Royals ready to close gap on top four

AFC Portchester boss Graham Rix, left    Picture: Neil Marshall
AFC Portchester boss Graham Rix, left Picture: Neil Marshall
Moneyfields hat-trick hero Gary Austin   Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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Miles Everett netted for Portchester. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Rix happy with Portchester’s momentum

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AFC Portchester are eyeing a top-four spot as they visit Wessex League premier division strugglers Fawley on the Waterside tomorrow (3pm).

A win could see the Royals leapfrog above Team Solent and Sholing and maintain their push for the top.

Manager Graham Rix admitted he would be disappointed if his side don’t make the most of the opportunity.

He said: ‘After picking up some good momentum we don’t want to go there and slip up.

‘I think it will be a great shame if we pass up on this chance.

‘It is important that we go there with the right attitude and the players are fully aware of that.

‘We have had two good home wins over Bashley and Bournemouth and must look to build on those.

‘It is in front of goal that we need to improve.

‘In recent games we have been creating lots of chances but have had difficulty in finishing them off.’

One or two players are carrying knocks but Rix expects to name an unchanged squad.

That means 18-year-old Dale Mason could get another chance to show his promise.

Mason went on as a substitute midway through the second half and made an immediate impact.

His pace frightened the visiting defenders and he showed great composure in creating the Royals’ second goal.

He left three defenders for dead as he burst to the edge of the area where he looked up and laid a perfect pass across to Miles Everett who smashed his shot into the roof of the net.

Elsewhere, Fareham Town will look to surprise hosts Brockenhurst as they look to stop the rot of six successive league defeats (3pm).

The Reds have slipped alarmingly down to 17th spot just two points above the relegation zone.

Horndean face a tricky trip to take on Bashley in the New Forest (3pm).

The visitors bounced back to winning ways with a 3-0 win at Fawley on Wednesday night with a performance that pleased manager Michael Birmingham.

‘We applied ourselves very well on a ground that isn’t the easiest to go to,’ he said.

‘More of the same will be needed against a big powerful Bashley side who are lively up front.’

The Deans, though, are without injured Luke Heard and Rob Tambling who is on holiday.

In National League South, Gosport Borough make the long trip to Weston-super-Mare (3pm).