Portchester boss refuses to panic

Lewis Stockford. Picture: Sarah Standing (132030-3381)
Lewis Stockford. Picture: Sarah Standing (132030-3381)
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Graham Rix is refusing to panic after AFC Portchester once again missed out on a first victory of the season.

The Wicor Rec outfit salvaged a 2-2 draw against Newport in the Wessex League premier division.

Shambolic defending saw the hosts concede twice before Craig Hardy pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time.

A Lewis Stockford penalty on the hour drew the hosts level but they were unable to find a winner.

That means they have now gone four games without a registering a victory this term.

But manager Rix reckons it is just a matter of time before the tide changes.

He said: ‘We can’t keep giving ourselves a mountain to climb.

‘We showed when we apply ourselves we can be a match for anyone – only one team was going to win it in the end.

‘We have had a tough start and it is not the end of the world.’

Simon Stone’s speculative volley was easily held by visiting keeper Cameron Farley in a busy start.

It was Newport who drew first blood, taking advantage of some poor defending by the home side to net after 12 minutes.

Keeper Luke Hutchings failed to come for a high ball and, with defenders hesitating, Ian Seabrook side-footed in from eight yards.

It was a poor goal for the home side to give away and the visitors extended their lead on 24 minutes with Portchester again guilty of some woeful defending.

Martin McDonough crossed to the far post and – with the home defence missing – Giancarlo Giancovich forced the ball in.

Louie Castles looked to be AFC Portchester’s main threat but they struggled to make any headway against the organised visitors.

The home side, however, hit back two minutes before the break when Hardy thumped in a header from a corner.

Boosted by their goal, Portchester looked more composed at the start of the second half.

Castle’s pace continued to cause Newport problems – and on the hour it was the visitors’ turn to gift a goal.

Farley brought Simon Woods down in the penalty box after he and defender Olly Fleming got themselves in a tangle.

And Stockford levelled, sending the keeper the wrong way with a confident spot-kick.

Soon afterwards Hardy almost turned the ball into his own net as defences continued to struggle.

But Portchester then tightened their grip in midfield, with Stockford increasingly influential.

And while Castles provided a stream of crosses from the right, the home side failed to make them count.

Nathan Kirby went closest with a header past the post as Portchester bossed the closing stages.

Elsewhere last night, Horndean grabbed a 3-3 draw at Bemerton Heath Harlequins.

Meanwhile there were victories for Moneyfields and Fareham Town.

Moneys defeated Bournemouth Poppies 2-0 on home turf, while the Reds were 1-0 winners at Totton & Eling.

AFC Portchester: Hutchings, Maddison, Stone, Stockford, Moody, Hardy, Kirby, Bye, Woods, Salter-Vaile, Castles. Subs: Horsted, Thomas, Holmes, Croswell, Bogard

Newport: Farley, Younie, Oatley, McDonough, Fleming, Russell, Seabrook, Scoffell, McInnes, Evans, Giancovich.

Subs: Powell, Streeter, Gregory, Butt