Cornish fires Fareham

Fareham's Luke Cornish scored twice in the 3-0 win against Cheltenham Picture: Mick Young
Fareham's Luke Cornish scored twice in the 3-0 win against Cheltenham Picture: Mick Young
Katie Spooner is aiming high for City of Portsmouth Ladies. Picture: Keith Woodland

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Luke Cornish fired a quick-fire double as Fareham stormed to a convincing 3-0 win at Cheltenham.

The 16-year-old struck twice in the space of three second-half minutes after James Seagar had put the visitors ahead shortly after the interval.

The victory ensured Fareham extended their unbeaten start to the campaign and saw them climb into second place in the National League men’s conference west table.

While Fareham clearly have plenty of attacking quality, it was the clean sheet that pleased coach Ben Barnes most after some work on the defensive side in recent weeks.

‘Cheltenham are strong on their own turf, and so to go there and win is very positive for the group,’ said Barnes.

‘I was delighted with the second-half showing and particularly pleased with the clean sheet.

‘Tightening up the defence is something that we are working on.’

A key component of the defensive work was the form of goalkeeper George Harris who turned in another excellent display – particularly in the first half, with a series of fine saves to keep the game scoreless at half-time.

Cheltenham probably should have been ahead at the break after earning three penalty corners, only for Harris to stand firm in the face of an onslaught as the half-time whistle approached.

But it was a different tale after the break – especially when Seagar broke the deadlock on 47 minutes.

The Fareham man worked himself some space from a penalty corner and fired home a low drive that gave the goalkeeper no chance.

That strike cranked up the belief in the Fareham ranks and they produced a flowing move just four minutes later as Cornish struck the first of his brace.

Louis Jones brought the ball out of defence and set up a swift move down the left wing as Ben Hibberd found Chris Davey, who then hammered to the far post where Cornish was on hand to turn home.

The teenager then profited from more good approach play from Davey to add his second soon afterwards and complete a good afternoon’s work for Barnes’ side.