Spirited Reds are back and up running in style

Ashley Tattersall. Picture: Neil Marshall
Ashley Tattersall. Picture: Neil Marshall
Mark Smith was on target for Horndean. Picture Ian Hargreaves

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Fareham Town returned to action in fine style with a 2-1 Wessex League premier division win at Bemerton Heath Harlequins.

The Reds have endured a club record breaking spell of 42 days without playing a game, easily beating the previous record set in 1947-1948.

With their own facilities at Cams Alders ruled out because of drainage problems even training has proved impossible at times.

Steve Stone’s team, however, shrugged off all their problems with a resilient display to earn themselves three vital points.

Second-half goals from Ashley Tattersall and Benny Read proved decisive before the home side grabbed a late consolation goal.

Stone was delighted with the way his players didn’t allow their problems and the long lay-off to affect them.

‘We gave a spirited and well-organised performance to pick up three valuable points,’ said Stone.

‘I am especially pleased for the players who got a well deserved return for all their hard work.

‘They have had to turn up at various venues and train on lots of different surfaces to keep some semblance of fitness.

‘We have not played a game for so long.’

Understandably the visitors showed signs of rustiness early on and debut making goalkeeper Tommy Taylor had to be alert to make a near post save.

Bemerton applied early pressure and Taylor made another save at his right-hand post before the hosts headed a good chance over the top.

Fareham thought they had made the breakthrough on the stroke of half-time but Luke Heard was adjudged to have fouled the goalkeeper before netting.

The visitors rocked their hosts by taking a 53rd-minute lead with Jordan Neal the architect.

Neal fed Tattersall who burst into the area and blasted his shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Four minutes from time Taylor kept his team in front with a magnificent one-handed save to keep out a goal bound header.

The Reds capitalised on that two minutes later.

Read cut in from the left and stroked his shot into the corner of the net for a fine goal.

There was an anxious finish as the hosts reduced the arrears in stoppage-time but Fareham held on to win.

The Reds are due to host Folland Sports in their first home game since October on Tuesday night but it doesn’t look like the match will be on.

Stone said: ‘With the state of our pitch a home game is unlikely in the next week or so.

‘So, sadly, it looks like we are going to continue suffering more of the same at home.’

Fareham Town: Taylor, Boud, Davis, Heard, Howe, Kimber, Neal, Norton, Szemis, Tattersall, Taylor, Woods. Subs: Naylor, Read, Ridge.