AFC Portchester’s defence of the Sydenhams Wessex League Cup was ended at the quarter final stage at Portland last Saturday.
The Royals had a great chance to book their place in the semi finals after racing into a 2-0 lead during the first half.
But in a game dominated by defensive errors by both sides a goal gifted to Portland five minutes from full time determined the outcome of this cup tie.
Portchester dominated for long periods of the game but they had to withstand an early series of chances for the home side.
In the first minute a quick break forward by Portland saw the ball crossed into the box and Jamie Beasley’s downward header was partially blocked by keeper Charlie Searle before a defender headed the loose ball over the crossbar.
Three minutes later George Tuson-Firth was fouled on the edge of the box and his curling free kick was blocked by keeper Sean Lillington’s legs.
At the other end Ryan McKechnie broke clear and scored only for his effort to be ruled out for offside before the visitors took the lead on 21 minutes.
A crossfield pass by Brandon Miller was only half cleared to Harry Bedford on the left hand side of the penalty area. His pass inside to Mike Turvey was then laid off into the path of Jack Breed who dispatched his shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
Portchester doubled their advantage two minutes later after Lillington managed to charge down Tuson-Firth’s shot. After the ball was worked forward again Turvey worked himself some space on the edge of the box and his shot was deflected over Lillington’s dive by a defender.
Portland almost reduced their arrears a minute later when Charlie Searle raced off his line when Beasley broke clear down the left. With the keeper out of goal the Portland front man lifted his shot towards goal but it went wide of the far post.
In the final nine minutes of the first half Portland went from trailing 2-0 to going in at the break with a 3-2 advantage.
Beasley’s long free kick from midfield towards the far post saw Jamie Symes’ head it towards goal and although Charlie Searle initially looked like he had managed to save the ball it dropped into the net.
Another free kick from midfield brought the equaliser when the ball was again hung up high towards the far post. The visiting defence couldn’t clear the danger and Symes was on hand to roll his shot home from close range.
Another attack on 44 minutes almost brought Portland’s third goal but after McKechnie had broken clear, Beasley smashed his shot over the crossbar.
The third goal came a minute later when Beasley again hung up a long range free kick towards the far post. This time it was flicked on into the path of McKechnie, whose shot through a crowd of players flew low into the net.
Portchester started the second half strongly and went on to dominate most of the play in the second period.
On 47 minutes a corner from the right dropped to Turvey around 10 yards out and his shot through a crowd of players was pushed away off the line by Lillington.
At the other end Beasley had two headed chances that didn’t trouble Charlie Searle but the keeper had to dive full length to his left to keep Symes’ header out.
The visitors made it 3-3 on the hour mark after the home side failed to clear a move which started on the left. After the ball had rebounded a few times inside the penalty area it eventually rolled to Breed who was on hand to turn the ball home from close range.
The game then opened up as both sides chased the winning goal. For Portchester, Olly Searle’s header flashed wide of the far post, Turvey had a shot blocked on the line by Lillington and Charlie Cooper’s volley went just wide of the target.
For Portland, a cross from Darren Watts from wide out on the right wing had Charlie Searle back peddling frantically but thankfully for him the ball hit the crossbar.
Portland re-took the lead five minutes before full time with a long ball straight down the middle of the pitch by Lillington.
Harry Birmingham missed the ball when he went to clear it and McKechnie capitalised on the error to lift his shot over Charlie Searle and into the net.
The referee added eight minutes of injury time and the home side hit Portchester on the break as the visitors chased an equaliser.
McKechnie was sent clear inside the penalty area with a pass from the right and although his shot beat Charlie Searle it went wide of the far post.
In the seventh minute of injury time Portland rubbed salt in Portchester’s wounds when Beasley got clear down the left and squared the ball across goal to Symes who had a simple tap in at the far post.