AFC Portchester closing in on their all-time Wessex League Premier winning run

AFC Portchester will be closing in on their all-time Wessex League Premier Division winning run if they can topple leaders Alresford at the Crest Finance Stadium (3pm) this weekend.

Thursday, 26th December 2019, 5:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th December 2019, 7:55 pm
Alex Baldacchino, left, has returned to action with two goals in three games for AFC Portchester. Picture: Keith Woodland

A sixth successive league win for the Royals will take them to within a point of the season-long table-toppers - and they will still have two games in hand.

Portchester boss Mick Catlin appreciates the importance of the occasion.

'This is a massive game for both teams and one of the biggest of the season,' he declared.

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'It is a must win game for us.

'We have only drawn one game all season so that shows we go out to try and win every game.

'This will be no different.

'We have a very positive mindset and are on a nice little unbeaten run.

'Alresford have suffered a few heavy defeats but they are top of the league for a reason.

'It will be a contest between two very experienced outfits.

'We certainly won't be going into the game with any inferiority complex, that’s for sure.'

The Royals have been boosted by the return from long-term injury of Alex Baldacchino, giving them that extra little bit of quality.

The striker has wasted no time in making an impact either, scoring the winner on his return at Bournemouth on December 7 and also netting in the victory over Horndean last weekend.

Catlin rates his front three of Baldacchino, Dan Wooden and Jason Parish as the best in the league.

'We have got a strong squad but still may look to add a couple of players in certain areas,' said Catlin.

'That will give us the best chance we can of achieving our ambitions.'

The Royals have won five top flight Wessex games in a row for only the third time in their history.

Their record winning run is the seven matches Graham Rix’s men won in January and February 2015 en route to the club’s best ever Wessex finish of third.

Included in that seven-game run was a 2-1 success at Moneyfields - Jamie Musselwhite scoring both goals - and an 8-0 hammering of Folland when Jack Salter-Vaile netted four times and current Reading midfielder Andy Rinomhota was also among the scorers.

A few weeks prior to embarking on that winning streak the Royals had also won 7-2 at Horndean - Luke Sweeney bagging three goals and Baldacchino coming off the bench to net twice.