AFC Portchester 3 Bemerton Heath Harlequins 2
AFC Portchester came back from two goals down to book their place in the next round of the FA Vase.
The Royals found themselves 2-0 down after only 19 minutes of a first half which favoured the visitors to begin with but fortunes fully switched to the home side by the interval.
Portchester snatched the lead at the beginning of the second half but after that the game could have swung either way, with the Royals looking to extend their advantage and Bemerton going close to equalising and forcing a penalty shoot out.
The visitors opened the scoring on seven minutes when the ball was worked through the midfield to Eddie Perrett on the left wing. He cut inside and was given the space to curl his shot into the far top corner of the net.
Portchester had a good chance to equalise three minutes later when Lee Wort’s ball from midfield sent new signing Lerone Plummer running into the box but a defender blocked him before he could get his shot away.
Wort then picked up the ball on the right and went past Jack Vallis’ challenge before driving on into the penalty area only to see his shot blocked by a defender.
Bemerton doubled their advantage on 19 minutes when a long throw in from the right was heading towards Vallis but he was prevented from heading the ball by Lee Molyneaux’s attempt to stop him getting to it. Justin Bennett made no mistake with his spot kick, firing home low into the bottom corner.
At this stage it looked like this could be a long afternoon for the home side but they pulled a goal back on 24 minutes. Portchester won possession in midfield and Wort was allowed to work his way forward to the edge of the box. He then hit a low shot past keeper Patrick Creese and into the corner of the net.
The home side drew level on 40 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Plummer was hacked down in the box by Stef Williams. Steve Ramsey’s penalty was saved by Creese diving low to his left but Plummer got to the loose ball, sent in a low cross from the right and Joe Johnson was at the far post to tuck his shot home.
Portchester almost went in at half time in front when Wort’s cross from the right found Johnson but he put his header over and Ramsey’s free kick from 20 yards out went narrowly over the crossbar.
The home side got off to the perfect start to the second half when they got themselves in front after only two minutes. Rob Evans’ cross from the left picked out Wort on the edge of the six yard box and he guided his header into the net.
Plummer then got clear down the left but there was too much pace on his cross and Craig Harding couldn’t quite reach it to turn it home. At the other end Bemerton lifted the ball over the defence for Arshia Sheibatzadeh to run on to and although he lifted his shot over keeper Brad Snelling he also lifted it over the target.
Portchester had a great chance to make the tie safe on 73 minutes when Wort got the ball on the right before playing it inside to Harding in the box. He tried several times to work some space to dispatch his shot into the net but in the end he took too long and the ball eventually tamely ran through to Creese.
Two minutes later Bemerton went close to forcing an equaliser when a long throw in from the left was flicked towards goal by Jack Smith and Snelling had to hook his header away off the line.
The visitors’ final chance came deep into injury time when the ball was played up the left to Bennett, who then cut inside to the penalty area but hit a rising which Snelling palmed away from danger.
Line-up: Brad Snelling, Liam Hibberd, Peter Castle (replaced by Luke Dempsey on 75 mins), Rob Evans, Steve Ramsey, Craig Harding, Lee Wort, Joe Johnson, Lerone Plummer (replaced by Casey Greaves on 63 mins), Lee Molyneaux, Josh Hanratty.
Unused subs: Craig Hardy, Harvey Clark, Olly Searle, Adam Cripps, Cameron Scott.
Goals: Lee Wort (24 mins), Joe Johnson (40 mins)