Royal boss backs midfielder after second red

Joe Noakes. Picture: Neil Marshall
Joe Noakes. Picture: Neil Marshall
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AFC Portchester boss Ian Saunders sprang to the defence of Joe Noakes after he was sent off for the second time this season.

The midfield powerhouse was dismissed for two bookable offences during the second half of the clash with Brockenhurst on Saturday.

The Wessex League premier division fixture at the Blanchard Wells Stadium finished goalless.

‘We think both of Joe’s red cards this season to be harsh,’ said Saunders.

‘He plays on the edge and we wouldn’t want to change that.

‘Against Brockenhurst he went in to make a strong tackle but the referee didn’t see it that way.

‘It has been a poor week for us but at least we kept a clean sheet and got a point.

‘Our confidence is fragile at the moment and we need to get back to winning ways.’

Horndean moved into the top four of the premier division with a 1-0 home win against Lymington Town.

A first-half Jack Maloney strike proved enough to settle a close-fought affair.

‘It is a good win for us against tough opponents,’ said Deans boss Michael Birmingham.

‘In the first half we were the better side – getting the ball down well.

‘We deserved our lead but in the second half it became a contest to see which side could give the ball away the most.

‘Once again, though, we showed good character to keep a clean sheet against a big, physical, direct side.

‘At the moment we are on the crest of a wave and have every right to be where we are in the table.’

Pete Stiles was delighted to see his depleted Fareham Town side hold Sholing Sports to a 0-0 draw.

‘We had quite a few players unavailable,’ said the boss.

‘Under the circumstances, to go to Sholing and stop them from scoring is a big feather in our cap.

‘We even had chances to nick the win.’

Baffins Milton Rovers lacked a goal threat as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Bemerton Heath Harlequins.

‘We were dominant at times but huffed and puffed without looking dangerous,’ said manager Louis Bell.

Petersfield Town lost 3-0 at Shaftesbury.