AFC Portchester 2 Hamble Club 0
An early and late goal ensured AFC Portchester picked up all three points from this home encounter with Hamble Club.
The Royals looked relatively comfortable throughout and although the visitors had some decent chances, the home defence remained solid throughout the 90 minutes.
Despite the breezy and, at times, wet conditions, an impressive crowd of 220 watched Portchester stretch their winning run to four matches, and keep their third clean sheet in a row.
The game got off to a frantic start when Ryan Wilkins forced keeper Brad Snelling into action straight away, diving up to his right to push away the header on goal.
At the other end Joe Johnson drove into the penalty area with the ball from the right and a defender almost fired the ball into his own net with his attempted clearance but it just made it into the side netting instead.
Portchester took the lead on five minutes following a quick game of header tennis on the edge of the box. Wort tried to head the ball across to the left side of the penalty area but it was headed straight back to him. His second header picked out Craig Harding, who shot the ball across keeper Ellis Grant and into the net.
Harding had a good chance to score his second goal of the night almost immediately when a ball from the right went across the six yard box but the striker couldn’t quite reach it to tap the chance home. Johnson had a similar chance to score but this time it was Wort’s cross he couldn’t quite reach.
At the other end a corner from the right caused some panic in the home defence when Snelling missed his punch but the cross flew wide of the goal.
Johnson had another chance to score on 18 minutes when he got to Craig Hardy’s knock down from a corner. The youngster dribbled past a defender but put his shot wide from six yards out.
Hamble almost forced an equaliser four minutes later when they broke clear down the left and a ball across the six yard box was guided towards goal by Sam Tonks but he saw his effort cleared off the line.
Wilkins burst into the penalty area but put his shot wide when in space and at the other end Johnson got clear of the Hamble defence but put his shot wide of the target.
The visitors had a great chance to equalise in the opening minutes of the second half but their player completely missed the ball when a free kick picked him out unmarked inside the six yard box.
On 59 minutes Wort beat Grant to a through ball on the edge of the penalty area and after going around the keeper, the Portchester striker fired the ball towards goal but it hit a defender in the face and bounced away from danger.
Hamble’s best chance to equalise came on 68 minutes when Will Gange and Ollie Lovell combined to set up Sam Wilson for a shot from six yards out but his goal-bound effort was blocked by the combined efforts of Hardy and Olly Searle.
On 76 minutes Snelling had to dive quickly to his right to push Jack Nicholas’ cross come shot away from goal but the home side made sure of all three points with four minutes remaining.
A free kick from the right was fired into the near post and Hardy’s header flicked the ball into the net.
Line-up: Brad Snelling, Rob Evans, Liam Crook (replaced by Luke Dempsey on 80 mins), Olly Searle, Craig Hardy, Josh Hanratty, Barry Mason (replaced by Toby Adekunle on 73 mins), Steve Ramsey, Craig Harding, Lee Wort, Joe Johnson (replaced by Joe Chamberlain on 46 mins).
Subs not used: Patrick Hnath, Cameron Scott.
Goals: Craig Harding (5 mins), Craig Hardy (86 mins).