Steady Stiles keeps Fareham on the up

Simon Woods. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170125-970)
Simon Woods. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170125-970)
Mick Jenkins Picture: Dave Haines

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Fareham Town continue to go from strength to strength under Pete Stiles – recording a 3-0 win over Bemerton Heath Harlequins in their Wessex League premier division contest at Cams Alders on Saturday.

The Reds, who were hurtling towards the trap door, have gone five games unbeaten since Stiles took the helm.

Prior to his arrival, Fareham had not won a league game since the end of September.

Since then the boss has brought in new blood and, along with his assistant Rudi Hall, has worked hard at improving fitness levels.

Their efforts have been rewarded and Stiles believes they can look up rather than down for the rest of the season.

He said: ‘When I came here I thought we needed six wins to survive.

‘We have already got three of them and a couple of draws.

‘Although we are by no means safe, it is looking a lot better. We are starting to look at the teams above us, who we can catch, and how far we can get.

‘There is now a winning mentality among the players – who recognised they needed to be fitter and better.

‘This is another good win and while 3-0 might flatter us a little, it was well deserved.

‘We worked hard and played well to get it.’

It proved an evenly-fought affair at the start, although Fareham had the majority of the play.

The Reds broke the deadlock after 30 minutes – following outstanding work from defender Jack Barker.

The teenager burst forward before delivering a 40-yard ball into the path of striker Simon Woods, who took his chance well.

Bemerton began the second half well but another Reds goal around the hour mark killed them off.

Substitute Curt Robbins headed in from a corner – and with five minutes to go Woods sealed the win with his second goal of the game.

Stiles praised the performance of young Barker, who he has pulled out of youth football.

‘I was amazed to discover him when I went to watch the under-18s the other week,’ said the boss.

‘He is six foot two and has a beard that I would find hard to grow at 53!

‘The lad has come in and shown he is ready for men’s football

‘He is immense in the air and possesses a maturity beyond his age.

‘He set up our first goal with a lovely ball over the top.’

Stiles knows there is still a lot of work to be done in the coming weeks.

He refuses to rest on his laurels and despite the good start continues to add to his squad.

Robbie Pittman, from Moneyfields, and Ryan Inskip, from Andover, are the latest to arrive through the Cams Alders door.

Fareham Town: Douglas, Martin, Barker, Laycock, James, McCrombie (Roberts, 70min), Tattersall, Norton, Holmes, Ripiner (Robbins, 46min), Woods