Cosham Dynamos’ Portsmouth Saturday League division two promotion hopes ended this afternoon with defeat at the hands of a lowly Horndean Hawks Reserves side – and courtesy of a late contested penalty.
The Dynamos had an early chance in the difficult conditions.
Martin Jennings crossed from the right and top-scorer Steve Mitchell lifted his shot just over the bar.
Mitchell had an even clearer chance soon afterwards but, again, fired off target.
Horndean were then inches away from taking the lead.
Barry Jeans threaded a superb pass through the Cosham defence and Dave Webb stretched to stub the ball just past the far post.
But it was Cosham who took the lead after 20 minutes.
Louie Hayward’s free-kick was only cleared into the path of Luke Hampson, who made no mistake with a low shot.
Cosham were close to a second on the half-hour mark.
James Bateman’s deep cross from the left just eluded the onrushing Jennings.
Horndean were twice close to levelling matters after 35 minutes.
Webb forced Cosham keeper Steve Luke into a scrambling save, and from the resultant corner Matt Skilton headed into Luke’s arms.
The equaliser did come in the last minute of the half, though.
The ball pinged around the Cosham box before falling to Steve Owen, who beat Luke at his near post.
The conditions produced a comical moment early in the second half.
Horndean keeper Ben Stratford dived to save a shot, only for the ball to stop dead and leave him having to rush forward and grab it from the mud.
There was little in the way of goalmouth action in the opening 15 minutes of the second half but Bateman forced Stratford into a full-length save following a drive from long range.
Defender Jack Atkins headed narrowly over for Cosham and then produced a brilliant last-ditch tackle to rob Barry Jeans as he headed towards goal.
Horndean had a great chance to go ahead with 10 minutes left.
Luke spilled the greasy ball but Charlie Jeans couldn’t get any power in his shot and Luke was able to save at the second attempt.
After Cosham had a penalty shout for handball turned down, Horndean were awarded a spot-kick of their own with five minutes left.
Callum Madden crossed from the left and Atkins was adjudged to have handled.
After the Cosham protests had subsided, Skilton stepped up and made no mistake from 12 yards.
Cosham pressed in the final stages for an equaliser but the Horndean defence held firm to take the points.