AFC Portchester 2 Horndean 3
AFC Portchester were sent tumbling out of the Sydenhams Wessex League Cup by a goal nine minutes before full time.
Both sides were much changed from their usual first team line-ups, with both managers using the game to run the rule on their squad players and up and coming youngsters.
Harvey Clark, Casey Greaves, Patrick Hnath and Joe Johnson were all included by boss Mick Catlin in his starting line up, with Harvey Aston coming off the bench in the second half.
Both sides traded chances in the first half, with the first opportunity going to the Royals on seven minutes when Steve Ramsey’s deep free kick from the right was knocked back across goal and Luke Dempsey guided his header over.
Ten minutes later Connor Duffin got clear from the home defence after Portchester lost possession in midfield. The Deans’ striker rode a challenge from Dempsey to get into the penalty area but he screwed his shot wide.
On 20 minutes another Ramsey free kick caused the visitors problems inside their own box and this time Craig Harding’s header hit the post and Peter Castle missed the target when trying to force the rebound home from close range.
Horndean then broke through the middle of the pitch and Zack Brownlie was put clear inside the box. His first shot was blocked by a defender but he hit the rebound straight at keeper Cameron Scott.
The home keeper then made a fantastic save to deny Steve Hall. Duffin seized possession following a defender’s slip and he picked out his team mate, who hit his shot across goal and Scott got a hand to it to push the ball on to the post.
Horndean took the lead on 31 minutes after a Portchester attack broke down. A long clearance picked out Duffin, who raced away from the home defence before hitting a low shot past Scott and into the net.
However, Portchester drew level nine minutes later when Olly Searle won possession on the right before crossing the ball to Johnson, who sent his low shot into the net.
The home side got their noses in front in first half injury time when a throw in from the right was flicked on into the six yard box and Harding was in the right place to guide the ball into the roof of the net.
Horndean substitute Tommy Tierney caused the home defence problems at the start of the second half. A quick passing move gave him the ball on the edge of the box and Scott gathered up his shot at the second attempt.
Tierney went close again when he cut in from the right into the penalty area but he curled his shot over the crossbar.
The Deans drew level on 67 minutes following good build up play down the left. Adam Cripps missed the chance to cut out the cross which found Ben Anderson and he ran on into the penalty area before smashing a low shot into the net.
Portchester almost re-took the lead immediately when Ramsey’s ball over the defence picked out substitute Lee Wort but he could not get any power behind his shot to trouble keeper Lloyd Thomas.
Tierney then went close to giving the visitors the lead on 79 minutes when a deep cross from the left found him at the far post but after cutting inside his marker, he put his shot narrowly wide of the far post.
The visitors got what proved to be the winning goal two minutes later when a pass from midfield was slipped through the Portchester defence, and Brownlie ran on to the ball and tucked a low shot into the net.
Portchester had one final chance to take the tie into a penalty shoot-out with four minutes remaining when a ball over the top ran to Wort on the right hand side of the box and he tried to toe poke the ball towards goal but Thomas blocked the shot with his body.
Line-up: Cameron Scott, Olly Searle, Adam Cripps, Peter Castle, Luke Dempsey, Harvey Clark (replaced by Rob Evans on 56 mins), Casey Greaves, Steve Ramsey, Craig Harding (replaced by Lee Wort on 46 mins), Patrick Hnath, Joe Johnson (replaced by Harvey Aston on 63 mins).
Unused sub: Brad Snelling.
Goals: Joe Johnson (40 mins), Craig Harding (45+2 mins)