A miserable week for Horndean ended with a 2-0 derby loss at home to Fareham Town.
The Deans made four changes from Thursday night’s 7-1 loss at title-chasing Blackfield & Langley. In came Derek Harding, Neil Purkins, Kevin Chatfield and Rob Desport as Dave Carter’s side looked to put that thrashing behind them.
There was a slow start to the match, with both sides content to launch long balls forward for their strikers to run on to.
In the sixth minute, Fareham were convinced they should have had a free-kick on the edge of the area when Bryn McKie appeared to be impeded, but referee Matthews waved away their appeals.
But they weren’t to be denied on 15 minutes with a goal out of nothing. There seemed little danger when another long ball was pumped forward but Dougie Rowe’s blindside run caught out Chatfield and the striker’s first touch was enough to nudge the ball past Harding.
Horndean should have been level with their first real chance on the half-hour mark. Matt Andrews did all the hard work, collecting the ball and rounding the keeper, only for James Roden to block his goalbound shot.
That chance sparked the home side into life but, for all their possession, the best effort they could muster was a header by Andrews that drifted narrowly over the bar.
Fareham increased their lead 15 seconds after the restart.
From the kick-off, Danny Thompson’s long ball found Rowe and, when his cross pingballed around the six-yard box, Graham Lindsey was on hand to fire the ball into the net.
The hosts should have reduced the arrears within two minutes. Dan Hayes’ shot was blocked by Matt Jones and when the resulting corner wasn’t cleared, Andrews’ free header from six yards was off target.
At the other end, it took a smart save by Harding to deny Lindsey his second goal.
The introduction of Lenny Burney for Nathan Paxton saw the Deans step up the pressure. Hayes drilled a shot wide, Douglas did well to beat away Alex Miroy’s shot and Woodward over-ran the ball after he was put clear by Burney.
In the final minutes, Lindsey wasted a great chance to wrap things up. Put clear by Thompson, the striker somehow missed the target from eight yards out.
Elsewhere, in the Wessex premier, Hayling suffered a 4-0 loss at Alton Town and AFC Portchester shared a goalless draw with Bemerton.
Wessex League premier division
FAREHAM TOWN 2 (Rowe, Lindsey)