Happy returns for AFC Portchester boss

Lewis Stockford. Picture: Sarah Standing (132030-3381)
Lewis Stockford. Picture: Sarah Standing (132030-3381)
Ryan Woodford has making 200 appearances for the Hawks. Picture: Keith Woodland

Woodford challenged to make 400 Hawks appearances

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AFC Portchester moved up to fifth in the Wessex League premier division with a 3-2 success at Christchurch last night.

Substitute Lewis Stockford, Dan Thompson and Nathan Kirby were all on target before a late rally from the hosts left them clinging on.

Rain and swirling mist had greeted Graham Rix on his return to the ground where he made his managerial debut for Portchester in February.

The boss celebrated a 1-0 success that day and the early signs were positive last night.

However, Simon Woods spurned both his early chances – firing the first straight at former Gosport Borough keeper Max Frampton and heading the second wide.

Christchurch failed to punish his mistakes, though, as Gary Barnes and Dan Blackburn missed their best opportunities.

And with Portchester on the front foot again, Jamie Musselwhite twice fluffed his lines before Kirby nodded wide.

A double save from Frampton – denying Musselwhite and Thompson – ensured the sides went into the break level.

But the goals flowed after the interval.

Stockford entered the fray after Musselwhite needed hospital treatment for a nasty mouth injury.

And he made an immediate impact by beating Frampton with a superb free-kick.

Pottage and Kirby then created an opening for Thompson to net a second from close range.

The shell-shocked hosts conceded again when Kirby headed home a far-post cross from Thompson.

But to their credit, Christchurch finished strongly.

They pulled a goal back as Marc Fairbrother’s long-range shot was deflected in.

And Portchester were left to sweat out the final minutes when Jaques Bernard’s free-kick raced past Luke Hutchings to make it 3-2.

AFC Portchester: Hutchings, Pottage, Stone, Kirby, Audin, Moody, Castles, Bye, Musselwhite, Woods, Thompson. Subs: Stockford, Webb, Crosswell, Holmes, Maddison