Bobby Scott brilliance secures Horndean victory... Alex Baldacchino makes instant AFC Portchester impact on injury return
A piece of Bobby Scott magic earned Horndean a 1-0 win at Tadley Calleva.
The Deans manager Michael Birmingham felt it was an outrageous finish from a player who now has 16 league and cup goals from the same amount of starts in 2019/20.
‘Bobby was the only player on the pitch capable of scoring that goal,’ said Birmingham.
‘Their goalkeeper came out of his area to head clear and from 40 yards Bobby sent a first-time half volley sailing into the back of the net without bouncing.
‘In the end, it proved the difference at a difficult place to go.
‘After that bit of magic he then missed three one-on-ones, which is unlike him.’
Birmingham made four changes to the team that started the midweek 3-0 defeat at Fareham, bringing in Ben Anderson, Mark Smith, Jack Lee and Louie Edwards.
Tadley had a player dismissed early in the second half, which home boss Adam Clark said ‘ruined’ the game.
Birmingham added: 'It was never going to be easy on a difficult pitch and opposition who are direct and get in your faces.
‘If we had won 5-1 it would have been a fairer reflection of the game.
‘I will take the three points and a clean sheet.’
Horndean’s next game is a home match on Tuesday against an AFC Portchester side who are also fresh from a 1-0 away victory.
Alex Baldacchino made an instant impact on his Royals return with the only goal at Bournemouth Poppies.
The striker was making his first appearance in 18 months following a serious knee injury.
His last appearance prior to the weekend was in the 2017/18 Wessex League Cup final when he scored twice in a 4-0 win over Fawley - taking his seasonal tally to 19 in just 22 appearances.
Midway through the second half at the, Poppies Baldacchino curled a free-kick into the bottom corner after Brodie Spencer had been fouled on the edge of the area.
‘We had to throw Alex straight into the starting line-up because of injuries,’ said Royals manager Mick Catlin, who was without strike pair Jason Parish and Dan Wooden.
‘Ideally, he would have started on the bench after such a long lay off.
‘He came through the 90 minutes okay, but I’m wondering if he’ll be able to walk afterwards!
‘In the end it was a grubby 1-0 win but I am quite happy with it.
‘It was a tough game on a difficult pitch.’
Following leaders Alresford’s 5-0 thumping at Portland, Portchester are now nine points adrift of the table-toppers with three games in hand.