AFC Portchester 3 Fleet Town 1
AFC Portchester opened their Sydenhams Wessex League Premier Division 2020-21 campaign with three points on Saturday.
The Royals raced into a 3-0 lead inside the first 18 minutes of the game and they were rarely troubled by the visitors in the remaining 72 minutes, despite being reduced to ten men.
Fleet had the first chances to open the scoring after only two minutes when a cross from the right bounced into the six yard box. Joe Chamberlain had to be alert to flick the ball away for a corner as Dan Bone waited to pounce.
The resulting corner was dummied at the near post by Jake Hammond and the home defence watched the cross bounce into the side netting.
The home side opened the scoring two minutes later when Liam Hibberd’s perfect through ball sent Joe Johnson racing clear of the visiting defence. He took the ball into the left hand side of the penalty area before dispatching his low shot past Harry Nash and into the far corner of the net.
Lee Wort (pictured above) had a goal disallowed for offside on 11 minutes and three minutes later Steve Ramsey’s cross from the right picked out Rob Evans but his header hit the inside of the post and was eventually cleared to safety.
Portchester doubled their advantage after 16 minutes when Wort was sent clear of the Fleet defence with a through ball from midfield, and after getting past the last defender and driving into the box, he hit a low shot under Nash and into the net.
It was 3-0 two minutes later when Adam Cripps’ long throw in from the right to the near post was knocked down by Peter Castle and Ramsey (pictured below) reacted quickest to get to the loose ball and fire it across goal into the net from close range.
Darrell Brown went close for Fleet on 29 minutes when a corner was cleared to him on the edge of the box and his shot dropped just wide of the post.
Two minutes later a quick break down the right by the visitors saw Daytroy Thomas play the ball inside to Taylor Watts, whose shot flashed across the face of goal but went wide.
On 39 minutes Fleet forced Brad Snelling into making a save when Thomas cut in from the right to the edge of the box and his shot was pushed around the post by the home keeper diving to his right.
Four minutes later Portchester had what looked a clear penalty turned down by the referee after Craig Harding was put clear of the Fleet defence. After taking the ball into the box and shaping to shoot a defender’s sliding tackle appeared to take out the home striker but the match official waved away the protests.
The direction of the game changed somewhat ten minutes into the second half when Castle picked up his second yellow card and Portchester were reduced to ten men. The home side immediately replaced Johnson with defender Craig Hardy to shore up their defence and they seemed content to see out the rest of the game by containing the visitors.
The Royals almost made it 4-0 on 62 minutes when Ramsey got clear on the left and his cross picked out Wort on the far post. The striker prodded his shot towards goal and Nash had to push his effort around the post.
Five minutes later the same players combined again and Wort’s goal-bound effort was deflected wide by a defender.
Fleet’s chance on 79 minutes came from a Portchester attack which was only thwarted by the last defender as Wort looked to race clear. The ball eventually found Tom Wensley 25 yards out but his shot was easily saved by Snelling to his left.
The visitors went close to scoring on 84 minutes when substitute Matt Pearse beat Snelling to a through ball on the edge of the penalty area but a home defender got back to clear the loose ball.
Fleet got on the scoresheet four minutes later thanks to a quality finish. Brown got clear down the right and crossed the ball perfectly to substitute Aaron Redford, whose first time volley flew back across the goal and into the corner of the net, with Snelling only able to watch it fly in.
Line-up: Brad Snelling, Liam Hibberd, Adam Cripps, Peter Castle, Luke Dempsey, Joe Chamberlain, Rob Evans, Steve Ramsey (capt), Craig Harding (replaced by Lee Molyneaux on 70 mins), Lee Wort (replaced by Olly Searle on 90 mins), Joe Johnson (replaced by Craig Hardy on 55 mins).
Subs not used: Patrick Hnath, Cameron Scott.
Goals: Joe Johnson (4 mins), Lee Wort (16 mins), Steve Ramsey (18 mins).