AFC Portchester 4 Sandhurst Town 0
AFC Portchester kicked-off the 2020-21 campaign with a comfortable victory in the FA Cup over Sandhurst Town on Tuesday evening.
The half time scoreline of 1-0 to the home side reflected what had been a fairly even and open 45 minutes, with both teams creating decent chances on goal.
But three goals in six second half minutes ensured the Royals booked a trip to Wimborne Town in the Preliminary Round of the competition on September 12.
Portchester’s starting 11 included six players making their debuts for the club - Liam Hibberd, Luke Dempsey, Joe Chamberlain, Craig Harding, Lee Wort and Toby Adekunle - and all impressed in their first competitive performance.
The home side went close to taking the lead on seven minutes when Adekunle sent in a low cross across the face of goal from the right. Rob Evans slid in but just missed the ball, which then hit a defender and keeper Sonny Wheeler gathered up the ball as it rolled towards goal.
At the other end home keeper Brad Snelling had to be alert to cut out a dangerous looking cross from the right before Harding fed a pass through to Wort but he lost possession as he tried to cut inside the last defender.
On 20 minutes Sandhurst created their first chance of the evening when the ball was played inside from the left to Jack Sharman but his low shot from 30 yards out was easily gathered by Snelling.
On 26 minutes Harding and Wort combined again to set up a chance, with Wort spotting the keeper off his line but his first time shot from the edge of the box went well over.
Two minutes later a dangerous Sandhurst cross from the right beat Snelling and Dempsey had to head clear from close to his own goal line before any visiting players could get to the ball.
On 32 minutes Harding was put clear after Portchester won possession in midfield. He played the ball into the path of Chamberlain, who tried to guide his shot into the net but Wheeler gathered the ball up easily. A minute later Wort had another shot on goal which Wheeler had to tip over the crossbar.
Sandhurst then had the ball in the net but the goal was ruled out for offside and youngster Joe Johnson replaced Josh Hanratty, who left the field after receiving lengthy treatment for an injury.
Johnson made an instant impact by firing Portchester into the lead two minutes into injury time at the end of the first half.
He picked up the ball after it was worked forward from midfield down the left, and after making his way to the left hand edge of the penalty area he beat Wheeler with a low shot inside his near post.
Wort almost doubled the home side’s lead three minutes later when he raced clear but after drawing the keeper off his line, Wheeler managed to tip his goal-bound shot around the post.
A long ball forward created another half chance for the visitors moments before the whistle for half time sounded but Haydon Richardson dragged his shot into the side netting.
There was a lively start to the second half with Jordan Smith having the first chance for the visitors but he put his low shot wide. At the other end Chamberlain’s close range headed goal was ruled out for offside.
A cross from the right then picked out Wort at the near post and after turning past his marker, Wheeler had to beat away his low shot.
The Royals then went on their six minute scoring spree. On 52 minutes, Evans’ free kick from the right to the far post was headed back across goal by Peter Castle and Harding was in the right place to fire the ball home into the roof of the net.
Three minutes later Wort’s cross was turned back across goal from the far post into the path of Evans who drilled the ball into the net from six yards out.
The scoring for the evening was completed on 58 minutes when a sweeping move forward down the right was finished off when Adekunle’s low cross into the near post was tucked away by Harding from close range.
Portchester almost got a fifth goal three minutes later when Adam Cripps floated a deep free kick towards goal from wide on the left and Wheeler appeared to momentarily lose track of the flight of the ball but he recovered to tip it over the crossbar.
Sandhurst had a chance to score on 68 minutes when Smith’s cross from the right was turned back across the penalty area and Amin Khomsi’s header was deflected wide.
Smith put another inviting cross into the six yard box which no one could apply the finishing touch to and another of his crosses found substitute Sudhan Limbu on the edge of the box and his curling shot had to be acrobatically tipped over the crossbar by Snelling.
Brad Snelling, Liam Hibberd, Adam Cripps, Peter Castle, Luke Dempsey (replaced by Craig Hardy on 75 mins), Joe Chamberlain, Rob Evans (captain), Josh Hanratty (replaced by Joe Johnson on 41 mins), Craig Harding (replaced by Lee Molyneaux on 71 mins), Lee Wort, Toby Adekunle.
Subs not used: Alex Baldacchino, Olly Searle, Patrick Hnath, Cameron Scott.
Goals: Joe Johnson (45+2 mins), Craig Harding (52 mins and 58 mins), Rob Evans (55 mins).