Rix calls on Royals to replicate ‘fantastic’ cup performance

AFC Portchester midfielder Craig Hardy, centre    Picture: Neil Marshall
AFC Portchester midfielder Craig Hardy, centre Picture: Neil Marshall
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Graham Rix has the job of lifting his AFC Portchester players after their midweek Hampshire Senior Cup heartache.

The Royals suffered a penalty shootout defeat at the hands of the Hawks, after a 2-2 draw at Wicor Rec.

It was a cruel outcome for Rix’s team who had been far the better team, only to be denied by two late goals.

Craig Hardy opened the scoring for the underdogs, before Jason Parish had them 2-0 ahead at the break.

The visitors, though, struck back at the death through Matt Paterson and Dan Strugnell, before winning through 4-2 on penalties.

Portchester now have to put their disappointment behind them as they host Bemerton Heath Harlequins in the Wessex League premier division (3pm).

The fourth-placed home side need a win to maintain the pressure on the top three and keep their promotion bid on track.

‘We were all gutted after the cup defeat but we have to pick ourselves up and go again,’ said Rix.

‘I thought we were fantastic and the players showed true character.

‘After the game I told them they were the real winners.

‘We were a different class and outplayed the Hawks for almost the whole 90 minutes.

‘By half-time we could have been out of sight.

‘We played some great stuff and I was delighted by our performance.

‘The challenge now for the players is doing that week in week out.’

Horndean face their stiffest test yet with a visit to league leaders and FA Vase quarter-finalists Salisbury (3pm).

It will be a tough ask following their disappointing 2-1 defeat at lowly Alresford Town in their last game.

Moneyfields will be looking to put their shock Russell-Cotes Cup exit out of their system by getting league points at Andover Town.

The city club slumped to a 2-1 home defeat against Hampshire Premier League Otterbourne in midweek.

Moneys boss Dave Carter said: ‘We are not fit enough at the moment.

‘Players have been brought in and now it is a question of giving them game time playing together.

‘We will have to dig in to get something at Andover.’

The visitors will give a debut to central defender Alex Shephard who has arrived from Horndean.

Tom Chapman looks like he will be out for a few weeks with a groin strain.

Carter is without suspended trio Jake Morgan, Jack Lee and Tyler Giddens.

Fareham Town are without a fixture this weekend.