Saunders leaves AFC Portchester by mutual consent

Former AFC Portchester manager Ian Saunders
Former AFC Portchester manager Ian Saunders
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Joint-manager Ian Saunders has left AFC Portchester by mutual consent. 

His departure comes less than a week after an alleged changing room bust-up with a member of the Royals squad.

Chairman Paul Kelly said Saunders had ‘lost the dressing room’ as a result of the supposed disagreement.

'There was an incident following a game last week,' confirmed Kelly.

'Obviously, some things were not working particularly with the players.

'But I would like to thank Ian for all his hard work and commitment behind the scenes in his time with us.

'Mick Catlin will take the reins for the short term.

'Over the next week or so I will be sitting down with Mick and Jason Hampson to discuss a way forward.

‘It is important that we settle the club down for the rest of the season.

'The most important thing is for the club to move forward from this.'

In Saunders’ absence, Portchester suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat against Petersfield Town in the Russell-Cotes Benevolent Cup at Love Lane.

Goals from Matt Rowlands and Will Essai (penalty) dumped the Royals out of the cup.

The Rams thoroughly deserved the success against their higher-ranked opponents.

Although both teams had chances in the opening 45 minutes the half ended goalless.

Rowlands missed out for the hosts, with Joel Jackson and Kelvin Obazel wasting the best opportunities for the visitors.

Yet Rowlands made amends in the 50th minute when he struck to give the Rams the lead following an Essai cross.

Essai then extended the Rams’ lead on 67 minutes from the penalty spot.

Fareham Town exited the competition with a 2-1 defeat against Paulsgrove at Cams Alders.

Moneyfields are in Russell Cotes Cup action tonight at Fawley (7.45pm).