tewkesbury to beat, he lifted his shot over the target from 15 yards out. Lanahan was then set up by Hnath again but he fired his shot straight at Tewkesbury from ten yards out.
In injury time Billy Connor went down under a challenge inside the penalty area and picked himself up to fire home a low penalty which just beat Snelling.
Connor had another opportunity in the dying moments of the game when he got clear down the left but he hit his shot straight at Snelling.
GOALS: Alex Baldacchino (38 mins; pen, 64 mins), Peter Castle (41 mins), Dan Wooden (70 mins, 78 mins), Jason Parish (71 mins).
LINE-UP: Brad Snelling, Olly Searle, Ellis Martin (replaced by Joe Noakes on 46 mins), Peter Castle, Craig Hardy, Josh Hanratty, Nathan Paxton (replaced by Sam Lanahan on 77 mins), Rob Evans, Jason Parish, Alex Baldacchino (replaced by Patrick Hnath on 65 mins), Dan Wooden.
UNUSED SUBS: Jack Barker, Adam Cripps.